I’m not a fan of this term to be honest. Why? Well, it’s not only subjective to each individual’s personal opinion (vegan, paleo etc), but it’s undefined and usually refers to what they don’t eat; carbs, fats, sugar etc. instead of what they actually do eat.
Defining something by which it’s not, tends to lead to a negative mindset and associations as they demonise that which they don’t consume. A mindset which isn’t healthy, especially when attached to health, wellness and food.
Have you ever asked someone who looks great what they ate, only to receive a list all the things that they don’t? It’s unhelpful and gets pretty boring.
Healthy eating in my opinion, is when you’re eating real (minimally processed) foods in a quantity which keeps you satisfied and energised, ultimately leading to you feeling good. Which inevitably leads to you looking better too.
Healthy eating should also provide your body with what it needs; Low carb? Low sugar? Anti-inflammatory? More carbs? More food? Less alcohol?
Too often do I see people blindly following an eating style, which causes them more harm than good, all because they believe it’s the healthiest way to eat. If you asked a Vegan, Vegetarian, Carnivore or Omnivore if they ate healthily, they’d without a doubt answer yes, yet in the same breadth claim that the others didn’t.
There’s a reason why we see so many common problems with each style of eating, for example; a Vegan’s lack of B12 and a Carnivore’s lack of fibre. This is because each eating preference clearly lacks the ability to offer EVERYTHING that the body needs. Leading to supplementation, which begs the question - whether this is truly beneficial for your long-term health?
The only thing that all of the above would agree on, is that it’s the quality of your choices which ultimately matter, however this is where we run into another problem which I have with the term, a problem which I believe too many forget; affordability and availability.
For instance, it’s tough to tell a single mother of 3, that she must only serve her children fresh, local and organic produce. Especially when she's already struggling to make ends meet, her kids don't like the taste (since they’re used to chemically enhances foods), and costs 4 times the amount of a loaf of bread and a packet of ham.
In this example, healthy eating would be including more fresh produce into her kid's meals, whilst trying to cut back on their consumption of cheap and sugar rich meals.
We seem to associate healthy eating with perfection, when actually it’s about simply choosing better.
Is it time for you to re-think about what healthy eating means to you?
I’d love to know what you think. Leave me a comment below.
Speak soon, JC.