Live to Eat Well, Exercise, Be Well in Mind and Body

The Perfect Diet: The Finale

FAdDiet-BAd-DietAfter writing The Perfect Diet: Part 1 and The Perfect Diet: Part 2, I had no answer to my own question. How now shall I eat? So, I set out of an adventure, left the Shire behind, and……. Here’s what I’ve come to learn along my journey – a journey long and hard. This is the wisdom I gathered along the way and I would like to share it with you before I pass from this day to the next.

Diets Don’t Work!

There is no perfect diet. “Diets” don’t work. They make people fat and miserable and sick and they keep people fat and miserable and sick. The original definition of diet is: “food and drink regularly provided and consumed.” This definition makes no value judgments, has no moral underpinnings. But diets as we’ve come to know them (restricting, weighing, measuring, counting, allocating, planning, following, cheating, obsessing) are the farthest things from perfect. They are poison for the body and soul.

Yes, there is healthy, nutritious food that comes in glorious variety. Yes, there is unhealthy food. (Is there really anything redemptive about food laced with trans fats, MSG, or high fructose corn syrup?) I’d even say there’s a neutral category of food. Chocolate truffles and waffles and pizza might not be super foods, might not even be “healthy”, but they’re delicious and, when eaten in moderation, they most likely won’t give you cancer, Alzheimer’s, or forty extra pounds. That’s all the redemption necessary to rescue these delicacies from being categorized as “bad” foods.

Food Science

Yes, overly processed foods – even delicious ones – are more science experiments than real food. Food scientists are hired by food corporations to find out what’ll hook a consumer and keep him coming back for more and more and more and more. We call these hyperpalatable foods – the perfect combination of packaged salt, sugar, fat, additives, and texture to get you hooked and possibly addicted. A healthy way of eating limits processed food experiments that require translation services in order to read the nutrition label. And let’s get something else straight; just because it’s a so-called “diet” food doesn’t mean it’s healthy. It’s usually just a science experiment. Will artificial sweeteners please stand up? Fat-free foods? Um, can I please have an extra cup of sugar with that?

And let’s not forget that one man’s food, even healthy food, is another man’s poison. For example, I know a girl who is deathly allergic to pineapple. No she does not like pina coladas; yes, she does like getting caught in the rain. Another friend of mine has terrible reactions to nightshade vegetables such as tomatoes, eggplant, and peppers. And I’m sure we all know someone who has Celiac Disease and can’t eat gluten or someone who is lactose intolerant and can’t handle the diary products. Some people have adverse reactions to animal products; others to grains and flours.

Truthfully, even healthy food in excess is unhealthy. You could eat little other than broccoli and lettuce and apples, all very healthy foods, and still have a very unhealthy, unbalanced diet that results in sickness. Same could be said for people over-consuming organic meats, eggs, and dairy (highly acidic, and neglecting to consume adequate amounts of whole grains or fruit (very alkaline). Then again, you could nosh daily and moderately on your favorite banana bread and chocolate chip cookies made with white flour and sugar (*gasp*) like one spunky 93 year old woman I know, and live a very healthy, long life. (Granted, there are great recipes out there that can significantly enhance the nutritional punch of a cookie or piece of banana bread without sacrificing taste.)

The amount of food needed and recommended portion sizes also varies from person to person, depending on their gender, height, bone and muscular structure, activity level, and time of the month. So no, there is no perfect, one-size fits all diet, which is one of the reasons why diets fail more often than not. Bodies are different. Taste preferences are different. Cultures are different. Access to food is different. But as long as people continue to believe that diets work, we will continue to spend needless amounts of time, energy, and money on soul-sucking weight loss efforts that make us fat, keep us fat, and destroy and undermine the relationship we have with food and the relationship we have with our bodies.

Introducing…..Intuitive Eating

So ditch the diet and learn why and how to eat like a normal person – like the individual you are. Become an Intuitive Eater! More coming soon…..

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