A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to speak with a group of amazing editors at Revel Resort to kick off exhale’s Shake your Chakra weekend. In preparing for the event, I happened to come across an article from Mark Hyman titled “The Last Diet you will Ever Need.” I encourage everyone to read it if you can. The main idea within the article is that we have made the obesity epidemic that this country is facing into a very complex problem, when in reality the solution is quite simple. If we all went back to basics and started to eat real food, like we did 100 years ago, the majority of our country wouldn’t be overweight. The problem lies in the processed and industry made food that is making up the majority of Americans’ diet. This article really resonated with me since it is perfectly in line with our nutrition philosophy at exhale – eat clean, real food the way nature intended.

We were so fortunate to have Chef Michael Williams, chef at O Bistro, join in on our conversation. We spoke about buying and eating locally and the numerous benefits this practice can have on the health of both the consumer and the environment. The average carrot in the supermarket can travel 1,500 miles, whereas, when you buy locally it will travel less than 150 miles. Less miles means less wear and tear on the environment, retention of higher nutrient levels and a better tasting product. He spoke about an experience in his career where he had partnered with a farm and would have the produce he needed picked in the morning and on the dinner plates that night. At O Bistro they also incorporate as much local produce as possible into the menu. If Chef Michael can run a restaurant using local ingredients, I think we at home can too.

The discussion ended with Q&A and a question about artificial sweeteners was asked. It seems everyone wants to know which sugar substitute is really the safest to use. The truth is, while the FDA has deemed them safe, artificial sweeteners are made in a lab and contain chemicals. There isn’t enough research yet to prove they are harmful, but they really haven’t been proven to be innocent either. My advice is to decrease your overall intake of sugar and just use a little bit of the real thing. If you have a craving for sugar, why not reach for some fruit? Mother Nature’s version of candy.

So as you get bombarded with the latest and greatest diet craze, take a step back. There is no magic potion or formula for losing weight or looking great. Eating healthy can really be simple if we just eat real food that doesn’t need a nutrition facts label or an extensive ingredient list.

I will leave you with this quote from Mark Hyman which sums it up nicely “The roadmap to health is simple: eat real food, practice self-love rather than self-loathing, imagine yourself well, get sufficient sleep, and incorporate movement into your life.”

Melissa O’Shea MS, RD
Director of Nutrition