About 6 months ago I began working for an organic, vegan, raw foods company in New York City. I thought I would be around the healthiest people ever and dive even more into healthy eating and living, but it’s honestly made me want to run the other way and while eating pizza.
I grew up a vegetarian, I dabbled in veganism for a few years and overall have studied healthy living and nutrition for a long time. I love yoga, neti pots, kale, etc. I love healthy food, it’s important and obviously changes our lives. But my experience lately interacting with fellow “healthy people” has made me scared for the health community. I think we are all bordering on a new eating disorder- extreme obsession about health and what we eat that it’s completely unhealthy.
People put so many rules around their food and eating. They don’t eat gluten, or are strict vegan, or oil free, or they don’t eat fruit at the end of a meal (food combining!), they only eat raw or vegan- to the point that they would rather starve the whole afternoon than have a snack that’s not absolutely in line with the food rules they made for themselves. Or people spend one day binge eating “healthy” deserts and the next day starve themselves to make up for it, but it’s okay because that’s called “intermittent fasting.” Or people are on such unrealistic diets that they could never just go out to a meal with friends and enjoy something, or their food specifics are so crazy that they have no idea how to cook meals for themselves and have to buy all their food already made. The stories people tell me about what they do or do not eat are really just insane.
All of this worries me because nothing about this behavior is peaceful, whole, nourishing or calming. And that’s what I think food is supposed to be.
None of this is a reflection of the health food company I work for. Plenty of people enjoy healthy food in a healthy way. What I’m talking about is some people in the health community losing their minds and becoming completely out of touch with what normal, healthy eating is -myself included.
I see all this in so many people because it has been my personal experience. I realized I had rules around food that weren’t realistic and didn’t even make a lot of sense. In my focus on living so healthily, I had become pretty unhealthy. Friends who drink Diet Coke or eat Taco Bell once in a while were probably healthier than me, and that was a tough thought to swallow. In the health community a tid-bit from the experts comes out on websites and books every day. We never touch GMO’s or microwave food, soy is the new devil, balsamic is too acidic, you can’t have bread but a wrap is okay- we rack up this info and add it to our list of foods not to eat, trying to keep it all straight, and create a general fear and concern about food that builds and builds everyday.
Instead of listening to what our bodies want and feeling balanced and calm around food, it creates the opposite. A need for perfection, specifics, control and worry.
Everyone is different. Our bodies and minds need different types of food, nourishment and lifestyles. Don’t let some food guru, website or yourself tell you you’ll be a better person if you eat a certain way. Being so controlling and putting so many rules and labels on your food or lifestyle really isn’t the answer to your health concerns- or your life.
If you don’t feel peaceful around food, it’s okay and there’s plenty of people who feel the same. You can be aware of it and turn it around. Let go of thinking foods are good or bad. Decide to feel good about yourself, regardless of what the scale has to say about you or what you ate yesterday. It may be a revolutionary concept.