by Amanda Quinn & Ann Taylor
The food we eat is more than a source of enjoyment and energy. Food is life promoting, health promoting and not only goes straight to the stomach, but to our minds and hearts giving happiness and health if chosen wisely.
Living in Australia we have a great range of foods to choose from, whether we cook at home or eat out, the choices we have are plentiful. We also have the luxury of being able to choose many diet options for our health whether it be Mediterranean, low-fat, ketogenic, paleo, plant-based and so on.
Amanda and Malinda choose to eat a low-fat, cholesterol free whole food plant based (WFPB) diet; Kendra has been a lifelong vegetarian who eats eggs, but no dairy as she is lactose intolerant; Ann, Janet and Katja are omnivores who eat lots of plant food, but still include moderate amounts of good quality animal protein and some fats in their diet. We can agree there is no one exactly right diet for everyone, but too many people eat food that does not support their health, but make food choices for many other reasons.
Scott (2017) describes the interplay of factors that influence Food Choice Behaviour that is not easily changed, even when people face serious health issues. Here is a summary of what she says, and yes, these factors and more do frustrate the best of efforts to help clients make healthy dietary changes.
If you DO want a healthier diet, to have more vitality, less ill-health and more happiness, how do you figure out what to eat?
Certainly, trial a different diet for a while, and consider
how it makes you feel,
if it is helping you achieve your health goals,
can you measure/assess these health improvements and
is it sustainable i.e. a way of eating you can maintain?
The problem with short-term trials is that people can feel better AND enjoy the food, or feel better, BUT still struggle with food addictions; and short-term trials may not reveal potential nutrient deficiencies that may develop over time if certain foods are not being eaten. Our bio-individuality means that each of us digests, deals with and reacts to different foods in different ways, and underlying pathological processes can affect our physiological interaction with food components.
There are a variety of tests available to identify adverse reactions to food. The only ones covered by Medicare are skin prick tests and blood allergen specific IgE testing, used to detect allergies to certain proteins, but not able to detect delayed IgG immunoglobulin reactions or adverse reactions to food chemicals. The Gold Standard for assessing food intolerances is an elimination protocol and food challenge like the process that Ann, functional nutritionist, uses in clinic. Malinda, kinesiologist, uses muscle monitoring. Although the Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy (ASCIA) does not consider this a reliable diagnostic technique, it has been used with great success and is a well-established modality for therapeutic healing. Read Malinda's article about this.. We should always keep an open mind even when scientific mechanisms aren’t yet well understood.
Scott L, 2017, “Food Choice Behaviour: Why clients are unable to easily change their eating habits”, in Jnl of the ATMS, vol. 23. No.3, Spring 2017, pp136-139.