We are surely not lacking trends these days: every day a new take on wellbeing comes forth, and claims start rolling on how revolutionary this new yoga class, superfood, supplement or approach is and how it will transform your life. We’re almost expecting them at every corner and, since it’s virtually impossible at first glance to distinguish the fads from the facts, I feel most of us have embraced a slightly detached and cynical approach whereby we don’t really believe any of them any more.
I’ve studied nutrition for over 10 years now and even I find it hard to navigate the world of information these days: when a claim is supposedly backed by scientific research, it unfortunately doesn’t guarantee that it will be sound science, rather than a study designed or summarized in a biased way to support a hidden agenda. After all, pharmaceutical companies, food companies, supplement companies and even gurus and experts are all out there to earn a living so we would be naive to expect an objective perspective from all of them.
Not to mention that even professionals and doctors are human beings with their own biases and limitations that may influence their take and recommendations.
The problem with science these days is that it is so obsessively focused on the smallest possible details, that it often fails to address the big picture. Just think about it: we have doctors who are specialized in the smallest organ, body part, function of the body. We’ve been trained to believe that if we want to resolve an ailment of any sort, we must see the best specialist in that very specific field. The more specific the better.
We’ve done the same with nutritional science and food in general: nobody hardly talks about food anymore. They all seem to talk about nutrients (did I get enough protein? are carbs bad for us? does sugar cause disease?) or functions (what about insulin resistance? is ketosis the way forward?).
I don’t have anything against traditional science and its advancement: I think it is impressive how far we’ve come and how effectively we can operate on the human body.
The question that comes to mind however is: why is it then, that we’re more advanced than ever in the scientific field yet we’re also more overweight and sick than ever before and progressively getting worse? Apparently, this newest generation of children will be the first ever with a lower life expectancy than their parents: can you believe that?
It is virtually impossible for anyone in their everyday life to go through each piece of information in detail and understand scientific studies and claims in a way that will allow them to discern what’t true from what’s not and let’s be fair, information agencies like the BIG news more than they like the truth.
In all this madness, I’ve found the best approach is actually the very opposite of what we’re often incited to do: and that is to take several steps back and try to regain perspective on the bigger picture.
Perhaps getting so laser-beam focused on tiny little details is distracting us from the big picture? My meditation teacher often tells the story of the three blind man that are put next to an elephant and asked to touch it and describe what an elephant is to them: one of the men so happens to touch the tail of the elephant so he righteously claims “an elephant is like a tight rope that goes in circles”, the next man touches a leg of the elephant and says “ an elephant is like the large trunk of a solid tree”, finally the last man so happens to touch the trunk of the elephant and claims “an elephant is like a big snake that floats in the air”. Where any of these man wrong? Not at all. They were all rightly describing A PART of the elephant. None of them however captured the full picture of what an elephant looks like.
The conclusion therefore is that, when approaching wellbeing, we should be thinking of us as a whole and take care of all aspects that make us who we are in an effort to bring balance: doing just a lot of one thing (even if it’s the right thing) is not the answer but making small incremental improvements across the three main pillars of wellbeing, as we’ve identified them (Focus, Food and Fitness) will bring forth exponential improvements. Check out the “method” page on our website to find out more about this.
The same goes with food: let’s shift the focus out of individual nutrients and back to the foods that are commonly known and recognized by most diets as being conducive to our optimal wellbeing. Most schools of nutrition (other than the very extreme and bonkers kind) will agree on several points so if you want to make some improvements, start from those points everyone agrees on: eat more fruit and vegetables (5 of more helpings of each category a day), favor wholegrain and legumes instead of refined carbohydrates, avoid junk food, processed food and fizzy drinks, limit the consumption of alcohol and sugary/fatty treats.
Confusion and overwhelm are the enemy of implementation so take a step back, look at the big picture and use your common sense to start from the obvious improvements you ALREADY know you should be making; then once you’ve tackled what you can do alone, perhaps consider working with a specialist to get more specific advice but ALWAYS remember to take a step back often and look at the big picture.
Are you tired of waiting for a better day to get in the best shape of your life? Would you like to take active action NOW? Then, if you haven’t done so, download the free PDF report from our homepage to learn about the 7 most common mistakes people make when trying to improve their level of health and wellbeing; we’ve seen these reoccur continuously when working with hundreds of time pressed professionals so we have no doubt you’ll get value from the report.
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