The brillant researcher, Brian Wansink discovered that we make an average of 200 food choices a day. Not 5. Not 10. Not 50. 200! No wonder we’re all a little confused, aimirite??
Many of my clients and people I know feel overwhelmed by the amount of information out there and the inconsistencies within the information. Which foods are “the best” for you for weight loss, for diabetes, for stress, for health (what does health look like even?)….and the list continues.
I’m going to ask you to let go of black and white mentality (I know, it’s hard) …but first let’s discuss…What does black or white mentality look like? Here are some examples:
I only buy organic.
I only buy produce from the local farmer’s market.
I don’t eat anything white.
I’m avoiding carrots because of the sugar.
Potatoes and corn are fattening.
Most Americans do not consume the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables. We should be talking about eating more produce, not eliminating nutritious foods like potatoes (yes, I said potatoes).
You don’t have to pick a side to be healthy. You just need to feel good about the choices you’re making for you and your family based on preferences, time, and budget constraints. If you’re trying to build healthy habits, the last thing you need to worry about is buying the organic produce over the conventional. There will be multiple options in the grocery store because food producers know there are markets for many products. So choose what works for you and move on. For example, I buy some organic produce that has more pesticide residue or when I’ve noticed huge taste variances, but honestly all organic doesn’t fit in my budget. Bottom line: you win when you consume any fruit or vegetable (even the starchy potato or banana).
Food choices are highly personal and only you can decide what makes you feel good.
Burnt out on broccoli? Then why are you still eating steamed chicken and broccoli??
Can’t even get your family to touch broccoli?? Maybe start introducing it in a blended potato soup with broccoli.
We are all at different places on the path towards health and just because Sally Smith down the street is really into the raw vegan diet, doesn’t mean you can’t heat and cook your sometimes plant-based food. And just because Peter Popper is super passionate about the keto diet doesn’t mean you need to go keto too. Both of these are extremes, yes, but I encourage you to be Switzerland. What would Switzerland do? Listen curiously but stay neutral and be fiercely dedicated to work towards a deep sense of contentment.
I’ve been in the nutrition world long enough to hear the polarizing, fear mongering, biased stories that leave people unhappy and unhealthy or with a crap ton of anxiety about “not being good enough” or “not trying hard enough.” Your preferences and your choices are yours and aren’t up for judgement. Your food does not have to be narrowed down to a short list of “good” foods (can we stop using good/bad to describe foods like yesterday? Great, thanks). Flexibility and moderation are not sexy and they don’t make the sales. This is true. However, it’s also true that the foundation of flexibility and moderation is the framework for long lasting health. Listen curiously but stay neutral and be fiercely dedicated to work towards a deep sense of contentment.
One tool I’ve found helpful with clients when food decisions seem confusing…what would the 88 year old version of yourself tell you?
Sometimes it’s YES! Eat that freshly baked piece of french bread and savor the soft, delicateness dunked in a pool of rich tasting olive oil.
Sometimes it’s NO! Why would you eat this processed snack food that is not going to fill you up or keep you satisfied. And gosh, it’s awfully salty. ….Oh, it’s the only option right now and you’re starving? Ok, that’s fine but this is a good reminder to pack your own snacks next time. Or maybe have a bigger lunch.
The first step is always awareness.
So next time you go to make 1 of the 200 food choices you’ll make today, cut yourself some freaking slack. Choose the option that brings the most JOY in that moment and move on. Then cut yourself some more slack because in another couple minutes, you’ll make another food decision.
The more time you can free up from being tied to your food decisions, the more you can live life to the fullest in the healthiest way. I promise.