Seriously, how many articles have you read on how to eat? What to eat? When to eat? Should you eat raw? Vegan? Pescetarian? Paleo? Vegetarian? Primal? FODMAP? GAPS? Mediterranean? Gluten-free? Dairy-free? Sugar-free? Oh my goodness, why does eating have to be so confusing?
I have spent what seems like a lifetime trying to figure out the "right" diet. Many years of digestive issues (I won't overshare) have left me with all kinds of questions about what will work to "fix" it. I have studied, read, researched, and ultimately graduated with a certification as a Health and Wellness Coach from the Institute of Integrative Nutrition where I spent a full year studying over 100 dietary theories. Over 100 ways to eat. And each one claimed to be the "right" one with mountains of research to back it up. The biggest takeaway from the year-long program for me was that we are all bio-individual and there is NO one size fits all way to eat for everyone.
My dear friend shared an article about the dangers of eating grains from a website that is focused on “health”. She asked what I knew about this type of diet, to which I responded that it can certainly be a godsend to those who struggle with celiac disease, or even a sensitivity or allergy to grains. On the same website was an article about the health benefits of eating grains. Hmmm....
I just read another article on the dangerous (they used the tagline "deadly") effects of a raw food diet. And yet, I know a number of very healthy people who subsist on raw food only. A massage therapist I know was able to reverse a type II pre-diabetic condition with a paleo diet, and my best friend has been able to stay off of medication for her Hashimoto's disease (a thyroid condition) with a gluten and dairy-free diet.
There are so many different ways to interpret dietary information that it can easily get overwhelming. And for those of us who have struggled with eating disorders, this information positively fuels the fire of the dis-ordered brain.
I don't mean to belittle eating disorders, or dietary plans that facilitate people's good health, or help them to stay alive! My point is that in this information saturated world that we live in, it is a good idea to spend a little time in the quiet of your own experience to see what works best FOR YOU. Yep, it's true. YOU know what is best for you if you get quiet enough to listen.
How much time do you spend in your "food rules"? "I ate this, so now I can't eat that." Or, "I ate at this time so I better not eat now." Or, "if I am THIS (paleo, vegan, etc), then I can NEVER have THAT." This is not to say that people do not have their own reasons for not eating meat, or not having gluten. Any or all of it is okay as long as the way you are eating does NOT cause stress in your life. Mental spinning about the what, when, and how to eat will not help create the life, good health, or even the body that you desire.
We look for balance in our lives by creating the solid foundation that moves us closer to our intuition. Getting still, and listening so that we make decisions that guide us towards our best life and away from patterns and behaviors that are keeping us stuck.
You are not "good" if you didn't eat the cake at the party or "bad" if you did. It's just food. Did you like the cake? Was it delicious? Did you share it in the celebration of someone or something, or maybe you just really wanted it and relished every mouthful? Did you feel okay after you ate it? Did you not eat the cake because it makes you feel ill? Then either way you took care of yourself and that is a step towards living your best life.
Listen, I am not here to preach to you about eating. What I will preach is how to love yourself and the body that you live in. And I'll preach about the pleasures of eating and bringing more mindfulness and joy into how you nourish yourself. This means that YOU get to decide what to put in it on any given day. And if what you're eating is making you feel crappy, then by all means, don't do it! Stop reading the articles, take a deep breath and ask your body what it needs. It likely doesn't need tacos in a bag, but if it does, just enjoy it and eat your avocado toast in the morning. On gluten-free bread. Or not. Find the balance that is right for you.
In your best health and with love,