Every decade there are big changes when it comes to what’s healthy and what’s not. Fats for example, were given a such a bad rep in the 80’s + 90’s, that many of us still feel weary about consuming them. Now, it’s seems as though we’ve moved onto shunning the food group known as carbohydrates. Gluten-free in particular, has become a phenomenon -as there are entire sections of grocery stores dedicated just to GF cookies, cakes, cereals, chips, and other corn or rice (with often lots of sugar) containing “health” foods.
It seems that every new, super, cure-all food is bound to plummet in popularity eventually. The more “super” the food, the more it seems likely to suffer for that very fact in the end. The opposite seems true as well. Take butter for example, we were once told to avoid it like the plague; it would clog our arteries, raise ‘bad’ cholesterol, and could even lead to heart attacks. Now, it’s a totally different story. Butter is hailed a new super food, with health promoting, fat burning, feel-good-chemical-creating, energy promoting properties.
I for one, couldn’t agree more with the “new” take on fats and feel that as a society we’ve all felt the backlash from removing fats from all our foods. We were told to drink skim milk, eat 0% fat yogurt, and order omelettes made only from the whites of the egg.
One of the many problems associated with this, is that when you remove the fat, you remove the flavour. You’re left with bland, boring, barely satiating, fat-free foods, which hardly satisfy us.
Personally, I think moderation is the key to it all. I also think eating real food plays a big part. There are over 56 different diets in North American today, and here’s the thing, they’re all TOTALLY different. Could that be any more confusing!
Atkins (aka “The Bacon Diet”) encouraged us to eat all the meat, fat and protein we desire, but here’s the catch: you could never touch a carb. Don’t even think about it.
Then, there’s programs like Weight Watchers, which counts all those calories. Seems sensible enough. Not until you come to your senses and realize that not all calories are created equal.
Take an avocado and an ice cream cone for example. These are both calorie rich foods, BUT the avocado if full of energy promoting, nutrient-rich calories (fat, protein, magnesium, iron, not to mention lots of fiber and chlorophyll), while the ice cream offers only “EMEPTY” calories, full of refined sugar, ultra-pasteurized dairy and most likely pink food colouring #3, 7 + 8.
See where I’m going with this?
When you avoid a certain food group all together (i.e. fats or carbs), you’ll go crazy with desire for the very thing you’re told you can NEVER have. So I say, go ahead -enjoy a piece of bread if that’s what does it for ya. I personally love rye and spelt fermented sourdoughs, and allow myself to enjoy them every once in a while.
My take on indulgences, is to improve the quality. This way you can still enjoy the things you crave but they’ll be way better for you. They’re will always be the moderation factor, which can feel like a rather steep, and life long learning curve. As human beings, it’s easier to be all or nothing, Finding that beautiful “balance” in all aspects of life can sometimes feel like a work in progress. But that’s ok!
I strive to take my clients to a place where they’re on track 75-80% of the time. Then, they have a little wiggle room for being human, which will likely include the occasional late night snack on the sofa, or weekend cocktails with friends. Whatever your indulgence of choice may be.
My hope is that this sheds a little light on the daunting world of food, health and nutrition. What it really comes down to is that there’s no RIGHT answer, just go with what feels the best for YOU.