If there is one thing we all have in common, it is that we need food to survive. Yet if there is one topic that gets us seriously riled up, it is food, what we should eat and how. The options are endless when it comes to what diet we should eat, and we can mistakenly use our food to define ourselves. I am Paleo, Vegan, Vegetarian, Sugar free…
Ultimately, the end goal is the same. We all want to feel good and live our best life, and while millions of people around the world are wondering where their next bite will even come from, we’re getting caught up in whether our salmon is wild caught from pure Alaskan waters and has the perfect fat ratios.
Let’s all take a breath and chill out!
In our Western Society, we have such an abundance of food, and on a daily basis we have contradictory nutritional advice being thrown at us by experts. Confusing much?! Pair this abundance of food and choice, with our complex bodies, and it is simply impossible for one expert to devise a way of eating that is perfect for every unique body!
If someone reaches the point where they want to change the way they are eating, it is very often fuelled by the fact that they are feeling some sort of dis-ease, from digestive issues, to mood instabilities to allergic reactions. If they then find a way of eating that improves these issues, it is only natural that they want to shout it from the rooftops, define it, give it a label and a hashtag, and tell every person they know just what they did to feel so fantastic!!
The only problem is, our bodies are such complex entities that rely on such an array of hormones and chemical reactions, all triggered by different things, that what works well and makes one person feel great, may not work for the next.
Labelling a diet encourages us to think of foods as good or bad, which can be unproductive when we are all working towards the same goal, a healthy body and mind. A notion of blame and guilt creeps in when a rigid set of rules is given to a diet. For example, I eat in a way that, to some would mimic a Paleo diet. In reality, I just eat a balanced, nutrient rich and unprocessed diet most of the time, because that is how I get my body to run efficiently and feel great, not because I’m following someone else’s rules.
If I enjoy the occasional piece of (Paleo forbidden!!) birthday cake, and if I identify as being Paleo, negative connotations begin to arise with words like cheat, or treat, or falling off the wagon. But the truth is, I haven’t acted in any unethical way. I’m not a dog and so would rather not treat myself with food, and, well, I have no wagon to fall off, I’ve simply enjoyed a piece of cake. These negative thought patterns have a deeper impact on our minds than they do on our bodies, and the interesting thing is that we are listening!
The way we eat needs to be individually experiential. What works for me may not work for you and that is fine. The best we can do is live by example, respect and be mindful our bodies, and be content with our choices. The choices you make need to be made with only you and your physical and mental well-being in mind. Eating a well-balanced, natural diet will result in long term, sustainable health So if you do run into the inevitable, and somewhat accusatorial question like ‘why are you eating that?’, or ‘why aren’t you eating this?, it is completely acceptable to simply explain that you eat exactly what your body needs, when your body needs it. It’s about self-love…who could argue with that!
Article by Kathryn Simons – Founder of Body Kinect