The Simple Truth About What it Means to Eat a Healthy Diet

Nutrition is a controversial, contradictory, confusing, and often discouraging topic. Yet buried among the mixed messages, fake news, and polarizing views, there lies a simple, science-backed truth universally accepted by the most renowned experts. Sunbasket sought to answer the million dollar question: What does it really mean to eat a healthy diet?

Nutrients Are Where It’s At

While everyone loves to debate whether it’s better to be paleo or vegan, or if a low-fat diet is healthier than one that’s low in carbs, the truth is that any of these diets can be healthy or unhealthy, depending on how rich it is in nutrients. Countless studies demonstrate that it’s the quality of the food you eat that determines whether your diet is healthy or not. Whether you shun gluten, never eat animal products, or go full-on keto, the core of your food choices should be high-quality, whole ingredients and predominantly vegetables. This simple advice has always been, and always will be, what delivers optimal nutrition. And it’s the bedrock that all the polarizing views in the nutrition world, all scientists, and all research agree on, yesterday, today, tomorrow, and forever.

It’s All about You

While everyone benefits from a nutrient-rich diet, what you actually put on your plate is up to you. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to healthy eating. Your genetic makeup, lifestyle, and preferences should determine the choices you make about what you eat. You’re an evolving being living in a dynamic environment. One year you’re training for a marathon and the next you’re pregnant with twins. After a few years at a desk job, you get a new assignment that has you on a grueling travel schedule, or maybe you have a health condition that needs your attention. As your life changes, so do your nutritional needs. A healthy diet is never static. Embrace the opportunity to practice mindfulness. Listen to your body, try new foods, gather data, and make the changes that feel right to you.

Food Is Pleasure

Here’s the thing that too often gets lost when we talk about nutrition: food is supposed to make you happy. Any approach to eating that relies on discipline, deprivation, and willpower is doomed. It’s not possible to maintain a diet that leaves you hangry, dissatisfied, overwhelmed, and discouraged. It’s important to remember that we aren’t chasing health for the sake of being healthy, we pursue health so that we can lead a fulfilling life. Happiness is the destination, and guilt, shame, and negativity won’t get you there. Rigid diets and complicated eating strategies suck the fun out of meals. Food is more than just nourishing. It’s also delicious and fun. It can bring you closer to people and teach you about the world. Truly healthy eating brings genuine joy.  Artwork by ekströmdesign