NutriNews Issue 7 2017 - Page 14

T , “you he problem with the expression can’t have your cake and eat it too”, is that it makes it seem unreasonable to want to achieve more than one goal at once. At a time when many of our tasks do at least double duty, it seems antiquated to think that our food need be either healthy, filling or delicious but not all at the same time. Nutrition and enjoyment does not need to be incompatible as this statement suggests. Although associated with certain connotations, nutrition is not about satisfying one goal at a time. A perfectly prescribed diet consists of more components than just the ideal mix of nutrients, as many of us intuitively know. If health was the sole priority when eating, many of us Canadians would likely be in a far better condition. However, eating the way many of us perceive as healthy seems boring and unsatisfying. Carefully counting calories and snacking on salads appeals to our higher brain functions, but many of us know it is only time until our mental sirens ring, calling for a more satisfying taste. Concurrently, stuffing our faces (and bellies) with our favourite foods may only satisfy our short-term fulfillments in an animalistic sort of way. We revel in the instant pleasure of gorging at the time, to only be subsequently filled with shame and regret over our over-indulgence. Having witnessed the powerful exploitation that our body urges and lower brain function have on personal choices, we resolve to return to a better diet; one provided by the government and proven by science to keep us healthy. Sound familiar? Another layer comes in when a chef ’s palette enters the story. Although not quite healthy or substantial, a chef understands that taste is the most appealing factor of all. They use creative techniques to make food entertain and spark our taste buds without necessarily providing all the correct building blocks for our bodies to thrive on. In essence, at the expense of health and portion size, a chef makes edible art that satisfies our acute senses. Many of our real diets fluctuate between these three competing desires, sometimes on a daily basis. That dissonance though, is where modern nutrition research is working. We are not crazy for deviating from the “perfect diet”; it is the reality of human instinctive decisions. Nutrition researchers today understand this and even account for it in current work. We do not shame people for eating one standard deviation less than the ‘recommended daily allowance’ of vegetables, or for consuming greater or fewer kilocalories than the ‘daily requirement’. We study the interactions between food, body, and mind in order to get a better understanding of how health (or lack of ) can be defined. Nutrition is not just about a diet. It is not about eating only for health, as would appeal to our body and logical minds. It also is not about eating as much as we can whenever we can, as would appeal to our more basic instincts. It is not even about elevating food into an art form, so it appeals to our creative minds as well as our basic instincts. It is a way of thinking about and understanding food that combines culture and science so that all these needs are met. Issue 3 | Nutrition of Everything | 8