On Being Healthy: Trusting your Gut
It seems these days that I can't simply scroll through a lifestyle/fashion blog (or two....or three) without seeing an endless stream of "How to Eat Healthier", "This is the SUPER FOOD you need to be eating, like yesterday!" and "Why you should cut this out of your diet and do this thing that *I* do instead."
It's mind-boggling, and the worst part is that no matter where you look you're bound to find an endless amount of conflicting information. Well she says that eating rich and nutrient dense food is good for you (because, Paris, duh) but they say that only eating organic and plant-based is the key to happiness (and good health or something). So....who do you trust? What do you listen to? And better still, how do you emulate it?
Brace yourselves...this is revolutionary.
Trust your gut.
While I mean that literally, I also mean it figuratively. YOU know what's best for you, especially after you take into consideration things like lifestyle, religion, disease or disability-related issues, allergies, your own personal tastes, money and time, etc.
We can't all blow an hour every morning to make the most delicious and epic looking smoothie bowl - and some of us certainly can't afford it - and that's okay! We shouldn't feel ashamed of that. Those who have the time, energy, and resources to eat like that should go ahead and do so if that's what feels right to them, but no one has any business shaming others for only doing what they are able.
Not everyone can have a super lean, plant-based diet either - there are so many food allergies present in the world and believe it or not, some of the most basic vegan ingredients are common food allergies. It just doesn't make sense to tell someone who is allergic to nuts, legumes, olive oil, garlic, AND spinach to eat vegan. And if this is you, please don't impose such a strict diet on yourself, either. Having allergies shouldn't stop you from enjoying food, so you have that beef stroganoff dammit!
Personal Story Time.
I've been struggling with disordered eating for a long time. I contend with a lot of stress, anxiety and depression and when I was trapped in a three-year abusive relationship my attitudes toward food changed drastically. I stopped eating - it was the one thing in my environment that I could influence. I could feel the most intense of hunger pains and tell myself, "No, you won't eat." Because it was the one thing I knew I had sole control of in my life at that time.
And it messes you up. I haven't had a healthy relationship with food since. I often find myself skipping meals, a lot of things that I used to love eating make me sicker than a dog now, and when I'm dealing with a lot of stress I jump straight back into self-starvation mode. It's a process...but I have come a long way.
But the point I'm trying to make here is that even *if* I had the funds to devote to a super healthy, organic, and veggie laced diet, mentally I might not be able to commit. And what would be the point, really, if the only time I eat healthy is that one day a week when I can force myself to? Isn't it better, if all I eat for five days is a handful of crackers once a day vs one bag of carrots for the entire week?
My significant other is on the Autism spectrum. He has a serious beef (har har - pun intended) with the taste and texture of most vegetables. If it's leafy, green, orange, or crunchy - he won't touch it. It doesn't matter how I cook it or what I serve it in. And that makes cooking for us as a live-in couple a challenge sometimes.
Luckily, I like Korean bulgogi and rice just as much as he does, and pasta is always an easy choice. Is it always the most healthy of food choices? No, but at least we fuel our bodies and that's better than not.
The point I'm trying to make (however convoluted it's gotten...) is that you should trust yourself when it comes to your health and how you eat. Trust your body to know what it wants and don't push yourself to eat stuff you don't like or have a hard time consuming, because it will mess you up and lemme tell you - disordered eating is not a "healthy" lifestyle. What you put into your body shouldn't be a chore that stresses you out. You shouldn't max out your credit card to buy groceries that a blogging nutritionist wouldn't scoff at. You don't need to feel compelled to keep up with all the super foods currently trending, because in the next five years someone is going to decide they weren't that good for us anyways....
So as your new self-proclaimed nutrition guru, I have three rules for you to follow:
1.) Listen to YOUR body.
2.) Eat what it needs.
3.) Enjoy your food.
Pretty darn simple.