There are several approaches to healthy eating, and I think in general it is fair to say that from person to person it will be different. Some people may require a much lower sugar intake than others (those suffering from PCOs or Diabetes), others may not be able to eat certain types of green vegetables (may cause allergic reactions, constipation or loose stool) which we are often told are good for us.
However, some interesting advice has cropped up more recently from The Fat Nutritionist:
“Eat what feels satisfying, is pleasurable, and helps you feel good. It really doesn’t have to be more complicated than that – if it did, humans would have died out long ago, because all these nutrition theories really only cropped up during the 20th century. That’s 49,900 years of eating without any nutritional guidance! And yet somehow we survived.”
I have often found that the day before I am about to start my period (and I am not the most regular of people) I get a sudden hunger for steak, and in general it is not one of the foods I would pick off a menu. It is a very specific craving, one that will not be satisfied by chocolate or a tray of vegetables. I used to think it was a sugar craving, as most media shows women binging on chocolate during PM times. Chocolate just did not work! I kept eating more and more and realised it was not making me feel better, in fact probably made me feel weaker. Then as I slowly developed my listening skills I realised that my tummy was crying for iron. The tinniest piece of steak would be “satisfying”, “pleasurable” and make me “feel good”. With this in mind I took a lot more time listening more closely to my gut. I kick started with a 2 week detox to level the playing field, I cut out the alcohol, reduced my intake of everything to 3 meals a day with smaller portions and everything home-made (unprocessed) and increased drinking water. I found after this, when I was hungry, I was being much ‘fussier’ about what I wanted to eat. This fussiness was listening for what my body wants.
Another issue I have with what The Fat Nutritionist has said is that 49,000 years ago is comparable with today. I think most historians; archaeologists and scientists would agree that the world has changed an awful lot in that time, as have humans, as have the way we interact with our world, including our ways of eating and processing food. So yes although people are people always, our eating habits have changed, just like our body shapes and size.
So all in all, we should eat what is pleasurable, satisfying and makes us feel good but we should also make sure we are listening clearly to what our body is finding pleasurable, satisfying and makes us feel good. Each person’s body at different times of day is going to be hungry for different types of food. Maybe we have undergone some serious normalisation of eating-habits, and these needs to be undone slightly in-order for us to listen to our bodies; supper at 7, consisting of a light meal may not be the right thing for everyone… and that is supposed to be one of the oldest rules in the ‘healthy eating’ book.