Abundance means you are:
- eating adequate overall calories to signal to the body that it is SAFE and is not in a famine
- eating frequently enough to keep blood sugar levels balanced around the clock
- receiving enough carbohydrates, the body's main source of fuel
- getting enough bioavailable protein
- eating adequate fats
- eating a variety of foods to be absorbing enough water soluble vitamins (B & C), fat soluble vitamins (A, D, E and K), and minerals
As a nutritionist for the past ten years and a student naturopath, the anthem "nutrient-dense diet" is repeated ad nauseum as a given for anyone shooting for optimum health.
Unfortunately in the wellness world, there seem to be many caveats accompanying this anthem. Rules that restrict how varied, enjoyable and satisfying a nutrient-dense diet can - and ought to - be.
Rules such as:
- Don't eat gluten!
- Sugar is toxic!
- Avoid carbs, your body doesn't need them!
- Intermittently fast, it'll make you live longer!
- Fruit is too high in fructose!
- Legumes contain anti-nutrients!
- Dairy is mucus-forming!
- Go plant-based!
- Go paleo!
- Go keto!
- Go carnivore!
- Don't eat after 6pm!
- Never snack!
- Get into a calorie deficit to lose weight!
Such rules can significantly reduce the aforementioned criteria for achieving nutritional abundance and therefore reduce the signals of safety your body needs for optimal functioning. Especially when more than one of these rules is followed, and/or these rules are followed for a significant length of time.
Rather than creating health, more often than not these rules create nutritional and caloric deficits, which in turn wreak havoc with our hormones, blunt our hunger and fullness cues, and deplete our energy. They leave us with bodies and minds that are desperately undernourished.
Many of the popular wellness diets are characterised by more than one of these rules: Paleo, Keto, Vegan, Raw, Intermittent Fasting. Of course there is nuance, but the more strict the diet, the greater the chance there is of something going wrong. Follow one of these diets for long enough and your risk of developing nutritional deficiencies and becoming undernourished or even malnourished go up. Quite the opposite of the wellness promised by these diets.