Keeping it simple

There’s no getting away from it, food has got super complicated! Every day I come across a new article or piece of research that claims a specific nutrient is the new cure for a disease or chronic health problem. Today’s one covered how vitamin C and E, but not other nutrients, could prevent Parkinson’s Disease. How much of these and why, they weren’t sure. And of course it concluded that more research is needed!

It is always great news that there are natural ways of preventing chronic health problems. But these approaches that whittle down to the minutiae so easily loose sight of the bigger picture. There’s never one specific nutrient, or food even, that is king (or queen!) – they all work together as a team. When you start hyper-analysing, things get complicated. And confusing, as most of us just want things super simple! Which is why personally I love eating a whole-food plant-based diet – because whole foods have a whole range of nutrients. Simple.

One of the early advocates for a whole-food plant-based diet is Dr T Colin Campbell. I had the great honour of speaking directly with him the other Sunday during The Vegan Health Summit hosted by Tomm of Planted Fitness. Dr Campbell is one of my whole-food plant-based heroes and I was rediculously excited.  Hopefully I didn’t look too much of a crazed stalker on zoom!

I asked Dr Campbell about how we can get whole-food plant-based eating more mainstream in the UK, particularly in the sphere of health and policy making. His answer was clear – keep sharing information, having discussions and showing just how effective (and tasty) it can be. That raises awareness and demand. So I will carry on doing just that!

He shared lots of thoughts and information, but in a nutshell it was:

Eat whole plants
Eat a variety
Enjoy it!

Basically, keep it simple – which reminded me of the acronym K.I.S.S – keep it super simple (I know it’s usually keep it simple stupid, but I don’t like the stupid word!). Whole plant foods give us what we need. So simple it seems too simple!

The problem us humans have is we like to dig deep and analyse, break things down into the constituent parts to find out how it works. But by doing that it’s easy to get distracted, focus on one element or just get confused. And confusion reigns in the world of food and nutrition!

One day it’s fats that are bad, carbs are good. Then it’s the other way round. And as for protein – well if you dare question that then there’s uproar. But in reality, no one single nutrient is more important than another – we need them all. Nature gives them to us – we just need to eat in its natural form. It really is that simple!

So how do you keep it simple? You might want to ask some simple questions to help:

1) Is it real food?
Yes? Eat it!

2) Does it come with an ingredient label?
Yes? Not so great!

Why? Because generally labels mean somethings been taken away and/or added, so it’s no longer in its natural state. There are some foods with labels that can be helpful – like tofu, or dairy-free yoghurt. Even tinned cooked beans may have a little something added, but not much. But if you come across one of those labels with a long, long list of ingredients – walk away! Generally, anything over 5 ingredients and you’re in murky waters. It just got complicated.

For some, keeping it simple can seem hard and overwhelming. But once you make a start, trying to introduce simple, it becomes easier and suddenly it’s a natural and tasty way of eating. And you’ll feel great too.

If any of this rings a bell with you and you want to learn more, then my online course Eat Well LIve Well Online could just be the thing for you. Over 5 weeks, we explore exactly what a whole-food plant-based diet is, and isn’t, and how it impacts your health, as well as the world around you. There’s recipes, cooking videos as well as all the information. Plus a weekly live Q&A so you can ask me whatever you want.

The next course starts on Monday 19th April, so there’s still time to join us. You can find out more about it using this link. Or pop a question in the comments box below and I’ll get right back to you. You’ll be surprised just how simple it can all be!

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