Tag Archives: Nutrition

Nutritional Science

It’s been around for a long time and we should trust it absolutely, shouldn’t we?

Recently I’ve been doing a lot of reading about food and nutrition is a big part of that, after all what’s the point in me sharing these recipes if I don’t have the first clue about the nutritional value, I could be recommending recipes that while they may not be toxic in the “comic book – one bite and you’re dead sense”, could very easily be missing a vital nutrient or have excessive amounts of calories or a dozen other “problems” that could lead to a slow and painful death.

So I’ve taken to trying to find out as much as I can about nutrition and nutritional science. It’s actually a lot more interesting than I thought it would be. The thing that has struck me though is how much we trust nutritionist to decide what we will eat on a day to day basis, when the science is really in it’s infancy.

It was less than 200 years ago that Liebig first discovered the make up of carbohydrates, fats and proteins, marking the start of the science of nutrition. At the time people thought that was all there was to food, no worries about vitamins, minerals etc. but then later came the discoveries of those and then that was added to what we thought was all that was important in food, then came more discoveries and those were added as well, until we get to where we are today and we think we know everything about food.

To put it simply we don’t and along the journey so far many missteps have been taken in the name of nutritional science. For example we believe that a low fat diet reduces the risk of heart disease. If so, why have we seen more and more heart disease as more and more of us move to a low fat diet?

The thing is there is a lot to be said for nutritional science as well, but the human race has tended to put far too much faith in nutritionists (in my opinion) and not enough in where we got our nutritional information from historically. This is basically those traditional recipes handed down through the generations that we have all tasted. These recipes and cuisines have survived because the people eating them have survived and thrived. If the food was killing them then they would have either changed and evolved what they were eating or simply died out.

Somewhere in the last two hundred years though we decided to ignore this obvious fact and put our faith completely in science before the science actually knew as much as our ancestors did about what we were eating.

The more I learn about nutrition the more I realise just how wise our ancestors were, they didn’t eat processed packaged foods, they ate meals cooked with fresh ingredients, that were mostly grown locally or grown wild.

The thing the science can confirm for us is that the fresher the food, the more nutrients, vitamins, minerals etc. are present but shure yer Great-Granny/Granny/Mammy could have told you that 😉

What do you think, do you trust your Great-Granny/Granny/Mammy more than the Scientists?

A Nutritional Dilemma

I’ve been reading and researching trying to find information on nutrition as opposed to healthy eating. It’s part of my quest for knowledge and while there are a lot of sites out there giving tips on “healthy eating” very few give detailed information about actual nutrition and let’s face it without knowing what we need how can we eat the most appropriate food?

Food Pyramid
image via hair_k on flickr

We knew eating processed and delivered meals was not good for us (Elly and myself) so we made the switch to cooking from fresh as much as possible and we’ve both seen benefits and I don’t just mean the self-satisfaction that comes from eating a meal you prepared yourself, I mean we have both lost a lot of weight, our skin is clearer, we look and feel better, we argue less and discuss more, we find it easier to focus and be more productive, the benefits and differences we have seen are so worth making the effort – but I want more!

And here’s the rub, I don’t know if we’re actually getting a fully balanced diet, I mean sure we’re eating from the right food groups but are we getting the right quantities of each? What could we eat more (or less) of? These are the questions that I’m not getting answered.

I’ve tried getting in touch with An Bord Bia, I’ve googled my fingers to the nub. So far the closest thing I have found to an answer is this page on Wikipedia. I wonder if there are any nutritionists or dietitians reading that could offer some advice or point me in the right direction with a link or two?

The Food Revolution Will Not Be Televised

I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but over the last few years, more and more foodie TV programs have been going on about our western diet and how it has got to change. The first ‘personality’ that I noticed doing this was Jamie Oliver, I’m not saying he’s the first to say it, I’m saying he’s the first that I heard it from.

Our western diet is causing massive problems for almost all nations in what we call the ‘western world’. I’m not just talking about the cost to many individual’s health, I mean from the cost of healthcare, to the cost in lost productivity, to the cost in packaging and transportation and to the cost to the environment, these all have real financial implications for everyone living in the ‘western world’ regardless of whether you have a modern western diet or a more traditional one, you’re still going to end up paying for it through taxes.

One of the most informative pieces I’ve seen on this subject is Jamie Oliver’s “Eat to Save Your Life” and thanks to Donal over at The Good Mood Food Blog letting me know about 4OD, I was able to watch it again recently. Unfortunately I can’t embed the program here so if you want to give it a look follow this link, it’s not a short piece but it may open your eyes to the value of a good diet, it certainly helped me to think more about what I eat.

So why won’t this food revolution be televised? It can’t, these changes need to take place in the kitchen, it’s up to us to make the decision to cook for ourselves, it’s up to us to take the healthy option, it’s up to us to find out what fuel our body really needs, not what we want to fuel it with.

And the healthy option does not mean giving up the food we love, it means being aware of what’s in these dishes and working with that so that we can maintain a balanced and healthy diet.