My boyfriend, Matt, often laughs at me when I tell him what I’m eating is unhealthy. He thinks I’m a healthy eater. I think he is wrong. His perspective is skewed. He would happily eat pizza for every meal, every day. Granted, I almost never go for fast food and I don’t really like fried food, but carbs like pasta with sauce and cheese, pizza and chocolate are some of my favorite foods.
I’ll admit I’m pretty critical of what is healthy. If I make roast vegetables and put some shredded cheese on them I don’t think they are that healthy anymore. I tend to think only vegetables and grilled white meat is good for us. And even then there is a scale in my mind of which vegetables are the healthiest. For example, kale, because it tastes the worst, is clearly the best for you.
One day Matt actually got me to admit that kale is the only healthy thing we can eat. And then I had to stop and laugh at myself. The notion is ridiculous and not true. And why was I thinking it? I think the media is partially to blame.
If you listen to the news you’ll go crazy. One day fat is bad for you, the next day it’s good for you. Blueberries would be a super food that you can’t get enough of, but if all you ate were blueberries you’d be malnourished. Suddenly we’re supposed to be eating all these new greens like chlorella (sounds too much like cholera for my liking) and spirulina. I’m always skeptical of new fads in food, but I find myself falling into the trap and buying over-priced packets of green powder that I am meant to add to my shakes and sauces.
Someone recently told me that spinach and avocado cause inflammation (although I haven’t been able to back that up). But that would mean two foods that I thought were pretty super are pretty unsuper. You can go crazy trying to figure everything out and only eat “healthful foods.” And I’m not saying don’t try, but if you find yourself feeling more stressed the more you read about what is and isn’t healthy especially when that changes nearly every day, try going easier on yourself.
It comes down to what it always comes down to: moderation. As long as you aren’t allergic to something there is a benefit to a variety of foods. If, like me, you catch yourself with a predominately carb diet, or if you eat more fat, or more dairy and no veggies, you probably need to consider some changes. I, for example, could easily throw some broccoli into my pasta. I already through spinach in my scrambled eggs. And I could always cut back on the pasta.
Even sugar has gotten a bad reputation lately. It’s not that sugar is bad. It’s just that in our world we consume so much and it gets tucked in so many of the foods we eat. We are just getting more sugar than we need. That is the problem: our excess.
Yet, instead of talking about the real problem, we just make certain food evil. And then we feel bad if we eat them. Foods aren’t bad. Food in excess is the problem. I once knew someone who ate a bag of carrots a day. He was slightly orange. Somehow I’m guessing this wasn’t incredibly healthy even though carrots would be on the good list.
We have made most of our food bad: sugar (which sometimes includes fruit), dairy, anything containing gluten, meat (especially red meat), sweet vegetables (like corn)…
The list goes on and on. If a particular food makes you feel sick, you shouldn’t eat it, but maybe we need to remember that as long as we aren’t only consuming one type of food and that we get a mixture, we are probably on a pretty good path to eating healthfully. Let’s cut ourselves some slack so that in our fast-paced, high tech world we don’t have to feel stressed about eating.