As a Holistic Health Counselor, I often come across individuals who have a specific idea of what ‘healthy’ means. They think they are following all the rules of what you should or shouldn’t eat, and yet are somehow still unhappy or perplexed with their body.
Unfortunately, there is a lot of nutritional misinformation out there. Fueled by misleading recommendations from media and food manufacturers, and even rumors within the wellness community, well-intentioned dieters and health-foodies alike fall into the trap of knowing certain information that leads them to making misguided decisions. Sadly, these decisions can lead to more harm than good when it comes to their health.
Here are some examples of the types I consider almost healthy:
1. The cerebral vegetarian – There is no doubt that a plant-based diet is best for overall health for most people, however there are some people who suffer from deficiency when they don’t consume any animal meat at all. If you are a vegetarian who secretly fantasizes about eating meat, listen to your body! A little bit of organic quality meat could actually be healthier for you than not having any at all.
2. The fat-phobist – While it’s true that consuming large amounts of saturated fat can elevate cholesterol and increase the chances of many health complications, some fats are actually good for you and are essential to health. The low-fat varieties of most foods usually also means that there is more sugar added to compensate for the lack of flavor, which merely replaces one potentially harmful substance with another.
3. The healthy junk-foodie – Those who lead busy lifestyles but still want to avoid the ‘bad’ food rectify this dilemma by purchasing a whole host of ready-made organic packaged foods. Those are certainly better than conventionally processed GMO foods with miscellaneous ingredients, but they are a poor substitute for actual whole freshly prepared foods.
4. The calorie-counter – This concept is a misguided way to restrict food intake and if you consume mostly natural whole foods this should be completely irrelevant. It’s not about eating the right quantity of food, it’s entirely about the quality.
5. The orthorexic – Those of us who are in-the-know when it comes to healthy eating can sometimes get carried away with eating 100% organic superfoods ALL the time. While it’s certainly good for your body to consume the best quality foods, focusing on that too much can become an unhealthy obsession of the mind and can reduce your ability to actually enjoy regular food with non-orthorexic friends and family.
When in doubt about whether you are truly eating healthy, ask yourself two questions: would my great grandmother eat this? And how does my body feel when I have or don’t have this food? If you stick with that, you should be able to navigate the mass confusion of modern nutrition and figure out what works best for YOU.