Food: Friend or Enemy?

Eating is almost impossible these days.

I look down to my lonely Greek Yogurt cup. No add-in fruit or flavoring (the added sugar is atrocious!), lots of protein, a little calcium. It’s my daily penance for hating milk, which I abstain at all costs and for which am certainly doomed for early onset osteoporosis.

But wait! According to Doctor X, Author Z and Mr. Y, milk actually *causes* osteoporosis and eats away at your bones! Eschew all dairy products, even “unprocessed” ones. Yet doctors C, D and E state that all of this talk is nonsense and you should keep chugging milk as usual.

Who do I believe? What do I do? I want to take care of my body (working out, eating mostly whole grains, stuffing veggies and fruits in my face when I get the chance), but the amount of medical bickering is so tiring.

I am “fit,” but not glamorous. I eat “well,” but don’t eat kale at every meal. And, dammit, I have a mental breakdown when my boyfriend leaves more than five chocolate chip cookies in the apartment. I typically eat them in one sitting and have a guilt trip for a week.

Produce

Did I ever mention just how *expensive* health-foods are? It’s a lot cheaper to live on white bread and tuna than kale, fresh tomatoes and salmon.

I regularly follow different articles and insights on living well, but everything conflicts with each other. Walk or run? Bike or swim? Lift heavy weights or light weights? Eat more carbs or more protein? What kinds of proteins/carbs/fats should I eat?

It’s enough to make a girl give up and eat a cheeseburger in spite.

A recent book I read, however, reminded me how nutrition science really is an imperfect science. In other words, there is no such things as perfection in one’s diet; the key is understanding how *your* body works. In fact, the author of this book conceded that nutritional science is by no means complete or perfect; I was much more willing to trust the source as a result.

Not to mention, but the author (Andrew Weil, if you had to know; Eating Well for Optimum Health is a fantastic read) goes through all the facts, scientific background and chemical reactions of food within the body without talking down to you like you’re three years old.

Mediterranean Diet Pyramid

In fact, Andrew Weil suggests following the Mediterranean diet pyramid, rather than the FDA’s heavily-lobbied one. I think I might actually enjoy following these regulations.

Strictly warning against fad diets (even going into detail about the pros and cons of each), he gives fellow food-lovers very specific advice about eating healthy. Some of them are obvious: avoid any and all forms of High Fructose Corn Syrup, eat eggs and fish high in Omega-3 fats, no margarines or vegetables oils, limit intake of dairy (high in saturated fat and hard for humans to digest, period)…

But most of all, he stressed that food is often not the problem. Our approach to food is often what’s lacking. Oftentimes, we get ourselves in this mindset that deprivation is the only approach one can take. We make strict rules and regulations and shun other people and events because they “don’t fit.”

Food is meant to be enjoyed. Food is the center of our society’s social interactions. Food is part of who we are and of our culture. And changing eating habits is just one of a myriad of ways to better health; it’s just one piece of the puzzle.

Don’t get me wrong; this read has reinvigorated me to continue eating more organic, more vegetables, more whole grains, more unprocessed foods. And the author’s long list of of author- and kid-approved Mediterranean-style recipes will help me on my way of eating well… and not hold my taste buds hostage.

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