Dare I Eat This?
I'm not a fan of fad diets. When I was a kid, I was twenty pounds heavier than I should have been for my size. I grew self-conscious of the extra weight and when I started to notice boys, I knew things had to change. So I went on a (dare I eat this?) diet and lost the weight. I became very adept at counting calories and could tell you how much was in most foods out there. The long-term result to that diet, however, was to hate dieting. I did develop a great interest in nutrition though, and I'm all for life-style changes in eating habits. I've read books on healthy eating and tried countless recipes. I even took a nutrition class put on by our local community college during the early years of our marriage. I kind of doubt many of their suggestions would be something I would follow today. My kids got used to my attempts at healthy eating, but when we were just too busy or exhausted, there was always boxed macaroni and cheese.
The truth is, through the years I have heard so many things change with what and how you should eat that I'm starting to wonder if anybody really knows?
Here is just a sampling of what I've read or been told by people in medical or other health-related professions in recent years. (Not in any specific order.)
1. Eat lots of healthy whole grains.
2. Don't eat whole grains because the wheat and corn have been genetically engineered and could be linked to rise in diseases.
3. Eat a diet low in fat.
4. Don't avoid fats. Eat healthy fats like coconut and olive oils. Low fat diets aren't good for you.
5. Olive oil is good for you.
6. Olive oil doesn't help or hurt you.
7. If you have digestion problems, don't eat raw fruits and vegetables. And eat sauerkraut with your meals.
8. If you have digestion problems, eat raw fruit or vegetables first, before you eat cooked foods.
9. Eat lots of fish.
10. Be careful of too much fish because of contaminates in the water.
11. Drink lots of water.
12. Drink only bottled or distilled water.
13. Eat only wild caught or cage free fish or chicken. Avoid red meat.
14. Red meat is fine as long as it's lean.
15. White flour, white sugar = white death (what is white death anyway?)
16. Avoid even raw honey and pure maple syrup. No sugars are good for you.
17. Tea and coffee should be avoided because of caffeine.
18. Tea and coffee have antioxidant properties and are good for you.
19. Chocolate is healthy if it's dark.
20. Soy lecithin is in most chocolate and it's the worst kind of soy. Avoid soy.
21. Soy is good for you.
22. Dairy and gluten can cause a lot of problems.
23. Dairy has calcium and you need calcium.
And the list goes on. In the past two days I was told by a health professional to do #8 - to eat raw fruit and vegetables first before eating cooked food. The next day I read an article telling me the exact opposite - but to also eat sauerkraut with my meals. I'm told to eat gluten free, dairy free, and soy free. Do you know how hard it is to find chocolate candy that is free of soy lecithin? I have Dove, Godiva, and Sees in my house and they all have soy lecithin. A girl can only go so long without her chocolate!
But, as they say, necessity is the mother of invention, so I made my own. I mixed about a tablespoon of raw honey, a tablespoon of Navitas Cacao Chocolate powder and about a teaspoon of coconut oil and stirred it together. Top with some fresh raspberries and...yum! Satisfaction! Minus the soy lecithin! (Picture's not the greatest, but you get the idea.)
It does get confusing though, doesn't it? And it really comes down to who you listen to and what you choose to believe works best for your body. Should we be concerned with genetically altered grains? I think so - based on what I've read. I try to buy organic when I can. I choose fresh over frozen and canned.
Will any of this make a difference in our health? Time will tell. I will say that I feel a sense of joy when I'm eating a large veggie salad with olive oil on it. Isaiah uses the phrase "oil of gladness" in his 61st chapter. It probably refers to oil used for other purposes as in worship, but there is a certain sense of goodness that comes from oil we eat as well. Oils that were made for our benefit.
I once tried to cut all fat from my diet and went too long without any. Fat free was all the rage, and I took it too far until I really didn't feel good. Now I see things in better balance, I think. Try to eat foods as God created them in the purest forms possible. Use what works for our individual bodies. And try not to let the constantly wavering opinions of nutrition experts drive us too crazy in the process!