The Hemp Connection + thinking

Don't confuse your food religion with healthy nutritional choices

Almost as soon as I became a dietitian, I developed a habit, when out socializing, of lying about what I did for a living. My friend finally asked me,"Why, when you worked so hard to earn your degree, and when you love what you do as much as you do…do you lie about it?"

I explained that I needed downtime too, and that most casual conversations I had with people were more about me wanting to validate their choices than it was really knowing what I had to say. People have a lot of ideas about food that aren't exactly science, but lie close to their identities. I've learned to respect those and not try and counter a person's food religion with nutrition science.

Over the years, I've come to see that there are many ways to be healthy. You can eat vegan. You can eat less carbs. You can be a raw foodist. You can take a gazillion supplements harvested while jumping out of an anaconda's way in the Amazon, or handpicked by deaf monks in Mongolia. I've seen a million ways for people to be healthy.

You can do it with an Atkins diet, a modified Atkins diet, a South Beach diet, or a Biblical diet. If you couldn't, there wouldn't be a couple dozen of my own registered dietitian colleagues out there with their own versions of being healthy.

Diets aren't about what you need to eat to be healthy. They are about who you choose as your guru and what rules they tell you to follow in order to be like THEM, to be healthy THEIR way.

I don't think you need a guru. I don't really want to tell you how to eat. In fact, I'm betting you already do, you just want to be validated for it. I'd rather you felt empowered to eat what felt right for YOU and felt supported in that decision.

So whether you're eating raw, or vegan, or Paleo, or Eskimo…if you ask me what I think, I'll ask you to run your menu through a diet analysis program and see how it measures up. If it's short, I'll ask you to add the foods that fill in the blanks. I'll help you to make sure your personal nutrition religion and dietary goals are compatible.

I'm going through the trouble of sharing this, because tomorrow I'm going to share a recipe that comes from a popular diet book, and it's a decent recipe, shared by one of our readers who likes how it keeps her full. Out of respect for this person's original work, I will be crediting it. However, people often jump from a comment about a recipe to assuming that using that one recipe constitutes endorsing that one guru's diet. It's not what's going to happen tomorrow.
I reserve the right, as you do, to pick a recipe here, pick a recipe there, put something together that works for ME without it meaning I or you have converted to another food religion.

I hope, in following our blog, you eventually learn that you can do the same thing. You don't have to eat like anyone else. You can figure out for yourself, within reason, what works for you, and have the confidence to do it.

When everyone reading this blog actually does that, I'll be out of work, I know…but I'm kind of gunning for that. I've been taking a little bit of a computer vacay this week and it's been pretty nice. I've been thinking about a lot of things I could be doing if people didn't want this nutrition information.

For now, know that I respect whatever food religion you've chosen, whatever guru you feel comfortable with, if you're looking to be validated by a guru…I only encourage you to do the scientific double check and be sure what you've chosen is actually helping you to get where you wish to go and isn't creating more problems than it's solving.

Oh…and by the way…if you're ever at a party and you meet a nice lady who swears up and down she parks planes at the airport…introduce yourself.: )

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