I know there are some people out there who identify so entirely with their food lifestyle that they not only must share with everyone in the room, they also imply a weird sense of superiority if you aren’t on the same page. You know, like the mom raising an eyebrow at me while I let my 6 month old lick frosting off my finger from the giant sheet cake in the room. The mom went on and on about what her little one did and did not like and what they did and did not allow her to have, naming all the toxic ingredients in processed foods and the dangers of sugar, all the while seemingly perplexed at why her three year old daughter was shooting daggers at her hummus sandwich (she usually loves hummus!) as the other kids ate cake.
Now you, reader, are a grown adult. If you love your cupcakes and ramen, then eat your cupcakes and ramen! The thing is, the crap that a steady diet of cupcakes and ramen does to your system isn’t going to change just because you would prefer it that way. For example: soda is toxic. It just is, people. Not only does it inhibit weight loss and increase weight gain, it’s been linked to so many diseases it’s ridiculous. But if you really like your Diet Dr Pepper, then drink your Diet Dr Pepper. You don’t have to feel guilty or shamed by it, just understand the risk and make your decision with your eyes open. Don’t try to justify it, either, with “Well, I had OJ at breakfast so I can have my soda now and be fine.” Nope. It’s still toxic poison. Own it and move on. I’m not about shaming or guilt-ing anyone about their food choices-but I’m not about lying about its effect on your body just so you feel better about your choice. Alcohol is a poison and I consume it on occasion knowing this. I’ve got my big girl panties on, I’m ok with it.
Nutrition is just one reason why we eat food. Pleasure is a big reason for eating food, and so is social companionship. They are ALL valid reasons for food. Now, I like feeling energetic and healthy and not have as many annoying headaches and weird spells of foggy headed lethargy, so for me the cutting out preservatives and processed foods has made a difference and continues to do so. It is totally worth it for me. But you know what else is totally worth it? Sharing birthday cake with my boys. Licking cookie batter. Cheese fries with friends. I don’t do those things frequently, and even my “unhealthy” choices are getting healthier because my taste is changing and I’ve become a lightweight when it comes to processed sugar, but I do them, and I enjoy every last minute. I don’t have “cheat days” or “cheat meals”, this is a lifestyle choice. I choose to eat birthday cake with gusto and guilt free-just not everyday.
I would challenge you to keep track of what you eat for a couple of days. Read a few labels. Do some google searches on some of those preservatives that have health nuts up in arms. You might be surprised with how much unhealthy stuff you consume without realizing it. The first step is knowledge. This isn’t about a diet to get you to squeeze into a pair of skinny jeans, it’s about making intentional decisions about what you’re eating and enjoying your life-and food!- in the process.