You may have gotten to the point where you just don’t know what the best thing for you to eat really is. There are so many food philosophies; yes I call them philosophies, out there that you’re just not sure where to turn for the best advice.
Well, if you aren’t working with a professional right at the moment, figuring it out on your own could be a challenge. You wonder “how much protein is actually healthy for me?” You ask: “Doesn’t high protein and especially saturated fat cause heart disease?” “Wouldn’t a vegetarian or even a vegan diet a la “Forks over Knives” method work the best for me?” you inquire. “How about all the genetically modified stuff out there – how do I know if my family’s safe?” you ask. And if you’re gluten free you want to know “What can I have instead of gluten?” So many questions and so paths to entertain.
Everyone is unique. My husband has Kidney Disease and can’t eat greens, nuts, cheese, most fruits, potatoes and several other seemingly healthy foods, but for him those foods aren’t healthy ones. They elevate his potassium and phosphorous which can have extreme consequences for him. But if you’re relatively healthy, these kinds of foods are excellent to help maintain good health.
But let’s face it – it’s all very confusing. Being too rigid is not a solution. There is a condition called Orthorexia, like anorexia it is a serious eating disorder. Orthorexics are so rigid with their healthy eating regimen that they become overly obsessed to an extreme. Unlike anorexia, those with orthorexia do eat but are so fanatically focused on only eating healthy that no food considered unhealthy passes their lips. Even though this is a serious illness, recovery is possible.
So how can you be OK with what’s available and what you put on your plate?
Here are 5 Tips to Help You Be Unafraid of Your Food Choices:
Tip #1 Relax: No need to get upset if you happen to eat something that is less than healthy every once in awhile. Everyone faces this dilemma and we’re often tempted more that we’d like to admit. If you can make healthy food choices 70-80% of the time you’ll be in good shape. Remember this is never about being perfect but about being healthy.
Tip #2 There is no BAD Food: Labeling food good or bad can pose a problem. As I mentioned my husband can’t have greens yet greens are something I recommend all the time to my clients and readers. It’s not good for him but for nearly everyone else greens are good. Using the word BAD to describe a food can make it emotionally charged and a huge negative punch to your psyche. This association leaves you feeling guilty, miserable and more susceptible to reaching for those types of commonly considered “bad” foods over and over again, especially when things go wrong in your life. A better categorization for food might be: those that nourish and give energy and those that make you not feel good, create symptoms and deplete you of vitality.
Tip #3 Check the Labels: Even though I encourage you to primarily choose real, whole, fresh foods without labels, sometimes you can’t avoid it. Make sure the packaged foods you are choosing are GMO free and don’t contain highly modified corn or soy ingredients. Stay away from unhealthy syrups and sweeteners as well, they are first off artificial or secondly toxic and you wouldn’t want either in your tummy.
Tip #4 Ask your waiter/waitress or grocer: If you have any doubt about what’s in the dish you’re ordering tonight for dinner – ask. No need to feel embarrassed or feel like you’re causing a scene. You don’t need to have a food allergy in order to gain permission for a query. Most restaurants nowadays have become quite used to the more educated consumer wanting to know more about what they are putting into their mouths.
Restaurants have become quite adept at answering most questions the diner has. Even your grocer is there to help. If you’re uncertain about something, do ask. Also, if your local grocery store doesn’t carry some of your favorite healthy foods, ask them to either stock it or special order it for you. They’ll be happy to do so and keep you as their loyal customer.
Tip #5 Drop the Jitters: No need to go overboard about the food you eat. Every food you consume does not have to be gluten, dairy or whatever “free”. Remain calm and do your best to enjoy your meals, savor every morsel and if you don’t like it don’t eat it. Unless you, of course, are more accustomed to eating only junk food, greasy burgers and fries – your palate then needs to be trained for healthier fare. Food should taste good all on its own without the need for sauces, dressings or extra salt. Whole, fresh food has so much inherent flavor and goodness in it. Give yourself time to experience the true JOY OF EATING!