Look around you – do you see anyone who resembles you? Some of us are tall, some short, some fat and some thin, some have curly hair, some have straight hair. To continue that question: do you expect anyone else to have the exact same internal environment as you? The same hormone balances, the same gastrointestinal health, the same metabolism of food? No, of course not! So, in this day and age, why are we all trying to eat the same diet (low carb, high fat, etc) and expecting the same results? We seemed to have lost the individual approaches to health in this era of commercial food production and bombardment by various forms of dietary media, all persuasively telling us the best way to eat.
Also, if you are following an extreme diet, ask yourself: “How long can and will I be able to keep this up?” A diet should be sustainable for five years, ten years or a lifetime; otherwise you might as well give it up now.
Even though I promote a natural, whole foods diet, and even though I know exactly what is good for me to eat and what is not, I can’t be (and don’t want to be) perfect all the time. If you eliminate everything that you know is not good for you, you impose a strong degree of rigidity on yourself and this makes you an extremely unhealthy person. This type of rigidity can make you unhappy and take away so much joy from your life. If you have to eat foods that you don’t like for your specific diet or feel that you can’t truly interact in life because of your dietary rigidity, know that something’s got to change!
If you eat good quality food most of the time, you should allow yourself indulgences from time to time, just try to be mindful of what you eat so that you savour every bite.
In addition, part of health is pleasure. If we deprive ourselves of our favourite foods or feel we cannot (or should not) share a celebration meal with our friends and family because of the food being served, it affects our health. Stressing about eating is counterproductive to our health.
How can I go about today to make sure I savour every bite of the good quality and not so good quality food? Eat mindfully. Rather than eating in front of the TV, at your desk, or in your car, take time to enjoy your meal. A great way to slow it down is to eat with your non-dominant hand or with chopsticks. You can also try putting down your fork in between bites. Take the time to chew your food which will help slow down the meal process and aid your digestion. Think about what you are eating and the process it went through to get to your plate. Experience the food from your five senses— taste, touch, sound, smell, and sight. Does the food taste bitter, sweet, sour, or salty? Is the texture smooth or crunchy? When you pay attention to the sensation of eating a meal and think about what you are eating, you are more likely to want to make healthy choices.