Wednesday, June 5, 2013

What the heck happened to eating for health?

Can't a girl eat to be healthy anymore??

Nowadays with my propensity towards healthy eating, when I opt out of the Oreos or order the side of steamed vegetables, I am continuously dealing with comments from others: “Too many calories for you?” “Did you already meet your calorie quota for the day?” and, my personal favorite, variations on comments as if I'm not really there, “It's too fattening for her to eat” said turning to another person in the vicinity...

Ummm... rude.

Don't judge a person by their plate. And there's nothing wrong with watching what one eats. We all should! I find that those that judge the most are the ones struggling internally the most. So I try and be gentle ...usually.

But, eating doesn't always have to be about losing or gaining weight. Eating, for me, is about feeling good and nourishing my body. Sure, I deal with my fair share of weight and body issues, Lord knows! But I've come a long way and, now, food for me is about being well. I ask a lot out of this 5'2 frame. I want to feed it so that it works at peak performance. I know what it feels like to have my body quit on me. So it's not worth it to me to treat my mouth like a trash bin in Times Square.

Focusing on foods that are good and nutritious is the easiest way to stop the calorie madness. Fill your diet with whole foods. Pack it full of colorful vegetables and lean proteins. Add in some fruit and some healthy fats. Keep things spicy with seasonings and a few condiments. Don't think about the engineered palate-pleasers you're limiting. Think about the natural deliciousness you can eat in abundance.

I'm not saying that watching calories is useless. If you're just starting a weight loss regimen or making the lifestyle switch to healthy eating, counting your calories can be an eye opening experience. Realizing portion sizes is paramount in leading a healthy life. And you will be blown away when you first start keeping an eye out. (one small package of sugary crap is 3 servings?? What?!...surprise!)

I used to be an obsessive calorie counter. It worked for me, for a time. And, sure, every now and again if I feel things getting a little nuts in my eating (after a vacation for example) I may ballpark my numbers for a few days.

But now that I'm eating for health and not weight, I'm a much happier person. It allows me flexibility and every now and again, when I do go cray and eat the nachos or the pizza or the cupcake...I enjoy the sh*t out of it. I don't beat myself up because I'm 200 calories over my limit. I know that tomorrow, I'll start my day with a Lemon Water and a Green Smoothie (which happens to be one of my favorite meals) and I'll feed my body out of love, not out of hate.

So stop hatin'!


  1. Sarah, this post is so hypocritical it was hard to even get through. People judge YOU for your food choices? Look in the mirror! People are struggling and they come to you for guidance and you call food they eat trash and shit. Where is your compassion? Lead by example, sure, but your attitude of putting people down is hard to stomach. People aren't superhuman. Lift them up, don't break them down. Maybe try less shame coaching and be more encouraging. Seriously.

    1. Hey Anonymous,
      The point of the post is that I don't judge others for what they put in their mouths, but it's not going to be what I put in mine. Because, yes, I do judge FOOD. And I wholeheartedly stand behind calling "foods" pumped full of high fructose corn syrup, partially hydrogenated oils, and hormone disrupters "trash and bullshit." It's not food, and it shouldn't be sold as such. I wouldn't handle cigarettes with kid gloves and I won't for crap food either. We should all be eating for health, because everyone deserves to be healthy and happy. I'm sorry to hear you took away a negative opinion. I hope you understand where I'm coming from!
      Have a good one,

  2. "Don't think about the engineered palate-pleasers you're limiting. Think about the natural deliciousness you can eat in abundance." To this wonderful line I respond with a resounding YES. "Engineered palate-pleasers" has a great ring to it. We're up against Big Food, and how it has shaped the dietary desires of great masses of people.

    You're onto something here: the discomfort that some people -- perhaps many people -- may feel when confronted with those who try, some or most of the time, to make careful food choices. What is implicit in our efforts -- whether it be to avoid refined carbs, eat organic, or a million other deliberate, healthful choices -- is that there is a problem with *not* thinking about what one eats. And there is, indeed, a problem with not turning a critical eye on the (unnatural and unhealthy) kind of diet that passes for normal in many quarters, a diet that is far removed from nature and has been crafted largely by the food industry in conjunction with the ad industry.

    I think if more people had read something by Andrew Weil, or Michael Pollan, or Mark Bittman (his latest), to name a few, they wouldn't feel discomfort. But lacking knowledge, they make shallow assumptions about the thinking behind your choices and perhaps even feel some misplaced resentment because they don't want to admit that maybe, just maybe, they could stand to learn more. Some people don't want to admit that they need guidance. The information is out there, but if the lines at Mickey D's are any indication, many are not availing themselves of it.

    Integrative practitioners of medicine and nutrition are helping many people stay healthy and avoid chronic illness. Thanks for all you do!

    1. Thank you!! Yes, agreed. There is a general lack of WANTING knowledge. People seem to think they're better off in the dark...that is until chronic illness sets in. Then it's pharmaceuticals and quick fixes that cause more harm than good (in my opinion).

      I know how hard it is to do a lifestyle overhaul, especially when the food industry and convenience are working against us. But health is most important. No one's saying it's easy or even obvious. Just that it is necessary.

      Thanks so much for your response!