Okay. I am not a nutritionist. And, admittedly, I've never really had major struggles with weight. So, take what I'm about to say with a grain of salt, but I'm still pretty convinced I'm onto something here.
We ought to be eating the way we ate 100 years ago -- you know, back before processed foods made up about 70% of our diet.
Maybe we could call this the Homesteader's Diet. It involves eating wholesome, seasonal, naturally-raised food. And all the ingredients in every meal are recognizable. And any processing of that food is done primarily in your own kitchen.
Think about what great-grandma would've risen before dawn to cook for great-grandpa and the other farm hands. What would be on the table? (Brace yourself.) Bread, butter, cheese, meats, milk, vegetables (in season or preserved).
I know it goes against recent diet fads, but these are the things I want on my table, too.
I am not afraid of cheese. I do not think that bread is the enemy. Full-fat yogurt does not make me squeamish.
I am a little bit afraid, though, of putting into my mouth ingredients that I can't even pronounce. What are they? Are they food?
And, it's not just the "junk food" that contains these types of ingredients. Take a look at the ingredients listed on some of our "diet" foods. Those are sometimes the worst. So, I tend to skip the butter-like-product and purchase instead the one with "Cream and salt" as its ingredients. It's what any homesteader would pick for her table.
Not only did our metaphorical great-grandparents likely know the names of all the ingredients in their foods, they probably knew their origins. If they didn't grow or make it, they probably knew who did. Their food was mostly fresh. Their food was mostly local. And, though they were not afraid of fat or carbs or dairy, they enjoyed greater health and less obesity than we do today.
Despite recent findings that consumers of whole milk may actually have reduced-body fat, I wouldn't suggest that a switch to whole, natural foods is the only factor in achieving a healthy lifestyle. If you spend your day planted in front of a computer screen but opt to trade in your low-fat Greek yogurt for its full-fat counterpart, don't expect miracles.
The Homesteader's Diet is about more than just caloric intake. It's also about output. Our homesteading forefathers were anything but sedentary. Men and women alike spent their days lifting, hauling, walking, and more as they went about their daily work on the farm. As most of our jobs today are much less physical in nature, exercise may not be a natural part of your day. You may have to manufacture it.
So, yes, these are merely the musings of a wanna-be homesteader. And, yes, it's possible that I may have idealized this lifestyle of old just a bit, but I think there's something here for us. Personally, I intend to ask myself often, "Is this something that great-grandma would've served for dinner?"
And I think these tenets have a lot to offer us in the way of health:
Eat real food. Do not be afraid of sweat.