As someone passionate about health (and everything related to topics of health), I find myself reading as much about health as I can get my hands on. Magazines, books, websites, you name it. I even enjoy reading food labels and scanning ingredient lists of different items at the grocery store (seriously, if you let me loose in the grocery store with no time limit, I could spend hours comparing foods and reading the labels and choosing between one food product and another).
In reading all of this nutrition information, it has become more and more apparent that our relationship with food is often an incredibly negative and unhealthy relationship. So many magazines discuss which foods are bad and which foods are good; they suggest ways to burn calories and fight fat. Newspaper columns report research on the obesity epidemic in North America, and discussion forums on websites regularly consist of women wanting to know the best diets and exercise regimes.
When did food become the enemy? When did we lose sight of the fact that we need food to survive and to be healthy? The old claims of “carbs are bad” and “fat is bad,” “eggs raise cholesterol” and “limit dairy because you’ll bloat” are all so ridiculous and limiting. We are restricting ourselves, and torturing ourselves, by paying attention to these claims which really do not make any sense.
Humans require 45-65% of their daily food intake to be in the form of carbohydrates. Fats are essential to keep our bodies working, too. Eggs make for a great source of protein, and dairy products are an excellent way to reach our calcium requirements. Food is not the enemy at all. Food gives us fuel and helps us to maintain a healthy body.
So what’s the problem? The food that we eat today is often on-the-go meals; we consume excessive amounts of processed and fast foods and not enough of the healthy, natural, nutrient-rich stuff that our diets ought to be filled with.
Yes, exercise is incredibly important for our bodies to keep healthy, but if we’re thinking about it in terms of exercising to burn off breakfast, that might lead towards negative thinking. That breakfast is keeping our brains sharp and our minds alert.
Think of healthy food as a necessary part of life for us to function, rather than food as something to be guilty about, and think of exercise as a way to keep our bodies strong.
The 80/20 rule for a healthier relationship with food
I’m a firm believer in the 80/20 rule (or 90/10 rule): eat healthy, nutritious food 80% of the time and indulge the other 20% of the time.
If you live your life that way, and try to cut back on processed and fast food, your body will thank you and it will show. So embrace food and enjoy what you eat in moderation! Remember that food is NOT the enemy; don’t wage war on your body! Instead work with it, and incorporate a healthy diet and exercise regimen into your lifestyle.
Fad diets aren’t concerned with your health—the people promoting fad diets are looking to get rich and that’s it. Let’s treat our bodies with the care that they deserve… and feed them well!