We’ve all come across that person, the one who is offended if they are offered food they think is not “clean” enough. Is it organic? Is it gluten free? How fresh is it? Is it free-range? It can get so bad that it can turn into an eating disorder. In fact, there is a term for it now: orthorexia. I knew there had to be a word for this! I stumbled upon an article about orthorexia: http://www.ocregister.com/articles/eating-634515-food-people.html.
One could argue the whole clean food industry is out of control. If you host some sort of event where you serve food, you are considered insensitive if you do not provide accommodations that fit the gamut of “clean” eaters: vegetarian, vegan, gluten free, paleo, etc.
I’m still recovering from the notion bread is bad for you. How is something in one of the (now obsolete) four food groups bad for you? It seems there is always a new report, scientific study or finding by a food blogger about some new superfood. On the flip side, we suddenly find some food previously thought to be good is now bad.
How in the world are we supposed to keep track? To really keep up with it all, you have to make it not just your hobby, but your life. This can cause even more anxiety in our already anxiety-ridden world.
Of course, we all want to be and eat healthier, especially as we age. While I appreciate all the people who do the hard work and research for us, sometimes I just want to eat! We live in an era with unprecedented access to information. The problem is, there is too much information out there, and so much of it is conflicting.
So what do we do?
We do what we can without stressing out about it. The amount of stress and anxiety caused by trying to eat clean and sorting through the plethora of research involved can counteract all the healthy foods you end up choosing.
Here are three simple ideas to help you with healthy eating: moderation, balance, and meal enjoyment.
Too much of anything can and will kill you. People have died from drinking too much water. Did you know that 100% oxygen is toxic? Even too much of the basic elements of life can kill you. No matter how good something is for us, we should always take it in moderation.
This is especially true for superfoods. I have no doubt they are good for us. I enjoy kale, chia seeds, berries, and quinoa as much as the next guy. Does this mean I should be eating those things every day? Absolutely not. There are enough superfoods out there to mix it up from day to day.
Aside from not varying your nutritional intake, the main problem with eating the same foods every day (superfood or not) is it magnifies the negative effects they may have, even if we don’t know about them yet. Imagine if 20 years from now, studies show that eating 100 pounds of chia seeds over your lifetime makes your brain explode!
Vary your foods. It doesn’t have to be elaborate, and you don’t have to be a nutritionist to do this. It can be as simple as balancing color, hardness, even temperature:
If you have too much brown food (meat), add some green, yellow and red to your plate. If you have too much mushy food, add some more hearty foods. If you have all raw foods (salad), make sure you have cooked foods.
Foods all have their own temperatures. That is why a watermelon “tastes cold” even when it hasn’t been refrigerated. It’ll be good to balance meals by considering their natural “temperatures.” Talk to your Acupuncturist about balancing your foods based on their temperature-related properties.
Yes, this may be an over-simplified approach, but it is an easy way to make sure you are varying your nutritional intake.
I would even go so far as saying everybody should eat unhealthy food once in a while, just to make sure your body’s toxin elimination process stays honest. So it may be good for our bodies to give ourselves a day of reward every once in a while, i.e. fat days!
Enjoy your meals
In today’s society, we all tend to eat in front of our computers at work, eat in front of the TV or eat with our eyes glued to our smart phones. All these things stimulate our minds at a time when our minds should be at ease. This is especially bad when we watch or read about stress or anxiety causing news. The result? Indigestion!
Even too much conversation about our everyday stresses, such as how your business is struggling, can give you indigestion. So when a loved one asks you, “How was your day?” at the dinner table, stick to the light and positive stuff. Save the negative, stressful stuff for later. It is best to eat in peace, and enjoy your company.
Avoiding distractions during your meal will allow you to focus more on your food. You will chew more thoroughly and carefully. Harmonious eating will lead to harmonious digestion.
If you can afford the time to research, or the money to hire a nutritionist, you are likely to create a detailed road map to healthier eating. At the very least, do a little research and educate yourself. In the meantime, if you want simplicity in your diet while still trying to eat healthy, just follow the three things I mentioned: moderation, balance, and meal enjoyment.