IIFYM (If it fits your Macros). Whole30. Paleo. Gluten Free. Vegan. Vegetarian. Keto. Juice Cleanse. Clean eating. Clean food. Dirty Food. Just Eat Real Food (#jerf).
You’ve probably heard of most of these diets or noticed the hashtags on Instagram, Twitter, etc.
I thought I was eating a healthy, well-balanced, clean diet. I’ll set the stage for you. I buy organic local produce as often as I can. I make homemade chia flaxseed crackers on the regular. I eat fresh veggies and fruit everyday. I eat almonds. I drink unsweetened almond milk. I only use stevia to sweeten my drinks. I eat grilled chicken breast. I eat PB2. I drink at least 70 ounces of water per day. I drink green tea daily. I take a multivitamin. I sauté with either EVO or coconut oil. I drink coconut water. I get between 7-8 hours of sleep everyday. I exercise everyday. But reading about these diets make me feel like I am doing something wrong, that I need to eliminate or incorporate certain foods into my diet to be “healthy”.
Sidebar with me here: Is it just me, or has grocery shopping gotten to be an overwhelming experience? The more I research each of these diets the more I overanalyze what I am eating (or not eating). I am currently reading ‘It Starts with Food‘ which spells out the benefits of the whole30 diet. I find this book highly informative even if you aren’t planning to enact the whole30 diet into your life. As a bio major I actually enjoy what they refer to as “sciencey” explanations, but the book has got me thinking…
Am I eating things that are unhealthy for me? Or potentially harmful? Am I actually damaging my body by sprinkling stevia into my coffee with unsweetened almond milk in the morning? Am I over-spiking the perpetual cycle of insulin and leptin, by eating greek yogurt mixed with my perfect fit protein powder? Am I causing irreversible damage by adding a pinch of gorgonzola cheese to my arugula salad?
I find that I have pangs of guilt as I scoop my tricolor quinoa from Trader Joes, into my sautéed veggie bowl. I can’t help but think “you shouldn’t be eating legumes” as I spread organic natural peanut butter onto my jazz apple slices. And then I know I must really be crossing the line with the handful of Cracklin Oat Bran and Kind Granola that I often mix into my greek yogurt – this must definitely be a violation of what it means to be “healthy”.
I’m over-exaggerating here (just a bit). But in all seriousness I know don’t need to lose or gain weight. I am at a perfectly healthy size. Yet I find myself thinking…could I feel better? could my skin be clearer? could I have more energy if I eat this way? It’s all so overwhelming. We all want to feel like we have control over something in this world. I feel like all the before and after photos of people who attest that the whatever-diet is the answer! As if their photo is proof all the proof you need, that whatever diet they are eating is the answer to your problems. If you eat this way you will look and feel exactly like them! They tell you that their skin is clearer than ever, that they have boundless energy, and have lost body fat…etc.
We all want to look and feel our best. I’m exploring this path but I’m not sure I am ready to jump on board with any of these diets just yet. It’s better to measure twice and cut once.