Food fads, revisited

by Michelle Lasley

Michelle Lasley is a mother, wife in Pacific Northwest learning to balance green dreams with budget realities.

February 11, 2020

Food fads are a thing. Every year, it seems, we learn about something else we should or shouldn’t do or eat for so-called optimal health. Milk is in until it isn’t. Alternate kinds of milk are in until they aren’t. We can eat based on our blood types. We can use ancient traditions. We can even get into gastro-molecular inventions (what!?). 

On May 30, 2011, I posted about Food Fads. I was contemplating a series of diets, food restrictions, and ways of eating that I deemed to be fads, and I queried if they’d still be around. I was really curious to dialogue about what makes something valid. 

  • I questioned our thinking about milk. 
  • I felt veganism was fatalistic in its premise. 
  • I doubted diets based on one doctor or health coach’s perspective.

Since then, I have engaged in the Whole 30, which meant I eliminated and brought things back into my diet, and I basically used my body as a test subject for food.

Some of the things I questioned 9 years ago have gained steam, that is, my estimation on them was wrong. So, let’s discuss where I am now with regard to food. 

First, in our Standard American Diet, I have heard many anecdotal reports from people with gluten and dairy sensitivities about their experiences abroad. That is, here, in the USA, they cannot eat gluten or dairy without adverse effects on their body. Yet, if they travel abroad, say to France, they find they do not have a problem consuming those bread and those dairies. 

I do not know of any study that compares the two, short term or long term. Regardless, it is important to honor the telling of the story, that is someone’s truth. And, even though we don’t have “proof” it’s one way or another, it is a part of the whole story. So, let’s file that away. 

Second, I no longer enjoy cow’s milk. The Whole 30 asks you to scrap all added sugar, all dairy (milk, cheese, and butter), all grains (forget about just gluten, we’re going completely grain-free), and all beans. I noticed within the 30 days that my post-nasal drip, triggered by allergies, lessened – a lot – when I removed dairy, especially milk from my diet. I noticed that my eczema was virtually non-existent without dairy and grains to trigger it. I noticed my bloating felt a lot less, and I attributed that do both the dairy and grains but also the lack of beans. And, then sugar, well, there is a lot of evidence that supports how sugar is basically cocaine. 

So, we now love our alternate kinds of milk. I haven’t found a favorite, and there are things to consider with being stewards to the planet here too. Without going into detail, do note that for the health of our planet, plant-based “milk” is best.

Third, I need to completely turn around my thoughts on veganism. Now, I find myself feeling better in my body when I use animal proteins as a part of my diet, with every meal. I feel fuller, I feel more complete. And, given my own body’s reaction to necessary foods for veganism (namely grains and beans), I am curious how I could do that well. 

Whether or not it is here to stay though? I absolutely think it is. Now, one of the reasons I think part of veganism is a fad is that it seems a lot of its proponents are doing so for political reasons – that is, the health of our planet. So, it’s not a body-need necessarily, but a grander stand for the planet. There is part of this, while it feels noble, doesn’t feel lasting. 

I also am a big believer in animal husbandry, and I prefer to source my meat products from small farmers who really take care of the whole food cycle process. 

The sad reality is, we are in a climate crisis. Most of the meat consumed does not come from small, noble farmers, rather large corporations with profits at the center, not people, not the planet. And, because of that, I believe we all need to look more towards veganism as a way of eating.

Fourth, in 2011, I was introduced to a dis-ease called “leaky gut syndrome”. It is this idea that the crappy Standard American Diet food we consume basically pokes holes in our gut and allows stomach acids to leak out causing inflammation and a whole host of other problems in other areas of our body. Thinking about what the stomach has to protect, that acid from not leaving your stomach, I find this hard to swallow (pun intended). That said, I know more and more people with inflammation-related illnesses. I know more and more people with gut-health problems (consider Crohn’s disease, diverticulitis, IBS, etc.). I know many people (myself included) with auto-immune diseases. And, all of these problems have links to the gut. Since 2011, it has become more accepted that the gut is the third brain – in addition to the brain and the heart. And, this is outside of the Enneagram! So, leaky gut aside, we have gut issues.

What to do about it? 

  1. Eat Whole Foods 
  2. Learn what your body needs to feel good and healthy
  3. Go as local as possible in your diet consumption
  4. Be a steward to the planet in as many ways as you can

So, if your food fad that you are currently on asks you to consume something that gives a lot of harm to a being, I would invite you to change your ways. 

Resources

2 Comments

  1. Mari

    I’m excited to be learning all about bio-individuality in my health coaching program, that basic idea that there is no one size fits all. Each of us has a unique make-up of experiences, genes and beliefs that determine what is the “right way” for us to eat.

    Reply
    • Michelle Lasley

      I am so excited that you are learning about ways to help people support their health in the best way for their bodies! I cannot wait until our entire world, though, values stewardship of our planet above all things.

      Reply

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