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What is healthy food?

We had an interesting discussion yesterday on the definition of healthy food. When you start to think about "healthy" and "food" in the same sentence, all sorts of issues arise. Part of DL's tagline is "real food", and that's my baseline for thinking about the definition of healthy food: foods that are REAL, not heavily manufactured/processed; things that have existed as part of human food for centuries, even millennia. For me, that leaves room for enjoying all sorts of foods that in many people's minds are considered unhealthy: butter, cream, cheese, and the like. (Funny that nuts and avocados and coconut used to be on that list but are gaining a better rep lately.) My feeling is that any foods, when they are real, ARE healthy -- IN MODERATION. The problem, as usual, is one of balance, and we Americans tend to overdo it on just about everything; hence the obesity epidemic and rampant heart disease, for starters.

One more thing: I think it's absolutely critical that food be enjoyed -- it's gotta be delicious, not just fuel for the fire. Joy is part of what makes food healthy, in my opinion.

But then there's the issue of context: What's healthy for YOU? If you're gluten intolerant or have an allergy to peanuts or a genetic predisposition to heart disease or diabetes, obviously certain foods will not be healthy for you, no matter how "real" they are. So is it possible to come up with a one-size-fits-all understanding of healthy food? I'd love to hear what you think.

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