Stop Stressing So Much About What You Eat!
- Mel’s weekly food pick: Goodseed Burger
- Mel’s weekly recipe pick: Shredded Kale & Blueberry Salad w/Pecan “Cheese”
I would LOVE for you to be my guest at Discover Your Missing “Peaces” of Health, an afternoon full of possibility, empowerment, and discovery (plus healthy and delicious food!). But you’d better hurry up and register because once the spots are gone, they are gone! This free event will take place on Saturday, May 4th from 12-3 pm at the Kalman & Pabst Photo Group (a super cool location!)
My friend, I feel a deep sense of obligation to you.
I’ve spent most of my adult life helping people just like you, make choices to support their health. My aim is to do this in a more relaxed style of permission-based eating. And I thought I did a pretty good job at it until about a month ago, when my confidence was shaken by a stranger at the local Panera (more on that in a minute).
If you’ve known me for any length of time, you are fully aware of one of my favorite mantras:
This means, even though you may be happily making better choices, in order to live peacefully amongst food, you must release the power of the less healthy foods. Otherwise they will hold you prisoner.
Ironically enough, the key to your food prison cell rests within those four words: no food is forbidden.
OK, now that we’ve got that out of the way, let me share what prompted me to write this post.
My wake-up call
Last month I was faced with a bit of a wake-up call. As I made my way to the restroom at the local Panera, a gentleman stopped me who I’ve seen here many times before (I’ll call him “Joe”). I remember him because the month prior, we had a casual conversation while standing in line, about sneaky sources of sugar in foods we eat every day.
Joe: Hi! I just have to tell you, the other day I was at home and ate a bagel for breakfast.
Mel: Oh yeah?! (wondering why the hell he’s telling me this)
Joe: Yeah! And I have to tell you, I couldn’t help but see you on my shoulder wagging your finger at me. I know it had a lot of sugar in it, but there was nothing else in the house to eat for breakfast.
Mel: Oh my goodness! That wasn’t my intention Joe. Did you at least enjoy the bagel? (I think he was waiting for me to assign him three Hail Marys or something)
Joe: Of course not! How could I? I felt so guilty.
I felt horrible…and guilty.
I didn’t realize it at the time, but poor Joe took our conversation to mean you should never, ever eat a bagel. And if you do, you’d better not enjoy it, because that would be akin to sin!
Now obviously that wasn’t my intention. After all, that all-or-nothing line of thinking is what contributed BIG time to my eating disorder years ago.
I realize I can’t control how people interpret my message, but I’ll admit, I can do a better job at communicating how important it is to eat your food (no matter WHAT it is) in a state of full presence and enjoyment.
The fine line of healthy eating
Listen, there’s a microscopic, fine line between making more wholesome food choices and fearing every morsel of food you put into your mouth. The latter is no way to live. There’s a clinical term for it too, it’s called orthorexia. According to the National Eating Disorders Association website, orthorexia is defined as:
An obsession with proper or ‘healthful’ eating. Although being aware of and concerned with the nutritional quality of the food you eat isn’t a problem in and of itself, people with orthorexia become so fixated on so-called ‘healthy eating’ that they actually damage their own well-being.
Remember, food is about taste and enjoyment. We mustn’t forget that!
Eat to live or live to eat?
“Eat to live” is a nice thought, and something we should consider when choosing what to eat. But you should also be 100% OK with those times you are point blank “living to eat”! You know, when you’re seconds away from digging into that peanut butter, hot fudge sundae with whipped cream? Spoon in hand, mouth watering like Niagara Falls.
In fact, you’d better be OK with it, otherwise don’t even bother.
Did you know that guilt and other forms of negative thinking create stress in your body? This is important to understand, because stress can disturb the precious balance of good bacteria in your gut and the overall health of your microbiome. (Click HERE to understand why you should care about the health of your microbiome…and what the heck a microbiome is ?).
Stress can also impair your body’s ability to properly digest and absorb nutrients.
Just eat the damn salad (or the chocolate chip cookie!)
Whether you are eating a cookie or a kale salad, be OK with what you are eating and stop with the wishing it were different than it is!
Enough with the damn judging already! By all means, eat the salad, but own it. Make a commitment to enjoy it without wishing you were eating the cheeseburger. This also applies to when you are eating that warm chocolate chip cookie. If you’re going to banter on about how bad you’re being and how you really should be eating a kale salad, don’t even bother!
Enjoy it or don’t do it.
Here’s what I want you to take away:
Eat in a state of 100% pure presence (or as close as possible). Be with your food, no matter what it is.
Don’t judge it.
My friend, when you can do this…everything changes.
Mel’s weekly food pick:
I have to be honest, most of the “plant-based” burgers on the market aren’t worth your money. Take a look at the ingredient list and you’ll likely find highly refined (inflammatory) vegetable oils like canola oil. You’d be better off eating a high-quality grass-fed, organic beef burger!
Good Seed is the exception. They take great care in crafting their burgers by using ingredients like: hemp seeds, chia seeds, cauliflower, sweet potatoes, lentils, coconut oil, herbs, and leafy greens.
Try one on a sprouted roll or simply chop and add to a salad, like I did in this week’s recipe for Shredded Kale & Blueberry Salad w/Pecan “Cheese”.
Choose from four varieties: Curried Sweet Potato (my fav!); Wild Mushroom & Cauliflower; All American; Spicy Italian (a great substitute for sausage).
Mel’s weekly recipe pick:
Shredded Kale & Blueberry Salad w/Pecan “Cheese”