Don’t Be Afraid To Eat

afraid to eat

The other day while walking down one of the aisles in the grocery store there was a traffic jam. I realized when I got through that it was caused by smart shoppers reading food labels. This, of course, is a great thing. It is so important to be an informed shopper and eater and know what is going in yours and your family’s bodies. But, it also made me think…have we lost some of the fun and enjoyment of eating because we are so worried about it? I think many of us suffer from paralysis by analysis – meaning we have gotten to the point where we over think and over complicate eating and foods until we don’t know what to eat anymore.

There is so much conflicting nutrition advice out there it is hard to know what the right foods are to eat. Should we all be eating dairy-free? Is avoiding gluten and wheat the answer to all our health problems, including obesity? Is paleo the way to go? Should we ban all sugar consumption? As a consumer and regular eater of food I know, for those who care, it is beyond confusing!

Recently after talking to a friend and answering some of her questions about nutrition she plainly asked, “So are you anti anything?” My answer…no, not really. Of course there are things that I think we should eat less of, and many more healthy foods we should eat more of. My whole philosophy with eating and food is moderation and working in healthy, whole unprocessed foods often. I lean toward the more positive approach of what foods do we need more of vs. what foods or food groups should we cut completely.

Eating should not be about restricting, deprivation, and no-this, no-that. We should enjoy food, not battle with it. Want a cupcake every once in a while? Good. Eat it and enjoy every bite, then go back to eating simple, whole good for you foods most of the time.

We need to simplify our thinking about foods and our health and go back to basics. Eating real food, cooking more often at home instead of eating out, drinking water instead of tons of calories in sweetened drinks, relying on food for our nutrition instead of pseudo-food (like bars and gels) and vitamin supplements, and moving more.

It is important to base what you eat on real, research-based information and not just on someone’s advice who decides to write a book, the latest fad, or hearsay. There is so much information out there. Be careful who you get your nutrition and exercise advice from. Make sure it is a reputable source. Of course, Registered Dietitians are a great resource.

Here are just a few other reputable resources where you can go to find evidence-supported information about health and nutrition:
Berkeley Wellness:  http://www.berkeleywellness.com/
Nutrition Action Healthletter: https://www.cspinet.org/nah/
Harvard School of Public Health, The Nutrition Source:   http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/
Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics:  http://www.eatright.org/
USDA: http://www.choosemyplate.gov/

It’s truly not about extremes, deprivation, and the next fad.  We need to work on making peace with food.  Taking it meal-by-meal, day-by-day, making healthier choices in the foods we eat and moving our bodies more.  Not quite as exciting as the latest fad that everyone is talking about, but in the long run,  I promise, it is what works!