Fear about how to eat the right way has taken over our lives. I’m the first to admit that I have fallen prey to all of the hype. It began when I was pregnant. Will a deli sandwich really hurt my baby; will the nitrates give me cancer? Will sulfate-ridden shampoo cause hormone disruption and damage to my growing child?
After having a baby, I needed to lose the baby weight. I started to feel proud that I was making healthier choices and the weight was coming off. But were my choices healthy? I watched too much Dr. Oz, read food blogs about nutrition, listened to friends and family. It started to seem that everyone was saying something different and they all believed with great conviction that they were right.
There is the vegan camp that espouses the way to good health is by eating no animal products.
The low-carb camp followers favor fat, high protein and an animal inclusive diet that is sure to satiate the largest of appetites.
Organic eaters insist that fruits and vegetables laden with pesticides are toxic for our health and one
must avoid the dirty dozen.
Raw foodists contend that cooking steals most vital nutrients from food.
There are the grain-free, paleo people that believe we aren’t meant to digest grains of any kind.
The whole-foods/farm-to-table movement is all the rage in my community.
There is also the anti-white group (no white sugar or flour).
And there’s the just say no to GMO folks.
Some just seem to eat what tastes good. Can I be one of these please?
How do we know who is right? Is faith or lack of faith in food a new religion? Every ideology has some scientific research backing its claims. But how can everyone be right? I started to feel that anything I put in my mouth could be potentially toxic. The mass hysteria had gotten to me.
I just wanted someone to tell me how to eat. They needed to prove their path was the most virtuous. And if I chose the right path, I would be promised a life of vibrant health, free of disease and with a possibility of living to be 1000.
The reality is, most people that live on this planet don’t have the luxury of worrying about the following: Should I take a fish oil supplement? Will eating a chocolate chip cookie make me fat? Should I check to see if this milk has growth hormones before I drink it? There are hungry populations all over the world that might consume a cookie with white flour and sugar if it will keep them alive for another day.
Here’s another truth: eating the right way doesn’t guarantee a long, healthy life. All of this didactic food stuff takes us away from what may be the larger contribution to our wellness. According to Howard S. Friedman and Leslie R. Martin, authors of The Longevity Project, simply being prudent and persistent are predictors of long term health. So maybe I could choose any diet as long as I was prudent and persistent about it. There are as many ideas out there, as there are people. Time will tell who is right. One thing is for sure, regardless of what we eat, our bodies won’t last forever.
There is likely no one size fits all diet. Each individual may find that they feel healthiest eating in a way that works for them that may not work for someone else. My resolution is to try to eat nutritious and tasty food that makes me feel good when I eat it. Carrots and chocolate will both cross my lips. I’ll also try to move, love, sleep and keep my fingers crossed for another day where I feel pretty great.