When thinking about my recent stomach and health issues , there’s something that’s been brought to my attention – and that is my attitudes and mentalities about what a “healthy diet” constitutes.
Up until now, I think my view of what a healthy diet should be coincides with a lot of people’s these days. I believe in eating real foods that are as unprocessed as possible. I believe in limiting sugar and saturated fats – leaving them in the “treats” section of the food pyramid and focusing on whole grains, fruit and veggies as the base of my diet. I am a propagator of a vegetarian, meat-free diet – both for environmental and health purposes. With these kind of views on healthy eating, I always thought I was doing the right thing – both for my health and my body. I think most of you will agree with me when I say there’s nothing too drastic or overly extreme about my views and opinions. Some might be so far as to call them pretty main stream.
One thing that I am realizing more and more though, is that what is “mainstream” and “common knowlage” doesn’t have to be right. What “healthy” is really varies from person to person, and what works for someone , might not work for someone else. Following a very similar thought patter what you think and believe is healthy for you, might not actually be the case when practiced in reality.
Up till now I really believed I was doing the right thing for my body. Sure, my portion sizes were generally too small, and I knew I should be eating more – but at least what I was eating was nutritious , right? Well, judging for the way things are, not really.
As I face the reality of getting myself out of the state I’m currently in, I have to accept the fact that I will need to do things that go against my usual view of “healthy”. I will have to let go of some of my beliefs that I clung to as my “absolutes”. I will need to accept the fact that healthy for me right now will probably be different then what healthy would be under other circumstances.
To put a bit of skin on this, here are some examples:
– healthy right now means introducing SOME meat back into my diet, in order to ensure I get the quality protein I need (especially since I’m lactose intolerant). This is probably the hardest for me, as not only am I morally against the idea of eating meat , I don’t enjoy, miss or crave it at all. But I know it’s only for a time so I can get my strength and health back, so I’m willing to try and work through this.
– Healthy means eating high energy foods – even if that means processed flour and sugar from time to time. Of course nuts, nut butters, juices and smoothies are all healthy alternatives that are becoming staples in my diet, but the fact of the matter is it’s hard to gain weight on just that :P. Plus, I need to let go of any ED, orthorexic mentalities and learn to enjoy food for what it is – just food. There are no such things as “good” or “bad” foods – it’s all in how you treat them
– Healthy right now means sometimes leaving veggies on my plate in favour of other foods, of eating cereal instead of fruit for snack, choosing pasta over brown rice, drinking juice instead of water. All these things have become almost unthinkable for me, because of how ingrained some of these other habits are. But if I want to progess and move forward, it’s what I have to do.
– Healthy means eating more dark chocolate then I have in a while, in eating cheese and eggs, in choosing full fat over low fat dairy. Healthy means looking for ways to add more treats into my diet, instead of constantly watching to make sure I don’t go “overboard”. Healthy means snacking as often as I can, in listening to my body over my mind and most of all – letting go. And I think that might be the hardest part of this whole process.
What is your view of healthy? Do you agree the term can mean something different for each individual?