Laura Tilt never planned to fall into nutrition.
It all started during a home economics course, when a session on an egg and its various nutrients kick-started a new interest. “Nutrition can be applied to mental health, it can be applied to physical performance, longevity in certain conditions,” she says. “It has kept me fascinated.”
Today, Laura is a registered dietician, health writer and brand consultant, working to serve as a trustworthy source of information in the world of health and nutrition.
Below, she explains how re-evaluating our relationship with food can be beneficial of a multitude of different ways.
Practice mindful eating
“For me, mindful eating explores the why and how of what we eat, rather than necessarily just looking at what we eat. When we talk about nutrition, we’re focused on the sort of food we eat – such as, ‘How many fruits and vegetables?’ Mindful eating is much more interested in looking at our relationship with food, understanding why we eat, and that can be for a lot of different reasons.
“Obviously, hunger is a primary driver. But food is enjoyment, it’s pleasure, it can be comforting. It’s much more focused on understanding our relationship with food and what role it plays for us, while also helping us to become more in touch with our internal cues.”
“A healthy relationship with food should be individualised. Different people, different bodies, have different needs. What might be healthy in terms of food may vary from one person to the next. Someone might have a specific condition, a specific health concern, which means they eat more or less of a particular food group.”
“In terms of our relationship with food, we need to remember that food provides us with nutrients but it also plays a lot of different roles in our life. It is a really important cultural aspect of who we are, a comfort, a celebration. It’s not just about how many calories we’re eating, what nutrients we’re getting every day. A healthy relationship with food is flexible, it provides you with the nutrients you need but also enjoyment – without worry.”
Recognise the landscape
“For my colleagues who are working in the NHS, something we’ve noticed is a huge increase in the number of people accessing food banks during the pandemic. The narrative for a long time around healthy eating and food choices is always one of personal responsibility. ‘If people aren’t eating healthily, why aren’t they?’ Or: ‘Healthy eating is cheap.’ It’s completely missing the point. Some people living in food poverty won’t even have access to a pan, a way to heat up food. This idea of personal responsibility is really damaging. You make choices based on what finances you have available, and also what’s around you.”
Find what works for you
“There’s so much information out there. While it might seem like there are so many conflicting messages, there are things that people do agree on. Like: eating plenty of fruits and vegetables is a good start. For someone on an individual basis, I’d encourage them to do bit of self-exploration. Keeping a food diary for a day or two, just also thinking about how you’re feeling during the day.”
“I would also remind people to be aware of taking advice from social media. Check in with who you’re following. If your information is coming from an influencer, it’s important to remember we don’t know what’s going on behind the scenes. We should protect ourselves when getting information online.”
Collectivity is an editorial series produced in collaboration with Reebok. View more stories from the partnership.