If you are thinking this is going to be anything like SALT FAT ACID HEAT by Samin Nosrat, then you are in for a bit of a shock. As amazing and excited Chef Samin makes us about food, so Michael Moss will flip that on its head and make you seriously rethink your mainstream food choices.  Michael Moss is a multi award winning investigative journalist, who through a series of events, decided to take a deep dive into what’s in our food. The reporting and subsequent book has since become a staple read in the Health and Wellness community and for good reason.

Like a movie

The book was exceptionally well researched and reads like a punch-in-your-face Hollywood movie script. Having said that I would not classify this as an ‘enjoyable’ read. The information left me feeling very uncomfortable. Similar to the feeling you have after watching a really good thriller, there may have even been a few audible gasps while I was reading.

Who are they?

The one thing I really appreciated though was that he put names and actions to those we often refer to as ‘they’. By ‘they’ I mean the people we refer to when we say things like: They are just in it for the money or they are a ruthless bunch. We know they definitely exist. From our side of the table though, we get the distinct feeling that our best interests are not involved in their decision making.

Pulling back the curtain

Getting the curtain pulled back and giving us a glimpse is a rare occasion. If, like me, you have been on a journey around food and health, you know that what he speaks about illustrates a very real and current problem in the world today. There are very few people on the planet that are not being affected by these companies and people. This may make you feel intensely resentful toward these companies and those that work there.

The real problem

By now you can guess that the book may not be telling us what we ‘want’ to hear. That in the land of food supply everything isn’t sunshine and roses and may leave you enraged. But having said this, I would urge you to consider it on a more personal level. I have had family members and friends who have worked for some of the companies mentioned in the book. On a person to person level I know they aren’t bad people. Neither did working for the company suddenly make them bad people. They do not wake up in the morning and head to work with malicious intent. The author points this out about many of the executives he met with as well. He is reasonable and measured when assessing where the real problem lies. It’s the system as a whole that needs to be overhauled.

Everything in that system needs to be shaken up. All the way from the soil our food comes from to what we choose to put on our plates. Upsetting as the information may be – as enormous as the task ahead is – there is still hope. The fact that Michael Moss is able to get this information to us is a huge step in making changes to that broken system.

You cannot fix what you don’t know about.
You cannot make changes if you don’t know where to start.

My biggest take away is that the change starts with you and me. The small things like where and who we choose to buy our food from has a collective impact. Knowing more and actually using information like this empowers us.

This is a really well researched and written book and worthwhile getting your hands on. And, to circle back to Chef Samin, no, it will not put you off her food; rather it will encourage you to learn more about what she shares. Getting back to wholesome, straight from nature, home cooked food.

I recently read an article where a nutritionist/personal trainer gave an account of what she ate in a day. Then, a dietitian weighed in on the food choices. The dietitian seemed happy with the overall account, but noted that more dairy could’ve been added to up the calcium intake. I found the article to be both interesting and annoying.

Curiosity gets the better of us…

It was interesting, because, as a society we seem to have an overwhelming curiosity about how everyone else is eating or doing things. And, yes it’s natural to want to know more and be curious if our objective is to learn. THAT’S O.K! It’s a human reaction. The problem happens when we think we can become the other person. When we are obsessed with being like that person. When we reach a point that we override what we know does or doesn’t work for us or we become overly judgmental about others that do not do the same.

Be curious, not judgmental

It was annoying because, by all accounts it was a well balanced diet. We were also only getting a very small snapshot of her overall life. Yet, it had to be nitpicked and ‘some improvement’ could have been made. Now this is not about dietitian VS. nutritionist, this is about how it seems acceptable to weigh in on each others diets/lives without taking a bigger picture into account. While adding dairy for additional calcium was a valid suggestion, it’s not the only source of calcium available and lets be real – no one – yes no one – eats perfectly everyday.

Like so many of us, we scour the internet, magazines and various social media for cues and hints about our dietary needs and, of course, we compare. It’s this comparison that I find the most annoying and damaging. It plants seeds of doubt and insecurity about our own lifestyle, food and exercise choices. We get caught in what seems to be an eternal loop of feeling like ‘not enough’, ‘must do more’ or ‘I can’t do this on my own’.

Wait, aren’t you a Health Coach?

At this point you are probably thinking, isn’t that exactly what you do? Aren’t you a Health Coach?

Yes, I’m a Health Coach and no, that’s not quite what I do. I am diet neutral and my focus is not on telling you what you must or must not eat, my focus is on finding what works for you, in the space you are in. There are many factors that influence diet and lifestyle choices and if you are able to accommodate the latest and greatest trends, then go for it. Telling a cash strapped client  a healthy diet isn’t complete unless it has chia and hemp seeds in it, well – not going to happen. Likewise, telling someone who gags at broccoli they just have to suck it up isn’t going to help either.

Knowledge is power, and, understanding the pros and cons of food and lifestyle choices is far more useful in finding a sustainable and natural way of living. The teach a man to fish proverb is what we’re going for here.

What’s Omnisim got to do with it?

Omnisim in its simplest form is:
The belief that there is no true religion or beliefs, but that there is truth in all religion and belief.

I believe this applies to diets as well. The number of diets and ways to eat in the world today is staggering. The onslaught of campaigns for these different ways is relentless. From my own personal experimentation with diets and lifestyle choices I have found dietary Omnism to be the best way to learn from it all. With each experience I have found elements that work for me and others that don’t. I drop what doesn’t and keep what does.

As health coaches we are taught about bio individuality and what works for one may not for another. When we work with that as a base it sets you up for greater success. Granted it’s not a quick fix. But, it is the one that gets you to a place where you don’t panic on receipt of a dinner invitation or when you have to travel.

Our diets and lifestyles should empower us to do more – not less, and that is the ultimate goal.