How do you describe your relationship with food? Healthy? A happy marriage of nourishment and pleasure? It’s complicated? If your idea of nutrition has led to a fractured relationship that resembles a punishing, guilt-ridden maze of confusion and frustration, I am here to help you.
We count calories, guilt trip our way to the skim milk (or is that really just water?), diet, take supplements up the wazoo (I just like saying wazoo. Ha!), read up on the latest fads, buy the fortified cereal and omega-3-enhanced eggs, low fat, sugar-free snacks, beat ourselves up over indulging in an occasional slice -or two- of cake, punish ourselves with food restrictions, skip meat, cut out dairy, try a detox if you can survive that long without real sustenance hey should we go vegan and what is really so dang special about kale??? All in the name of health, each meal is a chore and we wonder if will ever get it all right. Nutrition is a diet to be tried, a food to eliminate, a rule to be enforced. And this makes me sad. Really sad. Because this is not how it should be.
Do you want to believe your health is an achievable state of being that is simpler than you might think? I want you to think of food as something to be enjoyed. Say that word with me right now: “Enjoy.” Yay! You did it. And we will only enjoy food when we understand what real food is and what it should mean to us. Think about it, what God created is pretty awesome. We are given a plethora of foods to nourish our body, taste great (eat the full fat cheese, I dare you) enrich, energize, heal, as well as use to celebrate and connect with others. How cool is that? Now are you feeling a little better? I hope so. Throw a dinner party.
Throughout human history until modern times, people ate what they could find. There were no factories, supermarkets, food pyramids, donuts, cheese puffs, or cream soda. (Gasp! How did they survive? By eating actual food. See where I’m going with this?) Add a dose of traditional knowledge and ancient wisdom, and just plain common sense to your nutrition arsenal, and you are off to a good start. Your body will thank you. I hope you love food. Just learn to love the right kinds, and they will love you. Food is great.
I can, and probably will, write a separate piece concerning nutrition myths, but the foundation to good health is this: Push aside modern packaged, mass marketed, commercialized, fortified, hyped-up “foods” and eat only the real stuff, in a form as close to nature as possible. There, you’ve just taken the first step, maybe I’d say leap, to a healthier life. Food is your friend. So smile at your meal of roast beef and whole, salted, buttered veggies, take a bite and be satisfied. And I wish you well on your road to harmony and happiness with your dinner plate. Please pass me that kale.
(In actuality, I do like kale in a salad. There is just something about its arguably unjustifiable celebrity-like status that makes it a fun target for mockery. And don’t even get me started on kale chips.)