Most of us desire to eat a healthy diet. But how do we define what “healthy” eating is?
Well, according to all the information I’ve read over the course of my adult life, it would appear to me that, in order to be healthy, we should all be eating a low fat, no fat, high fat, low carb, high carb, vegan, low cholesterol, whole grain, no grain, soaked grain, low calorie, sugar free, soy free, pork free, dairy free, gluten free, and whatever you do – don’t ever eat real butter…diet.
I’m not sure about you, but since this pretty much eliminates everything but asparagus, I’m left feeling a little bit hungry.
Why does there have to be so much conflicting information out there, and why is there generally significant research to back up each claim? I’ve even seen studies done to show that high fructose corn syrup is actually good for you. Are you kidding me?!
About the only consistent information I’ve seen in most dietary recommendations is the advice to eat lots of vegetables and to drink plenty of water. Yay, something we can all agree on. But where does that leave us in regard to everything else we should be eating?
I think there is much that we each need to figure out for ourselves, but I will tell you where I have landed on defining what I feel is truly healthy. Am I the authority on the subject? Good grief, no. I have done years of research and feel much peace about the foods I feed my family. But I’m just the mom next door who is having a bad hair day. As with everything, don’t just take my word for it. Check into it for yourself. Pray about it. Ask God to show you what is best for your family.
So how do I define what food is “healthy”?
I believe that real, whole food is healthy.
By real, whole food, I’m talking about real butter, full fat milk and cream, grains in their whole form, real fruits and vegetables, real meat, real cheese, real oils, real salt. Fruit snacks are not real food, nor are they really fruit. Strawberry filling in a poptart is not real. Margarine is not real food. And on and on it goes when we look at the many processed foods that fill our grocery stores. If I can’t recognize the ingredients in a product, it is possible that while it is perhaps edible, it should not really be considered a “food”. I trust food that has been around forever. Stuff like Cheese Whiz? It was invented in 1953 by a food scientist. Oh, and for the record – when I was looking up the ingredients in Cheese Whiz, I actually found an article proving its health benefits! See? Told you there was “research” to back up just about any claim!
I believe that it is important to maintain a balanced approach in our diet.
I realize that many of you have special dietary restrictions and must eat dairy free, gluten free, etcetera – so of course there are exceptions to this point. But I’ve tinkered through the years with eliminating certain food groups and I’ve got to say, I feel best when I’m eating a well balanced diet full of a variety of good, whole, nutritious foods. If I have a meal with roast, carrots, potatoes, gravy, green beans and a glass of milk – wow do I feel good. But, if I skip protein or vegetables in a meal, boy do I feel it. Balanced meals are so satisfying because our bodies have received a healthy balance of a great variety of needed nutrients. And shucks, now I’m hungry for a big roast beef dinner. ;)
I believe we can over-think it and make healthy eating too complicated.
Free range, organic, grass fed, soaked, fermented – what is best? What about eating low fat, low carb, or trying all varieties of diets in order to lose weight or to be healthy? I just want to eat real food. I just want to focus on the basics. Nothing complicated. Nothing gourmet. Just real, whole foods that please my family and offer nourishment. I breathe a sigh of relief when I remember that all I really need to do is make my family’s favorite foods with the healthiest ingredients that I can get my hands on and my budget to work around. God knows my heart and my desire to care for my family in the best way that I can. I feel peace when I let go of the complicated questions I have about healthy eating, and instead simply let God be the true care-taker of my family.
How do you define “healthy eating”? I’d love to hear.