How to Get Unconfused About Nutrition

One of the habits I’ve developed in my self-health venturing is browsing online headlines for nutrition-related topics. As I was doing just that this morning, I couldn’t help but notice how confusing the subject of nutrition continues to be for anyone trying to figure it all out.

For instance, there was a bevy of conflicting stories about each of the macronutrients. One article pondered the ill fate of not getting enough protein, while another presented criticisms of the high-protein “carnivore diet.” Dietary carbohydrates could lead to osteoarthritis, another article said, while further down the same webpage, experts touted the benefits of a vegan diet, which is typically high in carbohydrates.

And of course the fats weren’t left out. While I was ecstatic to see a story ballyhooing the health benefits of full-fat dairy foods, I was equally discouraged to read that many people still aren’t sure such foods deserve a spot in their diet.

And that’s just the macronutrients. The nutritional waters seem to be muddy just about everywhere, thanks to discussions like “Salt’s not as bad for you as once thought,” “Are super foods really super?” and, just to thoroughly confound you, “Is there a downside of eating too much healthy food?”

And that’s not even one day’s worth of articles.

I mean, what is the aspiring self-healther supposed to believe? You have to get information from somewhere, right? But with so much contradictory information online, it’s easy to become frustrated, keeping you from taking steps to change the things you want or need to.

That’s why it’s essential to get your information from a reliable source. As Mr. Abraham Lincoln reminds us, you can’t believe everything you read on the Internet. ;) And with the Internet not going anywhere anytime soon, you’ve got to be smart about where you look.

The Selene River Press Historical Archives is the perfect starting point. In it you’ll find scores of articles by the great Dr. Royal Lee as well as research and commentary by many of his fellow nutrition pioneers. The Weston A. Price Foundation (WAPF) will also give you a solid foundation of information. If you participate in social media, follow the Selene River Press and WAPF websites and look at whom they follow. Chances are pretty good the sites and people you see will be of a similar mindset and worthy of your self-health education time.

If you’re like me and love holding a book in your hands, smelling the pages and flipping through all the information, then don’t worry. There are loads of valuable resources in this format as well. Some of the ones I grab off the shelf over and over include the following:

  • Nourishing Traditions: The Cookbook That Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats, by Sally Fallon, is a comprehensive reference on the hows, whys, and whats behind the naturally healthful diets of our ancestors. It’s part cookbook, part encyclopedia of a traditional-eating lifestyle.
  • Stephanie Anderson’s Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is! Guide to Healthy Food Shopping is a succinct tool for becoming a master of your shopping list and the local market’s shelves. Anderson’s “four simple steps” will help you sort everything out when it comes to healthy dietary choices.
  • If you want a book that requires the bare minimum of reading to get wise on how to eat, then look no further than Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual, by Michael Pollan. It lists sixty-four healthful pointers that you can implement right now, such as “Eat when you are hungry, not when you are bored,” “Eat animals that have themselves eaten well,” and “If it came from a plant, eat it; if it was made in a plant, don’t.” Good stuff, eh?

Another of Pollan’s prescriptions, “Don’t eat anything your great-grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food,” kind of ties together the messages of all the resources I’ve mentioned here. The foods our great-grandparents ate were naturally nutrient dense—home cooked, unprocessed, and often grown or raised on their own land. Our ancestors cooked all their meals themselves, and guess what? They didn’t have to worry about obesity, type 2 diabetes, or most of the other degenerative diseases that plague us today.

Nutrition will continue to be confusing for anyone just getting started at it. But remember, eating isn’t new. You don’t need to reinvent the wheel to eat healthfully. Start with the resources I’ve presented here, and you can skip the online overwhelm. Or read the headlines if you must, but then go talk to your grandparents about it. More than likely, they’ll clear things right up for you. ;)

Image from iStock/sergeyryzhov

Paula Widish

Paula Widish, author of Trophia: Simple Steps to Everyday Self-Health, is a freelance writer and self-healther. She loves nothing more than sharing tidbits of information she discovers with others. (Actually, she loves her family more than that—and probably bacon too.) Paula has a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Public Relations and is a Certified Professional Life Coach through International Coach Academy.

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