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The whole point of a diet, any diet, in any place on this whole earth, is to nourish the body. There are other reasons to eat, of course, but the point biologically for our bodies being able to take in food is so that we can keep on living, replenish vital nutrients, grow, heal, move…

Unfortunately, many people have a very sour relationship with food. They eat too much, too little, or just the wrong kind of food. Sometimes this is of necessity; not all societies can afford to buy or grow a balanced diet. But more often it is because of a misunderstanding of how food works. Food, to our bodies, is fuel. It is a building block. It is healing, nourishing, energizing.

When we do it right.

When we do it wrong is when things go haywire. We feel tired. We gain weight. Our skin gets funky. Our jeans no longer fit and we start wearing sweatpants all the time (I’ve been there). Frequently at this point we over-react. We think, “Oh, no! Diet! Quick!” Instead of drydocking our ship to do a slow, careful check and repair, we do the speedy patch job, so to speak. We get meal-replacement shakes with unpronounceable ingredients and munch tasteless rice cakes when we get so hungry we just have to chew something. We try diets of canned beets and plain tuna fish. Essentially, we try anything that promises “Lose 20 lbs In Two Weeks!”

Anything… except really changing the way we eat. All those miracle diets are really just fad diets. Most of them cause you to either cut calories to the point that you are hungry a lot, drop water weight and not fat, or are beyond complicated. And eventually we throw up our hands and think, “Being healthy is just too hard.”

The truth is that none of these so-called “diets” are really diets at all. The definition of diet is simply the way you eat. Most of us just aren’t conscious enough of what we are eating to consider it a “way of eating.” It’s simply haphazard munching on whatever’s easy.

The healthiest way of eating is probably the simplest. Real food. Yes, you can eat real food. Meats, vegetables, fruit. Nuts. Seeds. Foods that are eaten as close as possible to their original form, unadulterated and unprocessed. Even cooked, these foods are highly dense with good nutrients, but not packed with sugar and salt. They are healthy. Good. Real. And if you eat them, you will feel better. You will look better. You’ll be thinner if you need to be. Forget all those diet shakes and lists and counting. Eat until you’re full. We’re meant to do that anyway. Your body gets hungry for a reason: it needs to eat. Hunger is not necessary to wellness. Nor is tastelessness or monotony. Wellness and suffering do not coexist. Food should be wholesome and nutritious, and it should also taste good.

It took me a long time to learn this. But you know what? It’s worth it. Because it’s true. It’s a good, good way to eat.

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