Are you taking responsibility for the food choices you make?

When it comes to nutrition, anything and everything tends to be very confusing. We do not know who to listen to and it’s becoming harder to differentiate a fact from a trend, or an opinion. We’re still learning about the complexity of the human body, and with more studies being done everyday, new information comes out quite regularly. This information is being brought up faster than it used to thanks to social media and the wellness community. New insights on how our food choices impact our health means new diets and health trends, and those are not always well-received as, in general, we’re not super keen on having our current eating habits being challenged.

It doesn’t matter if you’re keto, paleo, or vegan, we can all agree that the dietary guidelines are not designed for optimal health for every individual. Instead of questioning the accuracy and intentions behind those suggestions, which are incoherent worldwide by the way, we’re pointing fingers at wellness experts and blaming them for promoting orthorexia, restrictive behaviors, and an inaccessible and expensive way of eating. Suddenly spreading awareness and living by example is seen as too extreme and triggering. We have to talk about weight because people are overweight, tired, and are struggling with all kinds of health problems from insulin resistance to cognitive degradation. We have to talk about sugar and carbohydrates, and how limiting our consumption of those foods can prevent all of those issues. Let’s stop only treating symptoms.  

 

It’s our responsibility to learn how to fuel our body

I get it, being told that our favorite foods might not be the best thing to eat isn’t especially music to our ears, but we need to hear it, and more importantly, we need to listen. We were all given a body, the least we can do is try to understand how it works optimally, and that starts with food. It’s our responsibility to learn how to fuel our body – and mind! – so that it works for you, how you want it to. I could easily mind my own business and let everyone eat however and whatever they want to, but the food industry needs a serious makeover,  and changes can be made only once everyone gets involved. As long as we keep pulling up to drive thrus and filling our cart with processed foods and drinks, the problem isn’t going anywhere. This type of food isn’t put on the shelf because it’s healthy for you, it’s there because it sells. Actions speak louder than words, no change will happen until the demand for these foods and restaurants decreases. We need to crowd out the cheap stuff and make space for real, fresh foods. The higher the demand, the less exclusive and thereby more affordable it becomes. We vote with our dollar, what we buy, we support. 

Now, let’s not confuse spreading the message around healthy living with diet culture. Body positivity accounts on social media are on the rise, but when we start to demonize wellness habits and practices for the sake of mental health and food freedom, that’s where I need to draw the line. I’m all about cultivating a healthy relationship with food, but going as far as saying that there is no such thing as bad foods and good foods, and that all food is equal is simply foolish. It sounds great, and it’s definitely a good strategy if you’re chasing likes, but we’re not looking at the facts, we’re mixing emotion with science-based nutrition, again. 

Food isn’t just energy

Food is instructions, I’m not saying that it should not be enjoyed, but we can’t just dismiss that the food we eat sends biological signals. It determines whether genes get turned on or off, if we burn or store energy, absorb  vitamins and nutrients poorly or effectively, etc. What happens in the body when we eat an avocado versus when we eat a chocolate bar is completely different. Our gut, hormones, organs, and brain are all impacted. Saying that any food is just energy might take away some of the guilt for choosing the chocolate bar over the avocado, but neglecting what those choices will result in a few years down the road is not serving us. Our liver is pumping more insulin than it should, our hormones are out of whack, and we’re storing more energy than we need.

Food freedom isn’t just allowing ourselves to eat whatever we want and feel great about it, it’s about taking the power away from the food that has no purpose but to be hyper-palatable and making empowered choices. True food freedom is not having to snack every two hours, not having food on our mind 24/7, and not having to deal with symptoms of poor digestion like bloating, fatigue, and brain fog. This kind of food freedom is achieved by eating a diet that revolves around high-quality protein, healthy fats, fiber and greens. Anyone that tells you otherwise clearly doesn’t understand nutrition, #period. We might crave a specific food, or food group, because our body is in need of a specific nutrient, or we might crave sugar and carbohydrates because our last meal sent us on a blood sugar rollercoaster. Intuitive eating is related to the first scenario, not the second. Cravings, and feeling like we have no control around food, is an indication that our body didn’t get the fuel it needed to regulate our hunger hormones, and keep our blood sugar stable. Our body needs the right kind of nutrients, in specific doses, ignoring this fact is going to cause all kinds of disruptions. 

Are you triggered by the number on the scale? 

I’m curious to know why having weight loss as a goal is so upsetting for people. If you’re comfortable and confident in your skin, good for you, but if shedding a bit of body fat is something that could give you that little extra pep in your step, I don’t think there’s any shame in that. When we let the way we look determine our value and self-belief, that’s when it becomes unhealthy. We should not feel different about our worth whether we are 5 pounds lighter, or heavier. We should all accept and love ourselves, no matter what the number on the scale looks like, but wanting to elevate our health and fitness and toning it up is a personal choice. Once we embody wellness, instead of just living by it, it becomes natural and effortless. We gain momentum, and before we know it, we’re glowing and thriving. We’re quick to associate weight loss with deprivation, and restriction, but going on a weight loss journey can be really beneficial, and doesn’t, and shouldn’t, involve either of those two. We know it doesn’t work, so we can stop repeating the same mistakes and start looking at what is actually working.

Why balance is BS

If you’ve ever heard about the blood-brain barrier, well that doesn’t apply to sugar. Sugar has an express pathway to the brain, and acts just like any other drug would. We’re not going to kick a sugar addiction by giving in once in a while, as the 80/20 rule suggests, that is simply not how it works. We don’t recover from alcoholism by having a drink once in a while and expect it to do no harm,  the same goes for sugar. If you feel the need to have something sweet everyday, you’re not in control. I’m not saying that you should never enjoy pancakes on a Sunday again, but being aware of why you’re feeling the need to choose certain foods over others is key to understanding your body and health. We need to eat food everyday, which makes it a daily challenge if we’re constantly fighting cravings. This is when we might try and rely on our willpower, and we all know how that story ends. Eating in a way that regulates our hunger hormones is the only way to find ease and peace around food. Seeking permission to “treat ourselves” and constantly giving in to our cravings is not healthy, it’s an excuse and a free pass to avoid doing the work. How ironic is it to say that eating processed foods once in a while is good for our mental health when, in reality, it is the direct cause of mood disorders and other brain related diseases. 

circle-cropped-2

Written by Marie-Lyne Beaudry

Curious how you can regain trust in your dietary choices, so that you can feel your absolute best? Schedule your FREE intro call with Marie-Lyne here.

Written by Marie-Lyne Beaudry

Curious how you can regain trust in your dietary choices, so that you can feel your absolute best? Schedule your FREE intro call with Marie-Lyne here.

Untangled: diet vs wellness culture (part 1)