Monday, March 7, 2011

The Path to Health Does Not Begin with Guilt

"Health, if purchased by perpetual anxiety about diet, isn't much better than tedious disease"~George Prentice

I couldn't agree more with George. While I have spent the last four years of my life in school studying nutrition, learning the pros of fiber, and the cons of transfat, I have learned in the real world that obsessing over calories, and the food you eat, ultimately is the cause of more poor health than eating 1g of transfat every 3 months. For health is more than just your resting heart rate, and cholesterol levels. Although those are important, the relationship you have with food and the world also plays a HUGE role in determining the state of your overall health. Your blood lipid panel could be near perfect, but if you stare at the fridge, riveted by fear of its contents, you will not be living life to it's fullest. Harrowed by the fear of what ingredients are contained in your food, and how it is going to make you feel, you will ultimately miss out on all the pleasures that food can bring. Good health means nothing if you can not enjoy your life. Physical health is not the end all be all-we also need to remember our mental health and how we are treating ourselves. Let us not be anxiety ridden to the point of harming ourselves. Food is a place where our physical hunger meets our psychological assumptions. There is no such thing as a good or bad food. There are simply choices. No food is bad if consumed in moderation, with thought, and mindfulness. If you are still stuck in this black and white thinking, let this be the week that you let go of that anxiety! Be guiltless about your choices and decisions!
Is there a particular food or ingredient that makes you anxious? Have you ever been consumed by black and white thinking about food?


  1. The combo of nuts, dried fruit, and chocolate in a delicious trail mix can sometimes cause anxiety for me...In moderation, this is a healthy snack. But if you overdo it, you could end up eating too much fat/sugar/calories which can throw off the balance of your diet. I think this illustrates an important point actually: yes, it is key that we don't obsess over our food choices and that it's healthiest for us to remain guiltless...but it's also a good idea to learn good strategies to eat your fav foods in moderation. Health is a balancing act! Great post. Thanks for being insightful as always!

  2. I love that you brought up the idea of black/white thinking with food. i grew up with a nutritionist mom, and we never talked about food in terms of good and bad. We had healthy food and less healthy food, but we always had a cabinet full of cookies, candy, and chips! Moderation is important:)

  3. So insightful! What really scares me is when people mistaken their unwavering resolve for the best food, diet or body(i.e. perfection) as passion and resilience. In this mindset they fall deeply and inescapably into the trap of seeing things in black and white. When we think of it more as a choice than as a compromise, we get back to basics: enjoying food! :)

  4. I love this post! It is such an important thing to remember - live guiltless, eat guiltless, be free!
    ~Lauren B