True health is one of the pillars of a happy life. We work hard to define it, quantify it and "get it" in our western society.
Most of the time when we discuss health, we are talking about foods, diets, habits and lifestyles- all tangible aspects of life that we can see and label. It appears to me there is an obsession (or more accurately, an ongoing argument) with which diet is the healthiest diet for any given individual and the most ecologically sound diet? I have learned from my time working with people in the holistic health industry that people can and do have strong, religious-type ties to what they eat or do not eat. I'm not just talking about people who specifically follow a diet according to their chosen Religion, but people in general can find they have strong emotional ties to food, based on their history, family beliefs and ethical beliefs about what lifeforms are meant to be eaten or not.
To me, this simple process of eating well and listening to your body has become an incredibly over-complicated, stressful process. Eating well doesn't mean eating what you've read is healthy, or what an expert is telling you is healthy, it means Eating, well..... exactly what your body is asking for. Now, we have ample peanut galleries and experts telling us that our body is this silent thing, a pile of cells that you need to educate yourself about, or better, listen to people more educated and accredited than you about how to feed yourself and be healthy, right? WRONG.
All that is needed is to listen to your body, which isn't too hard as it is speaking to you all the time. Your body tells you when you have to move your bowels, and you know what to do.
The first issue with western thinking is that we automatically separate, divide, quantify, measure and label. We want everything to fit into categories, labels and most of all we want to know the ultimate -we want the list of what has been "Proven" healthy for us in descending order. I must admit, I would love that:) So the idea of listening to your body and giving yourself what it (you) want probably sounds ridiculous.
Its a matter of choosing simplicity, or complexity. In today's world, complexity wins. Even the simplest thing of reading your own body sounds complex and strange... what happened here?
Lets keep it easy as can be. Everyone knows that when you buy something packaged and processed its a far way away from buying fresh vegetables, fruits and protiens and cooking up a meal. Processed foods, even when they are in the expensive health food, organic-y sections or stores, are still processed foods. But on the other hand, life is busy. Most of us do not have time or the will to make fresh made meals all the time. So, minimize your processed foods and snacks, and eat fresh GOOD food as often as possible. But honestly, don't stress about it. If you are eating a lot of processed foods, and not having any health concerns, who really cares? Maybe the people eat a lot of processed food because they are out doing things that make the family happy and are keeping active. We can do it all perfect. I grew up with a busy parent, so I rarely remember eating a fresh made, decent meal. A lot of ready-made stuff. I'm alive! I grew up interested in cooking and health, I lived an active childhood....
One of the many things I love about the human body is that if you give it an inch, the body takes a mile. That is, someone can be eating foods/drinks that the body doesn't like for years and years, even abuse themselves with substance for many years, but when you decide to turn that around a tiny bit, cut out a few offending foods, or add something to your diet the body really wants (example when some iron starved vegans eat a little bit of red meat) the body is miraculous in how it returns to vibrant health. Simple or complex, that is the question.