Everywhere we look we are inundated with food and health articles, opinions, do’s and don’ts. They clog up our news feed, newspapers, magazines and leave us wondering if how we eat is “good” or “bad”. I have seen many nutritionists and dieticians saying “there is no such thing as good food and bad food, it is all about moderation”. Hmmph. This is so not cool as in many people's minds this validates that they can eat whatever they like "in moderation".
For starters what defines moderation? This is completely and utterly subjective. For me, a French pastry every 3 months or so is moderation, to Joe down the road one French pastry for breakfast every weekend is moderation. By saying “it is all about moderation” it is impossible to actually determine a healthy diet.
So who is right when it comes to your diet? The answer is you. But, and this is a big but, YOU are responsible for finding out what makes you FEEL good. It takes time, it takes commitment and it takes honesty. When you start feeling at a cellular level instead of at a “mind” level, you will encounter subtleties in your health. I always recommend using a food journal. Write down everything you eat and drink (ideally for 4 weeks), write down your mood throughout the day, any digestive, skin, immunity issues, anxiety, low mood, low libido, tiredness, sluggishness, ANYTHING that doesn’t leave you feeling awesome. I am not saying we should feel awesome all the time, kudos to anyone who does, I am wanting to reach out and tell you that we CAN feel awesome most of the time. There will always be external factors and extenuating circumstances that can leave us feeling much, much less than awesome, but food really does contribute immensely to how our body and mind looks and feels. It is a matter of tuning in and listening.
Once you have your food journal underway you can start to pinpoint different foods that leave you feeling a little worse for wear. Once these have been established, remove them from your diet temporarily for a further 4 weeks, then slowly introduce them individually and see how you feel. You will soon know if you should permanently remove the food from your life. This can be a hard break up, I know, I have been there too. About 6 months ago I gave up legumes, I never really ate many, but I enjoyed them, my body did not. Anyway, we had three cans of beans that have been ignored for the past few months, now one of our favourite dishes is sautéing butter beans with butter, lemon juice and sage, so we decided to use them up for lunch on the weekend. I knew it was a bad idea. I did it anyway. Oh the pain, the crippling gut pain I experienced that evening. NEVER again.
Even if the changes are slow to happen every change is a giant leap into embracing your whole health. I know it can be tricky in families as not everyone can eat the same foods, but what an amazing opportunity to discuss healthy food, to get your kids involved with working out what foods nourish them and what foods break them down. There may be a valid reason they don’t like brussel sprouts or struggle to eat a large hunk of steak. Use these opportunities to guide your children through the process of knowing their own bodies, AND feeling comfortable to say “no” if a food does not sit right with them.
I encourage you to set a date, start journalling and “find your food groove”.
Feel free to share your experiences in the comments, I love to hear about peoples food journeys!