Over the last 150 years we have accumulated a tremendous amount of knowledge regarding the bioactive components of food: the essential and 'conditionally essential' macro and micro nutrients that permeate food. Ironically, despite this growing inventory, confusion around diet seems to have magnified many fold. Even many of the university students of nutrition or dietetics I have met over the years (some of them later clients) admit that it is far from clear what a healthy diet would actually look like on a plate.
As a young vitality coach in the making, I have been intrigued and fascinated by diet since turning 13, inspired by the opportunity to make sense of a subject that few seem really able to demystify and keen to make sense of the numerous health conditions that had afflicted me from the early years of my childhood. I would spend my late teenage years veraciously reading anything I could on the subject eager to understand the big picture behind good eating. But, this was not simply an intellectual exercise. The end goal was mightily obvious.
If I was to genuinely get to grips with the art and science of nourishment I would have to become a picture of health myself. It would have to be embodied. By my early 20s I felt happily satisfied. Free from the ailments that had punished my skin, breath, nasal passages and digestion in general, for the first time in my life I felt a rebirth had taken place within my body, not as a sudden surge of energy that swiftly fleeted, but as a radiance that lingered as part of my daily experience. This was my birthright, chances are it is yours as well.
You know, nutrition is in reality a multi-dimensional subject. The outdated mechanical notion of the body as a robot that simply needs to be fuelled has heavily obscured a clear understanding of what human nourishment actually entails. In reality our own body is the most important part of the equation in determining what to eat, and in what amounts. Constitutional weaknesses within specific areas of the digestive system (or anywhere else besides) heavily bear upon what we will be able to comfortably eat. Non-constitutional weaknesses, caused by general abuse and toxin accumulation equally restrain the types of food we will be able to “get away with”, at least until the problem is dissolved.
Truly, nutrition is about the individual. Certainly it is no longer convincing to assume that there exists some kind of X diet that will strengthen and bring life to every “normal” man and woman standing. That said, the art and science of appropriate nutrition is far from a “free for all”. Universal principles, principles that apply equally to the Inuit hunter of the Arctic Circle, as they do to a postgrad in San Jose, neatly and non-dogmatically guide us towards a mastery of food consumption. From food selection to the surprisingly different area of food preparation, there are deceptively simple laws that bring much needed light on a matter which is so often seen as contradictory and difficult.
My special interest, and my passionate enquiry within nutrition has been particularly concerned with the interplay and alliance between the individual level of activity - the unique being doing the eating, and the universal principles that guide assimilation and metabolism in the first place. Between the two, I can say with absolute certainty, you will find a serenity and confidence with nutrition, the likes of which you have never tasted before.
Originally written for the MindBodySpirit.co.uk blog, Sept 2013. An article by Kyle Vialli.