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Food for Thought

My husband and I have common views and share ideologies about most things, but one thing we have completely differing views on is food. Maybe these varying views are gender-based, a result of our individual upbringings, or a subconscious way we challenge one another. Not sure. Among many things, he is a marathon runner. By many standards a very successful one. He looks at food as calories – as energy he needs to sustain his daily living and his calorie-intensive hobbies. He even said to me just the other day that if he could, he would eat all of his sustenance in GU form. GU energy gels are nutritionally concentrated tiny packets of a goop – not quite solid, but not quite liquid either, instead of gloppy gelatinous consistency – that provide the necessary energy for athletic performance. Efficient, dull, extremely void of emotional attachment or nostalgia.

I, on the other hand, view food as an event, a gathering, a potential for greatness and connectedness (also a potential for destruction – but that’s another blog for another day). When we were having this conversation the other day, our 6-year-old was listening. I told her it’s important to welcome food into your body – to receive it gratefully and intentionally. When you do this, I strongly feel your body will assimilate the nutrients best. She then, without missing a beat in pure 6-year old comedic fashion, said to the popcorn she was snacking on, “welcome, popcorn, to my stomach; thank you for tasting good”.

I think it’s safe to say he agrees with me that whole food is best, and I understand his point-of-view. I also get that in the season of life we are in, efficiency is key for him. He manages his time most days down to the very second and in his mind, taking time to prepare and cook his food is not a good use of his time, especially when he can get the “necessary” nutrients from these tiny packets and his multi vitamin. There will be a season when we can slow down a bit more and create meals together, but for now, I am content with being the one who makes the meals, who sets a table for my family as often as I can.

Yes, whole food is best. And maybe this study I was reading about will help convince him and you, if you tend to agree with him more than with me. University of Illinois researchers gave resistance-trained men either three whole eggs (yolk plus whites) or just egg whites after two separate bouts of strength training and then measured rates of muscle protein synthesis. “Though each option had identical protein volume – 18g – the men built about 40% more muscle after eating whole eggs than they did the egg whites alone” (this was published in the December 2017 edition of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition). From this study, we can hypothesize that the fat and nutrients in egg yolk contribute to the body’s uptake and use of protein. Just as our bodies are complex beings, multi-layered and synergetic, food is also dependent on itself. Generally speaking, our bodies work best when the whole food is present, and food works best when the whole food is present.

I strongly feel food is so much more than the individual nutrients it contains and I will share more studies like this as I come across them, to help convince you likewise. 

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