Eating Local Vs Global – Which Is Better?Luke Coutinho
Humans are brainwashed by society to limit their potential. They are taught to keep themselves in rigid boxes that make them live like frogs in a pond, who are unaware of the outside world and its endless possibilities that could give them a better life.
This conditioning is the reason that successful individuals, corporates, relationship experts and coaches belonging to various fields often ask people to think outside the box and step out of their comfort zone. Only when you do things differently, you get different results.
When they say the sky’s the limit, it truly is. There is no formal end when you embark on the journey of living a fulfilled life with an open mindset.
When it comes to food and nutrition, something similar has been happening for years. Every human body is unique. While the mechanisms inside our bodies are similar, the way our body accepts or reacts to what goes in might differ from person to person.
The toxic diet culture and unrealistic expectations around perfect bodies put forward by social media have put people into extremely rigid boxes. People want to put their unique individual bodies into these limited fad diets. They want to put their unique body systems into an 8:16 hour fasting mechanism without realizing that fasting is never a one-size-fits-all approach. It might be 12 hours for some and 15 for others. We have clients who have fasted both less and beyond the usual fasting hours and achieved their desired health and wellness goals. There is no right number of hours and putting oneself in a box out of convenience and ease is certainly not the right way to do it.
Should you eat local or global?
Limiting food and nutrition and considering it right or wrong, based on the geographical borders is a very classic example of putting oneself in this box. Thinking about consequences and failures is what holds us back from having the right approach and expanding our set of beliefs.
Yes, it is of prime importance to eat locally irrespective of where you are in the world right now. But also understand that different health conditions demand different cures. These cures, sometimes, come from global foods that may not be available in the local market. To only eat local food, especially when your body needs what is available in the global market, is nothing but a sign of a limited mindset. We must be open to eating globally too.
Albert Einstein rightly said, “The measure of intelligence is in the ability to change.”
Eating locally is a priority. All of us must do it every single day. Our meals should mostly be prepared from what our local vegetable vendors sell us. But, that should not stop us from exploring other foods that have the potential to benefit our health in one or another way.
Why do we need to be open to eating global?
Everything around us is constantly changing — geography, weather, the intensity of the sun, the quality of soil, bacterial infections, viruses, diseases, medication, and even the side effects of these medications. This constant change has a serious impact on every single one of the trillions of cells that make the human body. So yes, while it is ideal to eat what grows around us, it is also essential to broaden our perspective and eat globally, especially because our internal and external environment is constantly changing.
Kiwis, Olive Oil, Avocados, Blueberries — To Eat or Not?
Consider this situation. Let’s say, harsh UV rays are damaging your skin and DNA. There is a possibility that the vitamins and minerals necessary to protect you from this damage may not be present in the food grown locally around you. For example, kiwi. This fruit was less known around ten years ago and wasn’t local to our country. Through our integrative medicine practice, we learned that some properties in kiwi have the most powerful ability to repair DNA. It was then we began including kiwi in the diets of our cancer patients both, during and post-chemotherapy. As much as we support eating locally, we knew that it couldn’t come at the cost of our patient’s health.
Similarly, avocados play a significant role in improving the health of children and adults with leukemia. Olive oil, too, is not native to our country. But that does not stop us from sprinkling it on our salads, especially when we know that it’s a rich source of monounsaturated fatty acids. We cannot neglect foods that can benefit our health simply because they are not local. Sometimes, it’s wise to go ahead and borrow the wisdom that exists in other countries and add them to our nutrition.
Putting your diet on a percentage scale, one can aim for a diet that’s 80% local and 20% global based on what is needed for their specific health condition.
For instance, chemotherapy is a constantly changing treatment procedure. It depletes certain vitamins and minerals. Sometimes these may not be found easily in our local crops simply because of the weather conditions or seasons they grow in. Hence, we need to open our minds and accept foods that are best for our health.
Having said that, eating globally in no way means that you are neglecting your local food. If you live in India, it is not wise to only eat what’s available in the US just to show off your money and status. That is a wrong intention to keep.
Your food should be a balance between the local and the global that is designed as per your specific health needs. Eating local isn’t just about living sustainably and supporting our farmers. It is also about striking a balance in your diet to respect the needs of your body. It is not okay to limit one’s eating choices, especially when your health condition would benefit from certain foods that don’t grow locally.
Remind yourself, that the environment is constantly changing and so are the needs of the human body. There are antibiotics that no longer kill certain bacterial strains simply because their systems are getting smarter. Thus, the cellular needs of the human body have also become very demanding. They are constantly evolving with the changes in our surroundings.
The environment too has a positive impact on the growth of certain crops. This is why certain crops that could not grow earlier are now growing locally owing to the weather changes. Blueberries growing in Pune without pesticides, kiwis growing in parts of Himachal Pradesh, avocados growing in South India and parts of Goa are some of the many examples of this change.
In closing, here’s what we as a community need to do:
- Open up our minds and acknowledge the needs of our bodies.
- Not limit the decision to choosing between eating local or global.
- Eat with balance and logic to choose the foods that support our health.
- Love and respect eating local. But also be open to the wisdom and benefits that come with global foods.
Remember, change is the only constant, and survival of the fittest is the only truth.
Being adaptable to this change is the smartest choice you can make for your health today, tomorrow, and always.
YouCare Is All About YOU
You cannot pour from an empty cup. So build YOU first before nourishing the world. You Care is all about YOU. - Luke Coutinho
We are a team/ecosystem of highly-trained registered clinical dietitians, certified nutritionists, experienced life coaches, yoga experts, emotional counselors, skilled allopathic medical practitioners, and homeopathy doctors who adopt a 360-degree approach and combine medicine and lifestyle to transform lives. We work on holistic prevention care and recovery by emphasizing the four pillars of health — Balanced Nutrition, Adequate Exercise, Quality Sleep, and Emotional Detox.
We, humans, are products of nature. So, we thrive best when we operate within the laws and boundaries of nature. This includes the way we eat, move, sleep, think, our spiritual outlook, all of which can vary from individual to individual.
We believe in addressing the root cause and bio-individuality which respects you as a unique individual. Recovery begins when we respect medicine and focus beyond it too. We help you create the right external and internal environment that enables the intelligence of your body to kick in and contribute to prevention, recovery, and healing.
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