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  • Writer's picturevancevoetberg

What is Healthy Eating?

Updated: Feb 27

Since starting Running On Butter, I've written on many nutrition-related topics. From seed oils to superfoods to restaurants like Chipotle, I've (hopefully) elucidated some common food fallacies.

But as pointed out by one of my prudent Buttercups (this is the name of Running On Butter subscribers), I've yet to answer the most critical question: What is healthy eating?

How foolish am I to have a nutrition blog yet fail to deliver this basic information? For this, I'm sorry.

Healthy Eating: Painting The Landscape

Rather than listing foods that are healthy or harmful, I will instead provide a framework for you to discover what healthy eating is.

I'm not here to impose my nutritional legal system on you; I'm here to fortify the nutritional intuition you already possess. My wish is for you to discern what healthy eating is and isn't.

I'll gladly equip you with knowledge, but ultimately, I want to bolster your reasoning.

I hope to see your critical thinking sharpened so you will detect fraudulent health fads and cherish timeless health truths.

A Brief (But Important) History Lesson With Vance

For thousands of years, mankind ate nourishing foods. People grew, gathered, and hunted their food. Diets didn't exist, and TV shows like The Biggest Loser wouldn't last a second season.

But during the Industrial Revolution, humans started to eat differently. Modernity granted us the ability to refine grains and sugar cane, and extract oils from plant seeds.

Technology has presented many gifts, but how it evolved food was calamitous.

Since the Industrial Revolution, diseases such as obesity, diabetes, heart disease, autoimmunity, and cancer have skyrocketed.

Interestingly, these chronic diseases are primarily metabolic in their pathology, meaning they are incited and furthered from a dysfunctional metabolism. (1) (2)

Such diseases were a rarity before the 20th century. Now, they run rampant across America.

For example, Type 2 Diabetes – a condition directly related to the food we eat – affected approximately 1 million Americans in 1958. By 2030, we're estimated to have 45 million Americans with Type 2 Diabetes and another 13 million Prediabetics.

Now, we have the government, doctors, dieticians, and influencers all telling us what to eat to fix our health. And yet, as we create new diets and pour more money into the field of nutrition science, we're growing sicker.

But why? Why are we missing the mark? How can we reclaim our health?

Good Questions, Wrong Answers

For our entire existence, mankind has eaten the same foods. But in the 20th century, we tossed tradition aside and chose a new way of eating. As already written, the rise of metabolic diseases occurred in lockstep with mankind's new way of eating.

Seed oils over butter; refined grains over sprouted grains; high fructose corn syrup over honey; and most recently, plant-based meat over grass-fed beef.

The correlation between our drastic dietary changes and the sharp incline of metabolic diseases is too strong to ignore.

Nevertheless, that's precisely what's happening in the American health establishment.

Back to the Basics

The prevailing thought on nutrition (and all of healthcare, really) is that innovation is critical to success – that we must research the way out of our dietary crisis: new drugs, new diets, new therapies, and new data.

This philosophy speaks for itself: 45 million Type 2 diabetics by 2030.

Research and innovation are needed, but they won't solve our dietary problems. In fact, they're what caused our dietary problems.

Therefore, instead of this failing approach, why don't we eat the way humanity ate prior to the 20th century? Why don't we return to the dietary traditions that surmounted metabolic diseases? In other words, why don't we go back to the basics?

We're moving 100mph on the highway of undiscovered information while bypassing the coastline drive of historical wisdom.

Your Pressing Question, Answered

So to answer the question of what healthy eating is, I propose a framework that isn't my own. Instead, it's one that humanity has always used.

Food not in packages from the middle isles of a supermarket and food not handed out from a drive-thru window.

Food that isn't made in a lab or factory: seed oils, corn syrup, artificial flavors, artificial sweeteners, food coloring, artificial preservatives, plant-based meat, and refined grains & sugar.

In contrast, healthy eating is food grown and raised in nature - the food that humans have always eaten: meat, fish, dairy, fruits, vegetables, eggs, sprouted grains, tubers, nuts, seeds, coconut oil, olive oil, honey, maple syrup, herbs, and spices.

I believe this pandemic of metabolic diseases can be reversed through a diet framed by these foods.

And if you're someone who isn't concerned with succumbing to a disease like diabetes (speaking to young athletes, here), I beseech you: are you the best athlete you can be?

I can honestly say you're not. So why not unfasten your fullest potential by eating genuinely healthy food?

And lastly, to those who aren't competitive athletes:

Are you the healthiest you can be?

Do you get sick frequently?

Do you struggle with anxiety and depression?

Do you make it through each day with lasting energy?

Do you lack the creativity you once had?

Do your bones ache?

Are your muscles constantly sore?

Is your brain foggy?

Is your stomach in constant pain?

I can assure you that the food you're eating is contributing to each of these life-dampeners.

Eating healthy will change your life. It will upgrade your life. It will brighten your life.

It's a way of living that reveals the profundity and beauty of life. I'm experiencing it now, and so are my friends and family.

You're more than welcome to join.

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