Sure, our doctors can run a few tests and give us a gold star on paper, but what about health as a measure of how we feel?
It is irrelevant to have clinical testing tell you you're "healthy", or likewise order a meal at a restaurant advertised as "health conscious", if you still feel like crap after you leave the doctors office, or after you eat that meal. Your body is still responding negatively to something that you're doing and as a result you feel- bloated, constipated, depressed, angry, sad, anxious, headaches, tired or extreme fatigue, easily irritated, and the list goes on. Yes, it is important to know you do not have high cholesterol, your white blood cell count is "good", and you are not diabetic, hooray! However, did you know that major energy swings throughout the day, going more than 3 hours without food, and over eating fruit (yes, that little "health food" fruit), can predispose you to blood sugar dysfunction, insulin resistance, and diabetes? This is just one example of how food interacts with your body to cause a positive or negative feedback loop. Just because you are "healthy" on paper, and even if you are eating "healthy" you could still be creating patterns that are unhealthy for you if continually repeated.
Take an elite endurance athlete for example. Here is someone we look up to! They're strong, they're motivated, they're extremely fit, they work out all the time, they can run circles around you at speeds you didn't know existed, and of course they must be healthy! Not necessarily. We can not measure our "health" by way of our ability to run 10 miles at warp speed, in other words our fitness level is not the same as our health level. It is likely that this endurance athlete puts too much stress on the body day in and day out, causing major shifts in hormone production; it is also likely that in order to perform optimally this athlete eats copious amounts of carbohydrates (likely processed) to compensate for the energy expenditure needed to sustain hours upon hours of training--which is not healthy for your liver, your brain, your heart, or your pancreas. It is also possible that this athlete is well adapted, eats a lower carbohydrate diet, just enough to maintain his energy needs during exercise, does meditation, gets massages, has very low stress levels, and grows all his own food. These athletes exist as well :) The point I'm driving home is there is not a one size fits all for the word "healthy", nor is there a physique we can classify as "healthy". Everyone is different, everyone has different needs, and just because they're an athlete doesn't make them healthy.
Answering this question "what does it mean to be healthy" is personal, not universal. To me, I am healthy when I am functioning mentally, spiritually, and physically at the highest level I know possible for my body. To me, I am healthy when I feel light/weightless, I feel happy, I don't have cravings, I'm never starving, I'm never full, I'm always satisfied, I'm not bloated, I recover from my exercise quickly and without pain, and shit, I FEEL GOOD!
My goal as your Honest Market nutritionist is to provide enough information about our food supply; the way our bodies function and respond to food; the types of food that support your specific health goals; so that you can be YOUR best version of "healthy", no one elses! At Honest Market we are doing our very best to support your health with the meals we create. Providing farm fresh produce, responsibly raised animal products, whole grains, nuts & seeds, healthy cooking oils, and soon to come a gluten free menu. It is essential and part of our philosophy to make healthy foods more easily accessible, and delicious. It is also our intention to arm you with the education as to WHY we serve you the food we do.
Stay tuned and cheers to a healthier happier YOU in 2015!