My family and I were invited to dinner with some new friends on Saturday night. My hosts knew that I was “into nutrition,” so they were very conscientious about asking me me exactly which foods were “allowed” and which were “forbidden.”
I gave them some general guidelines, and the meal was fantastic – amazing minestrone, whole grain bread, delicious green salad, and clementines. What I didn’t get into in that conversation – but I want to talk about now – was the whole idea of “forbidden” or “restricted” foods.
Here’s the entirety of my rules about what I can and can’t eat:
“I can eat whatever I want.”
I choose to eat nutrient rich foods most of the time, but in various settings and for various reasons, I may expand my choices to include foods you might not consider “health foods.”
Why? Because nobody wants to “give anything up.” That whole mindset sets us up for failure, for “falling off the wagon,” for feeling like we’re missing out.
When I was in junior high school, I used to chew my shirt collar when I got bored in science class. Now I don’t chew my shirt anymore. Once I stopped, I didn’t talk about being on a “no-shirt-chewing” program. I don’t think about not being permitted to do it anymore. It’s just not an issue. And if I ever feel like chewing my collar again, I suppose I will!
That’s a weird example, but it makes the point:
Eat what you want. When your food choices are led by desire and not by dogma, with a little education and experimentation you’ll naturally gravitate to more nutrient rich foods.