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Striking a Balance in Your Diet!
Where do we go from all this debate about what to eat or not to!
Fats will kill you and white rice or bread will make you put on weight! Eggs are bad for you and potatoes are a no go! Eat more vegetables and fruits. But wait a minute, vegetables and fruits might be toxic too and now fat is our friend and carbs are going to kill us. Whole grains are not good either, so go no grain.
There is too much information available and too much research and contradictory studies which continuously throw ‘new light’ on this timeless food and health issue, often negating previous findings.
Oh, but for the foregone days when we could really enjoy eating and grab food without any internal debate or guilty conscience spoiling the appetite! We fret over the sugar, fats and calories content and nutrient value of everything we buy and eat.
Are we eating our way to a new eating disorder – a kind of a compulsive disorder called orthorexia? Unlike other eating disorder, it focuses on the perceived value of the food itself rather than the amount. This concern about our ‘healthy choices’ taken to the extreme where we feel we cannot eat food or drink water, can affect our health and eventually affect our happiness and sense of well being.
Then there is the oft repeated mantra by well wishers as well as health professionals – just eat a balanced diet! What is that? It sounds important, sensible and even profound, but it tells us very little! This is because it does not explain what a balanced diet actually is. So, we interpret it according to our likes, desires and convenience. Does it mean eating a bit of everything including cakes, biscuits and junk food? What should we include in our diet and how much of it? Do we need sugar on a balanced diet aside from the all important meat, vegetables and fruits? What about snacks like crisps and nuts? To know this we need to of course study nutritional tables, our gene makeup and metabolic rates etc... Not exactly a simple thing for an everyday task!
There is also the common ‘sensible’ advice after many dieting attempts gone wrong.... ‘Eat everything but in moderation’. It means you can eat everything as long as you don’t eat too much of anything! Again, moderation by whose standards? What would be ‘too much’, ‘just right’ or ‘too little’? To a sugar lover, a bar of chocolate, a cake and an ice cream a day is moderation! To an alcoholic, a bottle of wine, and three bottles of beer a day is moderation! The reality is that to a diabetic or a gout sufferer, moderation means not consuming at all!
Where do we go from here?
Aside from all this well meant advice based on numerous studies with new and negated findings, what about our own minds and emotions? Don’t they have an important role in our decisions on what to eat? When you eat something and think it is not going to do you any good, you feel you have been ‘poisoned’ .You start feeling unwell as your mind turns it instantly against you. That’s how powerful the mind is. We need to connect with our ’gut’ wisdom. The more education and information acquired, the farther away we have gone from ourselves.
We need to listen to our own body and what it needs, crave and enjoy. We can then possibly regain the balance in our lives. Yes, we can read studies and listen to other people’s advice based on their experiences and knowledge, but with a grain of salt - or if you rather a grain of Himalayan pink salt!