22 Oct Food is not a moral dilemma
You wake up in the morning and reach for your phone. You open Facebook and someone has shared an article about the keto diet. Then you get up and turn on the TV to hear Kochie and Sam talking about some celebrity’s intermittent fasting weight loss secrets. Then, on the way to the train station you walk by the newsagency with a magazine talking about a different celebrity’s low fat diet. Thennn, on the train you’re scrolling through Instagram and see someone post about their newly adopted vegan diet. You flick past it and the next post is a different person raving about paleo food. THENNNN when you get to work, Cheryl in accounting tells you how she’s gone gluten free…then Jan the secretary chimes in and raves about how she’s avoiding dairy.
Any of this sound familiar? Hey ladies and gents, it’s Nina (aka student nutritionist and friendly front-of-desk). In this day and age, we’re so bombarded with mixed messages about what foods are ‘good’ and ‘bad’ for us. What ones will make us ‘skinny’. And how this is the secret to pure happiness and bliss. When, in reality, all it does is usually make us feel overwhelmed and demotivated. Well, my friends, I’m here to let you know that it doesn’t have to be this way.
Food should never make you feel overwhelmed, demotivated, anxious or sad. It shouldn’t make you feel like you’re a bad person, like you’ve failed, or leave you fearful of eating. Food is here to NOURISH you…to give you the nourishment and energy you need so that you can enjoy this beautiful thing called life. Food should be fun and it should be enjoyed! Understandably, however, this can be hard when there are so many mixed messages from the media and confusion from what certain family members/friends/colleagues/etc are doing. My advice is to take a step back from it all, go back to basics, and truly tune in to and listen to your body. How do you do this, you might ask? Here’s what I suggest.
Eat with Mother Nature
Mother Nature is pretty clever…she invented the foods that’s that we’re designed to thrive on and that nourish us the most. So, eat food as close to its natural form as possible. Fruits, veggies, wholegrains, legumes, nuts, seeds, unprocessed meats, etc. A simple way to go about doing this is shopping from the outskirts of the supermarket where you’ll find fresh produce, meat, etc. (As opposed to the middle aisles where the packaged/processed products are).
Don’t Aim for ‘Perfection’
There’s no such thing as ‘perfect’, and aiming to have a perfect diet is impossible if you ask me. People often fall into the habit of labelling certain foods as ‘bad’ and attempting to completely avoid them. This tends to cause all sorts of fears and anxieties…and notions such as ‘guilty pleasures’ (is it really pleasurable if it makes you feel guilty?). It also often results in completely devouring these ‘bad’ foods later on down the track. Instead, why not simply think of these foods as foods to be enjoyed from time to time. And don’t feel bad when you do eat them! Remember…food should make you feel good and happy.
There is no ‘One Size Fits All’
As with many other aspects of life, when it comes to food what works for you will be completely different to what works for your best friend/mum/auntie/Beyonce/etc. This is what it boils down to. Don’t get distracted by what someone else is doing, truly tune into yourself and ask what feels best for you at that moment in time. Do you feel like that piece of toast? Then have it and enjoy it. Do you feel like that coffee on your way to work? Then drink it and enjoy it. Do you feel like that slice of cake at your cousin’s birthday? Then eat it and enjoy it (and if you actually don’t want it, don’t feel guilty for saying no). Health isn’t uniform or linear, nor is nutrition. Really notice how your body feels around certain foods, and use that as a cue about what’s best for YOU!
And please, remember…
Food is not a moral dilemma. You are not ‘good’ or ‘bad’ for the food choices you make, and foods aren’t ‘good’ or ‘bad’ either. Nor is food the enemy. It’s not here to scare you, make you feel shame, make you anxious or worried or guilty. Food is your friend. It’s this incredible amazing thing that’s here to nourish your body and soul, give you energy, sustain you, and allow you to experience this pretty awesome thing we call life.
Food is about nourishment and love. Think about food across time and cultures. It’s an expression of love…birthday and wedding cakes, cooking for a loved one when someone close to them passes away, food on altars. Let’s continue this tradition and express love every time we eat. Eat because you love yourself, your body, your mind and your soul. Next time you eat something (no matter what it is) remove all judgement and truly enjoy it!
If you have any questions or would like to book an appointment with me as a student nutritionist (all treatments are fully supervised by Daniela), please feel free to email me at [email protected] or book here. I’d love to hear from you! Nina x