I’m still baffled at how complicated food has become for us as a culture.
The other day I was sitting in my friends home, speaking to a family whose kid I was about to watch for a week and they were running over their child’s disease with me– sickle cell.
After they finished giving me the 101 on sickle cell and what I should look out for, they asked me to tell them a little bit about myself. I clammed up for a second. Why is it so hard to tell people about me? Well, I started off with the obvious; I was a stay-at-home mom and then blurted out that I was trying to build a small business through my food blog to help support my family.
When I tell most people that I am a food blogger, they look at me like I’m crazy. I’m already used to people thinking I’m crazy because I give my son raw milk to drink, that my son has no idea what McDonald’s is or has only had a lollipop twice in his whole (almost) 3 years of life and that I advocate for non-GMO foods so I’m sort of already used to that look.
But surprisingly, the father probed a little more by asking me what kind of food I blog about and before you knew it, we were both talking about how we’d love to have backyard chickens, grow our own food and live a more self-sustainable life.
He told me they are proactively trying to figure out what kind of food lifestyle they should take but “don’t know because there are so many different lifestyles and it’s overwhelming.”
Why is food so complicated these days anyway? Well, besides tons of misconstrued studies and data floating around, I personally think that many of the “fad” diets don’t help. We are an “all or nothing” type culture and it really sucks that we have to be held to some sort of extreme or we are not eating “healthy.”
Why can’t we just eat food and embrace it? Why are we forced to believe it’s either this “type” of eating or death? And believe it or not, science compared every diet and the winner is… Real food! Read more about this here.
But, Loriel, isn’t death a little… extreme?
Absolutely it is! But so are fad diets! I mean think about. There are tons of die hard foodies that are strictly one way or the highway and if you are on the highway, then you are a bad person.
“Oh, you don’t juice?” Shame on you.
“You eat cooked food?” Shame on you, twice.
“Don’t you know humans are the only species that drink milk from another species after they wean?” Shame on you, three times for drinking dairy.
“Gluten? Don’t you know that will kill you?” Well, now I’m not sure if I can associate with you.
“You feed your family red meat? Psh, you might as well hand your family cancer on a platter. Vegetarian and lean meats are the ONLY way to go.” Now, I REALLY am not going to be your friend.
Come on guys! Instead of beating each other up and making people more confused, more overwhelmed, and throwing more guilt on them, let’s support each other and praise one another for small steps in the right direction. Instead of focusing on a “one way or the highway” food approach, let’s focus on balance and moderation.
Food is a huge part of our lives and I’m tired of fad diets and the way they make people feel. We shouldn’t make people feel guilty if they decide to eat red meat, drink cow milk, eat grains, eat butter, or eat a freaking chocolate bar every once in a while (or many more than every once in a while).
We shouldn’t feel restricted. Restriction leads to guilt, overwhelm, frustration, sadness, and it also leads us back to our unhealthy ways. And when I say unhealthy, I mean the standard american diet.
Food should be celebrated, enjoyed, embraced. It shouldn’t be this taboo-sort-of thing to talk about because we are all in fear of being criticized for not eating one way or the other.
I don’t think any of these fad diets are right. I think the right thing is to eat quality food in their most wholesome form. But most importantly, I think the absolute right thing to do is to listen to your body and figure out what type of foods you thrive on. Just because everyone else in the world is going gluten-free and you’re sad because you love gluten and it doesn’t affect you, doesn’t mean you have to give it up too.
If it truly makes you feel good, eat it. Enjoy it. Thrive in it. Celebrate it.
And don’t worry about being on the next fad diet because chances are, the next fad diet will tell you how the current fad diet you are on is going to kill you.