Simplicity: A diet we can all agree on
17th Aug, 2022
TYME's Alfred Backhouse, who is currently studying Computer Science at Oxford University, shares his thoughts on diet culture and how to keep things simple.
If you look at diets today, you end up running in circles.
Maybe you watch Game Changers, which makes a compelling case for the benefits of a plant based diet. But then you run into the Liver King on instagram, who only eats raw meat, and your convictions get challenged (although I can't say I was convinced).
Or perhaps you put yourself on a Keto diet, before soon realising that pizza still tastes really good. Or your trainer tells you to eat a meal every 3 hours, but you read “How Not to Die”, and find out that the key to living a long, healthy life is to fast for 16 hours a day.
There is an endless supply of different diets, some with brand names and large marketing budgets, some that work in theory but are a nightmare in practice, and some that are just a little outdated. It all adds up to a lot of confusion, and a lot of restrictions. There’s a convincing case to be made for many of these diets, yet most of them directly contradict each other.
THE SIMPLE SOLUTION
The key is that it really isn’t that complicated. While some people may find that a specific diet works well for them, for most of us, it’s about generally following good principles. It doesn’t even need to be a “diet”.
The consensus is that we should aim for whole, natural foods, while reducing our intake of processed / refined food. We should be eating a variety of food, mostly plants, not too much and not too little. Include fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, nuts and optional meat.
Just taking these simple steps will reduce risk of heart disease, cancer and diabetes and increase our life expectancy by as much as 13 years.
And it's sustainable in the long run because it isn’t really a “diet”, more of a way of life.
Of course, this is easier said than done. Whole foods aren’t always available, convenient or cheap. It takes much more planning, food prep and shopping. If you use TYME, we’ll sort out your weekday meals but there are still evenings and weekends to contend with.
There are basic formulas for creating hearty salads with whatever you have in the fridge, and plenty of inspiration for delicious, super-healthy recipes on the internet. Stocking your kitchen with a good supply of vegetables and precooked legumes and grains will ensure that you can always knock something together.
The takeaway is that in order to maintain any sort of diet for the next 10 or 20 years, it must have longevity. One must make simple, intentional choices, without being too harsh or restrictive. And hopefully, this mentality will allow us to do what's most important: enjoy food and stay on top of our health.