Do you ever notice what other people eat?
The other day while I was traveling, I took notice of how ‘normal’ the eating habits of the two women I was with were.
I don’t know about you, but most of the health conscious and fit women I know have so many ‘rules’ around what they can and can’t eat.
It was surprising (and refreshing), to see them grabbing a muffin or a bagel to munch on during our conference, and ordering a gourmet burger and fries for dinner without a second thought. They also ordered plenty of salads during our trip and other healthy options. What I was most impressed by, was that they really and truly appeared to be able to eat with freedom. Choosing food based on a combination of what they felt like at the time, what was going to make their body feel nourished, and also what was available.
It got me thinking about the ‘food rules’ we have, especially as women, and how many of them stem from the latest ‘research’ on what does or doesn’t make you fat.
Remember the fast and furious disappearance of The Great Canadian Bagel company when the Atkins diet first gained popularity? I was just a young teen when I learned one of my first ‘dieting’ rules; “Eating a bagel is like eating a loaf of bread”. Sometimes I still hear that rule echo in my head. The difference is, now I recognize where that voice comes from.
It’s the voice of disordered eating. When we create rules, we create disorder in our minds and bodies.
It started with ‘carbs’ being bad, but gluten entering the spotlight is probably the latest major ‘rule’ we’ve created for ourselves. Don’t get me wrong – there are legitimate reasons behind why many health & nutrition experts agree gluten is not great for you, and why as a family we mostly avoid it in our daily food choices.
But when do the lines between health consciousness and disordered eating become blurred?
If you’ve read my story, you’ll understand why I’m especially susceptible to the food rule trap. So part of my mental self care is to constantly be assessing what stories my brain is making up when it comes to the food choices I’m making and the food choices others make around me.
I try to balance being healthy and caring for my body properly, by cleansing and juicing periodically, and choosing smoothies and big hearty salads whenever possible. I do these things because my body THRIVES when I choose nutrient dense foods. My energy is higher, I sleep better, I’m happier, and my digestive system feels great.
But I also intentionally have to eat foods that break the ‘rules’ on a regular basis, just to force myself to fight that disordered mentality.
Did you know that many experts are calling ‘clean eating’ the new eating disorder? I naturally gravitated to the clean eating rules, especially after I became a mama. And it’s been so beneficial for our health! But we need to remain clear on what healthy eating is, and what it isn’t.
In this body image obsessed world, we need to perpetually cultivate a mindset of balance and normalcy.
And especially if we have kids (most especially, if we have girls) who are watching what we do and do not put on our plates.
My daughter is gluten intolerant and gets red, itchy rashes when she eats it regularly. I try to empower her to make the choice not to eat gluten based on her own desire not to have those symptoms, and for the most part she does! But if we’re at a birthday party, and she wants to have the same cupcake the other kids are having, I leave the choice completely up to her. Sometimes she’ll choose the cupcake, sometimes she’ll pass.
We need to empower our kids to make choices around food that aren’t just black or white. Why we eat what we eat has so very many facets.
For me, when it comes down to it, healthy eating is:
- Having no sense of stress or anxiety around the food that you eat.
- Choosing foods based on nutritional value and how they make you feel physically, rather than making rule-based choices.
- Shifting and flowing with circumstance, and being able to choose less nutritious foods when you feel like a treat, or when options are limited, without a second thought.
They help with digestion of proteins, fats, complex carbohydrates, sugars, and fiber, and supports the body’s production of enzymes which are critical for healthy digestion of nutrients and cellular metabolism of nutrients to energy.
You can reach me through my contact page if you’d like to learn more, or purchase some of the essential oils and digestive supplements I rely on.
Because above all, just like Danielle LaPorte says, “Feeling good is the primary intention”.
We want to feel good in our minds, hearts, and tummies about the food we eat. And when SO many people don’t, something has to change.
Change starts with awareness. We can’t change something we aren’t willing to recognize. What rules do you have around food?
Join me in my mission to abolish the rules we’ve created. Let’s get back to supporting our bodies as the vehicles they are, feeding them the fuel they need to run well, and enjoying food as one of life’s beautiful pleasures.