Life is all about choices, on this we can all agree. There is an increasing dialogue around food, there is an obesity epidemic, people in Ireland are getting fatter and that is a fact. Since World War Two, our waistlines have been expanding and now it has more than crept into the next generation as childhood obesity is at record high.
There are many strands to food, being health and having your health.
On the one hand we have a nation that is getting bigger and fatter and then on the other there is a growing percentage of people living very active healthy lives along with the generation of hashtag fitspo who are promoting some sort of healthier lifestyle through their social media platforms at least. Always concerned about the bigger picture, I was thinking about food and the relationship we have with it.
The vocabulary around food, like with everything else is very important. Food can be an emotional trigger for people just like drink or drugs. It can be a crux, it can be a nightmare or a dream. With words like 'clean' good' 'bad' and 'cheat' now being used to describe food on the daily, I think this could be a very confusing and perhaps misleading word relationship for people.
I think when you focus too much on anything; you can become obsessive about it. I like to take a very practical approach to food. I respect it, I need it and I understand its function but I never obsess over it. This took time, I was like every other gal in town wondering about calories, fat and now sugar of course along with the rest that goes with it.
But then I broke it down and realised something,that I believe is invaluable. I took the focus away from seeing food as a positive or negative, I just see it as part of my day. Food you see is very complex and multifaceted. Like the French to me have a great relationship with it. They eat little and often but they eat it all. However in Ireland, we are kind of all or nothing people, so when we see a cheese board or a buffet we go to town on it. It's just how we are wired.
If you are engaged with anything fitness related on line or follow any social media account that are fitness related, you will see alot of these words- clean, cheat meal, bad foods, good foods, the list goes on. How does one determine a good or bad food? I see peanut and all the nut butter has made it into this new sphere of good foods, a kind of what seems to be a Moorish health food. However when you end up eating the entire tub with a spoon, I think we can all agree it soon leaves the clean good food column and enters into the bad cheat meal zone. The lines can get confused very quickly.
Using these negative and positive words about food can send very confusing messages. Who exactly are you cheating on and why does one food merit goodness and another merit bad. Does this mean that we can eat good food in abundance and only have bad food when we are bad?
Being healthy is hard work, it is definitely not the easy road. You must think and plan ahead. You must also out up with alot of criticism from the mainstream. Like just because you don't be eating chips everyday with your sandwich you are suddenly no craic. Like having chips makes you a hoot. If this is the case, then I must start eating chips.
The new food words (good, bad, clean, cheat) creep in here too- eating the 'bad' foods is associated with being fun and well sound. No one talks about when you hit a sugar high or eat too much food that you actually feel sick, then the guilt sets in and then you feel terrible not only in your body but in your mind. Then post binge, talk will turn to starting a new diet or starting a regime on Monday.
Eating well is simply eating unprocessed natural foods. That is it. Stop over complicating things. Anything that doesn't require a label, well that's what I eat. Stop punishing or rewarding yourself with food.
As I always say with everything, keep it simple. Look at what you are eating and check in to see how that makes you feel both physically and mentally, you will soon just what foods are working for you and you alone.