*Sigh* Food has gotten to be such a complicated thing. It makes me rather sad, to be honest. I love food. I mean…I. love. food. Sometimes I think I love food too much. It really is my passion. I love to learn about food and nutrition, experiment with new ingredients, try new ways of preparing this or that, and spend much of my free time reading cookbooks for pleasure – er, for research. Seriously, I think that I enjoy the learning more than the eating. But that part’s not so bad either.
What I don’t love about food is how complicated and controversial it has become. People have very strong opinions in the food world, right? On one level, I get it. I do too. Everyone eats. Even those who don’t consider themselves foodies or health nuts still have strong opinions. Conventional vs. organics. Vegan, vegetarian, paleo, flexitarian. GMO vs. non-GMO-verified. Food allergies, sensitivities, intolerances. This food is “toxic”, that food is secretly making you fat, lethargic, and causing you headaches! The things that “they” say are healthy are really the things killing Americans! Holy crap. Just stop already.
It’s enough to make a woman crazy. Here’s a thought – maybe there are many ways to be healthy. Maybe one size doesn’t fit all. Maybe what you need and I need aren’t exactly the same. And maybe there’s a safe, healthy, basic pattern of eating that WILL lead most people to healthier, longer, more joyful lives. What if we focus on that? What if we decide to ignore the hype and negativity? What if we decide to take back our health and our food and refuse to give in to the guilt that someone else is trying to feed us about our food choices? What about that?
Here’s what I shared on my Instagram feed today: “I meet with so many people steeped in guilt about what they aren’t doing “right” when it comes to eating. Often they are so confused they’re paralyzed and overwhelmed by what they are being told by media, social influencers, and even (sometimes so called) health professionals. If what you’re being told makes it harder for you to eat without anxiety, guilt and fear; makes it harder to enjoy food alone or with others; and takes an exorbitant amount of your resources (time or money), it’s time to re-evaluate. A healthy lifestyle, including healthy eating, should enhance and improve your life, not be a burden.”
If what you’re doing isn’t working, it’s time to start again. Take a deep breathe. Don’t give up. Just start again with real, non-judgemental, realistic, supportive expectations. I’m here to help. There are lots of other great registered dietitian nutritionists, physicians, counselors, and other who can too. If you’re struggling alone or the folks you’re working with or following aren’t helping, maybe it’s time to take a step back. I’m not here to diagnose your illness or provide treatment, so know that I’m not advocating that you abandon medical advice. Yet, there’s a lot of misinformation out there. Trust your gut and know that you don’t have to be weighed down by the guilt. xo