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The Enlightened Diet



Even though we count calories, watch our weight, and figure fat grams, Americans are the fattest people in the world. Perhaps we've forgotten that food is more than an amalgam of nutrients. Along with healing us physically, it enhances emotions, satisfies the soul, and connects us to others and to the mystery of life.

This article appeared in the Winter 2003 issue of Spirituality & Health. When I lecture about optimal eating, the question I'm asked most frequently is about the diet du jour. Many want to know what's best: Is it the zone? Eat right for your type? What do I think about Ornish (high carbohydrate/low fat) vs. Atkins (high protein/high fat)? Which do I choose?  The simple answer is that I don't choose. Rather, I believe we're asking the wrong question, so we're getting the wrong answer -- and ongoing weight gain. Let me explain. Given that American children, teens, and adults are more overweight than ever before (80 percent of adults over 25 are either obese or overweight, up from 58 percent in 1983), it's natural that when we think about nutrition, we focus on weight and fat, both in food and our bodies. We go on diets, analyze and obsess about food, turn to it as an enemy or friend, eat too much, eat too little, worry about it, avoid it, crave it, revere it, or believe that a particular nutrient will magically melt the pounds. Yet despite all of our conscientious attention to food and t …

Deborah Kesten, M.P.H., is the award-winning author of Feeding the Body, Nourishing the Soul (Conari Press) and The Healing Secrets of Food (New World Library). A pioneer in the field of integrative nutrition, she has worked as the nutrition specialist with Dean Ornish, M.D., on his first clinical trial for reversing heart disease. Kesten has presented workshops and participated in research internationally and was honored as "a healer for the new millennium" by Healthy Living magazine.

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