How a one-year long food journey changed my life
Eighteen months have passed since I initially published my book, The Food Anthropologist …, and I have gotten some great feedback. Today, after revisiting the one-year experimental period through 30-day food challenges including whole foods, macrobiotic, paleolithic, vegan, intermittent fasting, dairy & gluten free, and ketogenic, I have finally completed the revised version of the book, entitled A Food Anthropologist …a one-year journey revisited.
It was a pleasure to re-read and edit the original book, and to see the long-term impact that 12 months living through popular diets had on my and my family’s eating. Furthermore, the whole project turned out to provide huge lessons in self-discipline and will power, as well as on the importance of focusing on the process rather than the result.
The tools acquired from the experience have indeed turned into long-term and highly valuable lessons. The widening food knowledge helped me develop a stronger sense of my body’s nutritional needs as well as the practical tools needed to meet those needs. When it comes to self-discipline, there was obvious strength gained from completing each challenge, which in turn empowered me to face increasingly difficult food limitations with curiosity and a positive mindset.
Although none of the challenges were easy, they made me realize how resilient and adaptable my body is. Not surprising, considering a recent publication in a special edition of Science focused on diet and health. In the review article Dietary fat: From foe to friend? the authors discuss that the quality of food we ingest is far more relevant than whether it is mostly composed of fat, carbs or protein. We are indeed a resilient species when it comes to nutrition!
Now, as time passes, the lessons learnt are apparent every single day. For one, I (and my entire family) eat less starchy carbs like bread. Also importantly, my kids are exceedingly aware of the difference between whole foods and processed or refined ones. I love that we eat a much more varied diet, and rarely eat simple pasta or rice dishes that were once weekly or monthly staple meals. In truth once the year was finished, the limitations ceased to be limitations, and became variants of eating styles.
As a beach ultimate player and frequent gym goer, I can think of many examples of how I use my food toolbox to maximize the results of my workouts. Since I generally go to the gym in the afternoon, I make sure to have a healthy meal/snack rich in complex carbs and with some protein about 90 min before hitting the weight room. After strength training, my post-workout meal generally involves some animal protein (such as eggs or dairy), which I crave.
The thought of optimizing food for my workouts brings me to something else that I think is interesting. Both my husband and I are in our early fifties and practice sports regularly at night on a lit beach. We both notice a growing difficulty in seeing well, especially if one of the lamps has blown out. However, eating fatty fish or taking fish Omega 3 supplements helps us see better.
All in all, I am very happy to have embarked on this food journey and believe it has made me and my family stronger and healthier. From a practical perspective, I just love my food anthropologist’s toolbox… full of wholesome ingredients and cooking styles to play with and adapt to an ever-changing life!
For more info, The food anthropologist … a one year journey revisited is available world wide on Amazon as a paperback, or as an eBook on Kindle.