The news, lifestyle and health articles the few days leading up to the new year and a day or two after always crack me up. Of course there are all the ways to accomplish your goals in xxxx, the how to have the best sex life/career/relationship/body ever in xxxx and then there are all the predictions-The hottest trends, the things you shouldn’t miss, the ways you need to change your life.
Well, for once I read a food trend article that really excited me. Because for once it didn’t seem like the writers at the Huffington Post/Women’s Health/Shape or wherever were drinking their holiday bonuses and writing whatever popped up in conversation. For once it seemed that perhaps a food trend is based on some research and some fact.
Restrictive diets are not helping us become a healthier nation. Or even a thinner one. It used to be that if you were watching your salt or your fat, it was because there was something wrong with you. You had heart disease or hypertension. A restrictive diet was a prescription for health because you had a disease. Somehow over the years we’ve come to believe that these restrictive diets are a healthy way to live for everyone, not just people with health issues.
Afraid of fats, carbs and calories, even the good ones, we have quickly become the the wealthiest undernourished nation in the world. People have iodine deficiencies because they are unnecessarily restricting salt. We are stressing out our bodies by not feeding them enough. We eat very little, but weigh quite a bit.
Researcher Brene Brown asserts , “We are the most in-debt, obese, addicted and medicated adult cohort in U.S. history.” We are filling a hole. We feel the lack intensely. She believes we are drowning in shame. That shame leads us to binge.
We are a nation of bingers. We binge eat, binge watch, binge sleep, even binge clean. We like to restrict our lives, our fun, our enjoyment and then break out in a binge because we feel we deserve good things. Even if the binge is cheese flavored, orange chemical snacks, we have some feeling of entitlement.
So perhaps 2015 is the year to stop shaming ourselves, our children and each other. Stop feeling shame for having a creamy soup or cheesy pasta. We need to stop running to the gym because we had a cup of broccoli cheese and eating salads for two days to make up for eating lasagna. We punish ourselves for enjoying our sustenance.
Let me be clear. I’m not talking about 2, 000 calorie meals at The Cheesecake Factory and I’m not talking about eating fast food, cause no one should ever do that. I’m not advocating that devil-may-care feeling we all get when we’re hanging out with our best buds from college- cause that’s usually a binge. I’m talking about healthful, homemade from scratch and with love food that has healthy amounts of fat, carbs and calories.
The food/health/wellness/nutrition industry is making a shift. The most exciting food trend in 2015 is instead of the crazy restrictive diets that we’ve indulged in the past, is to add as many foods as possible on a daily basis. Most Americans are not getting their daily nutritional needs met and trying to add foods instead of avoid foods will hopefully turn some of our health issues around.
Any dieter will tell you that when they stopped being so restrictive and added healthy, non-chemical laced fats, protein, calcium and calories they not only felt better, but even dropped weight in a healthy way. For awhile. We have a hard time saying enough. We figure if a little indulgence was good and we actually feel better and are thinner, then a lot of indulgence is better. Soon we’re eating 1,000 calorie meals at PF Chang’s and wondering why our jeans are tight again. It’s about balance, about finding the middle ground. It’s about occasionally having whole milk, not about having a milkshake everyday.
In 2015 vow to add as many foods as you can to your meals. Always aim for the healthiest option you can, but let’s release our fear of fat and calories. Restricting our diets has not served us well. Look for a new variety of greens you’ve never tried, dandelion greens? Try a new kind of apple, a different type of asian noodle. Sample a new cuisine. Instead of a veggie bowl with one kind of pepper make it with three kinds of peppers. Enjoy your dining experiences! Eat for your body and your lifestyle. Stop reading dieting books and grocery line magazine claims. Look at your naked body every day in the mirror. Learn to love it and promise it that you will take care of it the best way you can.
Eating is as yogic as any activity. Meditation nourishes the brain, asana nourishes the spirit and food nourishes the body. It is always about finding the middle ground, about finding the center and relaxing into it. At it’s core self-love, acceptance and self-care is essential for consistently seeking the center, the balance. You can not be healthy, centered and balanced if you’re full of shame.
2015 asks us to be mindful in new ways. To be mindful of what goes in our bodies not as in being careful to avoid certain things, but to add certain things, to eat for energy, better sleep, a happier more relaxed life. I know, right? Food can do all that? Yes, food can do all that.
Nourish the body, the mind and the spirit. That’s what 2015 is asking us to do.