Do you dip in and out of “stylistic eating” whether it’s veganism or one of the “arian” ways like “veget”, “flexit”, “pescet” or “reducet”? Are you macrobiotic or paleo just because? Have you removed gluten from your diet? Is juice cleansing your thing? If you said yes to any of the above, do you really know what any of these dietary choices truly mean, why you are following them or how to navigate each with real health in mind? Was your choice to “follow the fad” well researched, talked over with a credentialed nutritionist and monitored to ensure that your new way of eating is actually helping versus harming?
There are thousands of books on all of the above—some written by levelheaded and highly credible nutrition professionals (a good thing) and others written by doctors whose desire to use silver-bullet dietary guidance for celebrity status is number one (though some great books do exist here). Oh, and of course there are the celebrities and self-made social media moguls who write books about food and nutrition with no real knowledge on the subject but get away with it because Hollywood and large social media followings sell!
Thus, the real questions here are—do you fall prey to the “diet fad” without:
- Understanding what it really is (from a credible health professional that is)
- Knowing full well why you are making the choice (for spiritual reasons and/or to authentically improve your health)
- Having deep appreciation and understanding of how to approach this way of eating in a manner that is absolutely health supportive (being a vegetarian does not mean veggie nachos nightly; gluten-free is not about processed GF foods; and juice cleanses can be dangerous for many)
- Understanding if your choice is sustainable for your way of life (are you setting yourself up for success or failure)
If you can’t offer an informed answer to any of the above questions then fork the fads cause that’s all they are (trust me here). Jimmy Kimmel’s take on the gluten-free diet will drive my point home if you can’t catch my drift.
Do you feel bare-naked now? I don't mean to undress but believe it or not, diet fads are many people’s security blanket. And more often than not, they are a false sense of safety. So I ask that you allow me to re-dress you with reality as we kick off this new year. Think about this:
- We are all unique
- Not one way of eating fits all
- Many factors contribute to food choice (from culture to emotions to socioeconomics)
- An edible education is the foundation for making healthy choices (versus being a sucker to food marketing); What The Fork can help you here
- Simply, healthy eating means making the choice to consume 70-80% fresh whole foods (versus highly processed foods) and buying local as often as possible (nope, organics are not always the answer)
- It’s the small changes that make the big differences and set you up for success versus failure (moderation, moderation, moderation)
So here is to 2016 and your choice to falling in love with truly taking care of yourself in the right way for you! Never forget that food is medicine and real thought must go into what and how you choose to eat. If you can grasp that and practice it, you are moving towards your best sustainable self.
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