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

Why The Perfect Diet Isn’t So Perfect: Part 2


What is the perfect diet?

We love preaching to the choir and talking diet and nutrition with other people who agree with us. But leave our safe circle of like-mindedness and ask the question, “What is the perfect diet?”, and we’ll get a gazillion different answers. Even professional dieticians and researchers can’t come to a consensus. Every camp of opinion has a different study, statistic, example, or story that “proves” dairy, or meat, or table sugar, or whole grains, or tropical fruit, or soy, or gluten, or margarine, or butter, or oil, or alcohol, or GMOs, or eggs, or saturated fat, or fast food are detrimental or destructive to our health and longevity.

Health and longevity are merely smokescreen words, red herrings for the two things we worship and pursue with unending zeal – youth and beauty. It’s no wonder that the publication of diet books will never end; turns out nobody has yet discovered the fountain of youth and cured either age or death.  Not that we’ll every stop trying. Just this September, Google unveiled its new company Calico, whose mission and hope is to stop aging and cure death. Good luck. No doubt Calico will produce a new diet book that will sell millions of copies.

Two Extremes

On one hand, we can try to follow the “perfect” diet and squander our existence on fear, worry, self-righteousness, self-absorption, self-punishment, social awkwardness and the joyless pursuit of those fleeting and fickle gods of youth and beauty, eking out an extra day, year, or decade of life or beauty for the sake of ego. On the other hand, we can feed our bodies like trash heaps, growing needlessly sick and old and frail, surviving each day with chronic pain and illness or succumbing to an early death and leaving our loved ones to survive on their own and mourn our absence. These are two extremes, neither which sound perfect to us.

Two Extremes

We’ve tried to follow the “perfect” diet. While doing so, we started to look really great, tight and toned; you know, the way we’re supposed to look. But after a week or two, our desperate binges on “bad” food made us feel like “bad” people and would send us spiraling into internal misery, over and over again. Maybe we’re just weak? Or maybe we’re just human, with a fundamental need to indulge and feast? For us, a world without tres leches cake and sugar cookies with almond frosting sounds like a sad place. We get a twinkle in our eye and a skip in our step even thinking about them. Is that bad? Should we be ashamed of such a confession? Should we train our bodies long and hard enough to not want or enjoy these things?

Or should we embrace our love of these decadent desserts and eat as many of them as often as we desire? For those of us who spent our entire adolescence and most of our adulthood significantly overweight, our natural inclination is to eat whatever we want to, whenever we want to, as much as we want to. And, again, we are miserable; we hate ourselves for being weak and fat. At least we know we are not alone in this tug-of-war.

So we seek answers to cure our miseries in the latest fad diet or celebrity trainer. Most fad diets on the market design super restrictive eating plans for super fast weight loss or super human powers, where we only get one day or one meal to “cheat.” And the authors of these diets lead us to believe that this should be enough to satisfy our cravings for diet-prohibited foods and keep us on track for the rest of the week, not to mention the rest of our lives. Bullshit! We’re frustrated and fed up with fad diets and we’re hitting the bullshit button! Let’s give that button another whack! Bullshit!

Bullshit Button

The In-Between Place

Somewhere between these two extremes has to exist a normal, sane, and pleasant solution to achieving and maintaining good health and satisfactory, though maybe not “perfect,” body composition while also satisfying our deep human need to indulge in the sensory pleasure of food and drink without guilt or gluttony. Somewhere in that in-between place exists a good and balanced diet.

 Continued in Why the Perfect Diet Isn’t So Perfect: The Finale…….

If you haven’t already, read Part 1 of Why the Perfect Diet Isn’t So Perfect.

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