Do you feel that you are the only person who does not eat healthy? Are you embarrassed to take out your lunch at work when everyone else’s looks so much better? Do you lie that you had this gorgeous chia-seed / kale smoothie for breakfast where in fact you ate the leftover fruit loops from your kid’s breakfast?
In my previous blog: Want to be smart? Go slow! I discussed how people working in a busy work environment are feeling rushed, and therefore stressed out. And although their workload is not necessarily overwhelming, being in a rushed environment might give the idea that their workload is larger than it is. My hypothesis is that this also might be the case with healthy eating.
Hear me out. We are completely overwhelmed with information about healthy eating. Powered by social media, anybody with an opinion can shower us with food facts in lovely bitesize snippets of information (no pun intended) without it being correct or suitable to our situation or that of our family. It makes us believe that kale is the only green food in the world (it isn’t) and quinoa is so jampacked with protein it’ll provide you with your daily dose (hm, depends how much you eat of it). So if I do not drink my kale smoothie and have a daily fix of quinoa, I must be very unhealthy, right?
Well, as a matter of fact there are a plethora of ways of healthy eating and it all depends what is healthy for you. Sure, we can safely say that the main menus of the fast restaurants are unhealthy for everybody, but if dairy does not cause you any problems like bloating or congestion, there is no reason to cut it out. There are more roads that lead to Rome and there is more than one way of eating healthy.
So what can we do to get a more realistic idea about what to eat? How do we get our power back in thinking for ourselves in terms what to put on the table?
First of all, we have to start realizing that there are no ‘food-police’. Having a ‘binge’ on some of your favourite sugary/fatty foods is not going to get you arrested nor will your good friends dump you for a night out. The same goes for eating according to a certain set of rules will not give you a participation award. Food should be enjoyable and stressing because you did not start your day with a smoothie is not going to help.
Knowing what you eat during the day can give you an idea how healthy or un-healthy your daily food intake really is. One way to take a reality check is to simply note down what you eat. Yes, there might not be a green smoothie, but that rye bread with a fried egg was pretty ok too. That way you can see where there are some gaps.
Eating according to certain rules (religious reasons excepted) is often done for the wrong reasons, or reason, namely weight-loss. We look at beautiful Instagram lifestyle pictures and look at lives we would like to have. And since these people are slim and tanned and gorgeous, we want what they have. And if that means not eating gluten / dairy / meat (* add food group of choice) that is what we will do. And yes, there are health reasons to forgo a food group, and if that is the case, make sure you ask professional advice to not run the risk of deficiencies.
Food is there to nourish us by providing us with building blocks, to restore our body after an illness. Food should be the fuel to provide the energy to run, work, enjoy, to play, to love. We consist of amino acids and we need plenty of vitamins and minerals to keep the chemical factory going, and we need real food to provide us with these building blocks. We truly are what we eat, and if we do nourish ourselves, it should be nourishing for our body, our life and not for our Instagram feed.