Friday, January 30, 2015

Eating Healthy

A couple of weeks ago, a friend of mine mentioned that she had made a goal to eat healthier.  She said she was planning on making one new healthy supper each month this year.

I immediately thought, but did not say, because that would have been judgmental or rude or something, "only one?!  Really?"  I mean any effort to eat healthier is a step in the right direction, right?  And I want to support and encourage that.  So I kept my mouth shut.

But then she said someone else had said that exact thing to her.  So I felt ok saying that I agreed.  Only one?  Really?  Giving her the benefit of the doubt, I asked if she was putting the emphasis on "new," as in, she already eats pretty healthfully and she just wants to try new things, but no, that wasn't it; the emphasis is definitely on the healthy here.
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But what is healthy, exactly?  And what's unhealthy?  I mean, some people think cutting out whole food groups, like grains, or dairy, or meat, is healthy.  Some people say low fat is healthy.  I know at least one person who insists that real butter and whole milk are healthy foods.  Some people avoid saturated fats at all costs, but now coconut oil is all the rage.  Solid at room temperature = saturated fat.  Some people say low carb eating is the way to go.  A quick Google image search reveals that when people think of healthy food, they think predominantly of vegetables and fruits.

Who's right?

My older boys, when they were in 5th grade, had a health class assignment that really annoyed me.  They were tasked with bringing in nutrition labels from a healthy food and an unhealthy food.  My problem with this assignment was two-fold.  First, the foods that are healthiest (at least in my opinion), are much less likely to have nutrition labels.  When's the last time you saw a nutrition label on Brussels sprouts?  I begged both the boys to let me print out a "nutrition label" for broccoli or something, but no dice.  I think AKD brought in a label from a can of green beans, which was, of course, healthy, but less healthy than fresh green beans because of the added salt.  My second problem with this assignment was, who decides what's healthy?  I mean, AKD thought those canned green beans were healthy, but I knew those green beans had issues.

I think my friend, possibly subconsciously, even, associates healthy with boring, or tasteless, or even downright yucky.  And unhealthy means scrumptious, which is a shame.  I think that's why she's not willing to commit to more than one "healthy" supper a month.

The truth is, we need healthy fats.  We need complex carbohydrates.  We need lean protein. To me, eating healthfully means eating whole, unprocessed foods, in moderation.  And that, to me, is delicious.

What does healthy eating look like for you?

1 comment:

  1. I think literally every food in the world has been declared UNHEALTHY by some "expert". Years ago, I remember a guy I was working with triumphantly declare that he had come across "research" that "proved" Brussels sprouts cause cancer.

    I think literally every food in the world has been declared HEALTHY by some "expert" as well. I've seen several articles that list health benefits of things like caffeinated coffee and even alcoholic beverages (most of the ones I pay attention to are articles on how health beer is).

    It is difficult to get a real sense of what is really healthy and what is not healthy when there is documentation out there going both ways.

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