When people think about nutrition they have a tendency to overcomplicate it. Don’t get me wrong, when you begin studying nutrition and all the mechanisms behind digestion, absorption, transformation of the different molecules and also about homeostasis you realise just how complicated it is. There are still mechanisms and ways the body works according to nutrition that we don’t know. Not to mention that a certain dose of one type of food or vitamin or mineral is good but too much is bad i.e too much of a good thing doesn’t make it better. But also you don’t want too much or too little of different macros and micronutrients.
It all seems rather complicated, but for an average person it doesn’t have to be complicated. If anything, the more knowledge you know about nutrition and the more you count calories or macros or think about protein timing or meal timing or focus on really small details, that harder and more complicated it is.
It is like the quote, ” the more you learn the less you know” (source unknown) which is very accurate. The people who think they know everything about nutrition actually don’t know as much as they think. Instead you have to be humble and realise that you don’t know everything and most likely never will, but can atleast be aware of that fact.
For an average person nutrition doesn’t have to be complicated and the goal is to make it as uncomplicated as possible. Hence the simple dietary recommendations which each country have for the public. The recommendations vary a little depending on what country as they are based on the culture and what type of food is typical and how the public actually eat.
However recommendations such as: Get your 5-a-day, increase fiber (c.a 25g-35g per day. As a vegan you most likely eat a lot more though!), less processed food, decrease amount of red meat and charkuteri eaten, less sugar and white flour and instead go for whole grain, swap butter and margarine for oils rich in Omega 3 and 6, eat fish 2-3 times a week such as salmon for the omega 3 etc
For an average person, just following those simple guidelines will help and try to make eating healthy simple.
Most people already know what food they should be eating more of and what food they should be eating less of. So the theoretical isn’t so hard, but it is actually following the advice which is the hardest. Of course some people need more nutritional education but the majority of people already know – in simple terms anyway – but they don’t follow the advice.
My best advice if you think nutrition is complicated is to just try to eat varied. I have written this many times, but varying what type of vegetable you eat, varying what type of potato or root vegetables you eat, vary what type of rice or nuts or seeds or fruit you eat. Some days/weeks you eat tofu other days seitan and somedays beans and lentils (or if you don’t eat plant based then you can vary between meat, fish, eggs etc) If you eat regular meals, eat varied food then you will most likely get all your vitamins and minerals and that is the aim of eating i.e that you get all the nutrients you need. You DONT need to count or track to do that… instead that just complicates food and can make it harder.
If you feel that you are really struggling with balance or knowing what or how to eat then seek help from a professional to get advice and maybe a meal plan or some weekly meal ideas if you are really struggling.
Also, i am aware that if someone has an illness or alot of allergies then nutrition is alot more complicated and not as simple as just following the recommended dietary guidlines. For example myself, I have Cystic Fibrosis which requires certain dietary recommendations and guidlines and then as a vegan it is more to think about such as getting all the vitamins and minerals but i don’t find it complicated at all. I know that as long as i eat enough and try to eat varied it should be fine as well as taking my prescribed supplements! Also note that when someones has an illness or alot of allergies they are usually recommended to go to a dietitian and there is a reason for that – because dietitians and those who specialise in a certain area have the knowledge to help a person with the certain illness, allergies, restrictions etc so that a regular person doesn’t have to do that. Instead they just get advice, recommendations and guidlines in simple terms which will help them!
I hope this helps or is atleast a reminder to those of you who think nutrition has to be complicated or make it harder than it is. You DONT have to track or count, of course if you are interested you can do it every once in a while such as in MFP or cronometer as long as it won’t trigger you, but just as a way to see you are eating enough. But if you are worried about a deficiency, then go get your blood work done!!