Food and Nutrition: Back to Basics

by Peter Davis, CEO and Kathie Davis on Mar 01, 2013


As a nation, we talk about food a lot. In fact, we are mildly obsessed with it.

Every day there is a new study touting the benefits of the latest “superfood” and another that criticizes last year’s thinking about it. In fact, there is so much to read, interpret, digest and use or discard that just keeping up with the latest in food and nutrition can be a full-time job.

As exhausting as it is to wade through this food data stream, there is the added stress of translating it mindfully into a balanced, local, organic, sustainable, non-GMO and humane plate of food. At the end of the day, it’s often easier to buy a ready-made, processed meal or to swing through the drive-through and be done with it. Are our efforts to become more knowledgeable about all of this actually defeating the purpose?

Finally, even though television offers more food-related entertainment than ever, in the form of cooking shows and chef reality programs, cooking is still largely a spectator sport in America. We all have a front-row seat to marvel as the best chefs whip out mouth-watering dishes for Tom Colicchio and Padma Lakshmi to taste and judge, but who among us actually has the time, knowledge or equipment to prepare sous vide lamb loin or to lovingly braise leeks for dinner?

In most cases, it’s just not going to happen. The majority of us feel lucky if we put a decent turkey meatloaf, a microwaved potato and a basic salad on the table. Perhaps the intimidation we feel in the wake of such cheffy TV showmanship discourages us—and our clients—from even trying to cook simple meals?

It’s ironic. Even with this national fixation on food, nutrition research, food politics, food production, gourmet cooking and the like, we are still doing a poor job of making wise choices and planning our meals for optimum nutrition. The fat shadow of obesity looms larger than ever, and much of it can be pinned on the food we eat—or maybe it’s the foods we don’t eat. It depends on which research study you read.

For these reasons, we believe that getting back to basics is in order. Instead of overwhelming you with messages that may lead you to feel you must have Top Chef skills, combined with Michael Pollan’s insight, to get fundamentally sound and tasty food into your lives, we want to help you simplify. This is where we see IDEA’s growing leadership in nutrition education playing a significant role. We believe in paring things down so you can help your clients to help themselves.

In this, our annual nutrition issue, we have brought the conversation about nutrition scope of practice back to its roots in our first feature. We see this dialogue as a starting point from which we will continue to build a set of basic tools and resources that will help you guide clients with their nutrition. The roundtable was edited from a panel discussion that took place last year at the IDEA World Fitness Convention™. It touches on many of the tender points regarding scope that frustrate all of us. Join the conversation and let us hear your voice: The second feature—on nutrient timing as a training recovery strategy—is also timely and relevant to you personally and professionally. We hope these articles will broaden your thinking.

Our nutrition program for 2013 IDEA World Fitness in Los Angeles (August 7–11) is equally thoughtful and can be seen both in the brochure you are receiving with this month’s issue and online at The program combines well-interpreted research distilled to approachable lectures, as well as “reality check,” hands-on cooking demonstrations. The curriculum is so rich and interesting that choosing your sessions may be a challenge.

A quick reminder that our IDEA Personal Trainer Institute™ West debuts in Seattle in a few weeks (May 2–5). Many sessions are filling up for this event, which has very similar programming to our Personal Trainer Institute East event. The East Coast conference has sold out every year for the last 5, so be sure to secure your sessions as soon as possible. We hope to see you there!

Yours in good health,

Kathie & Peter Davis

IDEA Fitness Journal, Volume 10, Issue 3

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© 2013 by IDEA Health & Fitness Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction without permission is strictly prohibited.

About the Authors

Peter Davis, CEO

Peter Davis, CEO IDEA Author/Presenter

Peter Davis is the chief executive officer of IDEA Health & Fitness Association.

Kathie Davis

Kathie Davis IDEA Author/Presenter

Kathie Davis is executive director of IDEA Health & Fitness Association in San Diego. She frequently reports to the media on fitness industry trends.