By defining a goal, you also plan part of the path you need to take in reaching it.
One of the least defined goals is related to eating, food and nutrition. These three are not the same. Many wellness challenges we experience are due to the confusion between these three as well as the manipulation of that confusion by ourselves and others.
Eating is the act of transferring something through your mouth to your stomach. Children could eat toys. Adults often eat things that are very close with the exception of the packaging.
Food is something that your body can digest and assimilate to one degree or another. However, your body cannot survive on “food” alone. Salt and sugar are examples of this. Your body could digest and assimilate both. Many of the items, recipes and meals in our diet fall into this category.
The concept of “food” without “personal customization” means very little. Cucumber that is claimed to have purifying properties is harmful to a person who is allergic to them or intolerant of them. Meat that is harmful to many ways may be very appropriate food for certain rare diseases.
The need for personal customization makes it necessary to have a third category of definition, and that is nutrition.
Nutrition is what allows and assists your body to operate at an optimal level. When I refer to the body, I also include the brain that is a container for the mind and the operating system for the emotions.
Without nutrition, your brain and your body will suffer. I consider both air and water as nutrition since without those two, nothing else matters. Most people I know are either dehydrated or have diminished capacity to breathe which impacts every one of the necessary biological activities in their body including those related to nutrition absorption, transportation and utilization.
Personally I have experienced Spirit to be even more essential than the rest. However, I leave Spirit out of most discussions because it is a matter of experience beyond the ability of the mind to dissect and prove. Spiritual matters are very intimate and personal because their is nothing that separates you from It except your perception.
Within the category of nutrition, I use the term functional nutrition to define the complete customization of what you eat to what you need. You are the center piece of functional nutrition.
Functional nutrition is what could improve quality of life, your performance in life and your longevity.
Quality of Life
First is the quality of life. If you are suffering from aches, pains, illness, mood swings, foggy brain, low energy, lack of enthusiasm, depression, addictions or any number of experiences that are considered suffering, the quality of your life is diminished.
Second is a performance. Performance is as varied as your interest. Any action that could be quantified and measured falls into the category of performance. Your ability to sleep when your body needs it is performance since I can measure how fast go to sleep, how long you sleep and how well you sleep.
I could also trace many of wellness challenges at leas in part to your ability to sleep well.
Ability to lose weight, to build muscle, to think clearly, to manage the emotions, to run faster, to have more stamina, to lift heavier are among quantifiable and measurable performance.
Third is quantity of life which is another way of saying longevity. I put this last mainly because in most cases it is a natural consequence of the last two. However, there are exceptions.
Many drugs may prolong life as well as suffering. Many ethical and legal debates around the right to die fall in this category.
Many food ingredient selection and meal preparation techniques shorten life even though they may at least seem to improve the quality of life or performance. Athletes who use performance-enhancing drugs choose performance over suffering from organ damage and quantity of life.
My definition of nutrition includes all of the three aspects I mentioned. I define my approach to researching nutrition, implementing what I learn, selecting the ingredients in my foods and the way I prepare them based on the definition, goal and the path in the statement below:
Functional nutrition is the type of ingredient selection and meal preparation that could improve the quality of your life, your performance in life and your longevity. To be clear, enjoyment of food is also part of quality of life and you could have it if you are directly involved.