Tuesday, July 8, 2014
When Eating Healthy Is No Longer Healthy or Not An Option
I was so strict during the first few months of making the switch to eat healthily. I avoided all kinds of junk food, processed food, vegetable oil, MSG, high fructose corn syrup, refined grains, juices, sodas, sugar, unfermented soy, switched all my cooking ingredients to healthier ones, and added new "food" into my diet that I found healthy, such as coconut oil, fermented cod liver oil, and grass-fed food. Even the littlest bite of "unhealthy food" looked gross to me and avoided at all cost. It's the kind of feeling you get at the sight of McDonalds after you watch documentaries such as Super Size Me or Fast Food Nation. I couldn't imagine why I would let myself consume such food and have my body process such poison. A few years have passed and I find myself being more flexible with my food choices. I go out and enjoy food in restaurants, I let my daughter eat refined noodles, white rice, or even candy from time to time and I'm not as stressed out as before. I realize that there are more to life than just healthy living. If we can't enjoy the company of others, restrict ourselves to only cooking at home because outside food contains something unhealthy, and thus we miss out all experiences from exploring places or traveling and warm fellowships, then is it all worth it? I remembered reading somewhere that laughing will cause wrinkles, but should we not laugh because we are afraid of getting wrinkles? Does it mean we shouldn't go out and enjoy life because we are afraid we will "inhale" pollution? We will be so miserable and we will miss out so much of this world if we are too perfectionist.
I was a perfectionist about eating only what I thought was healthy and perfection almost killed. I am so glad that I've come to terms with the fact that I cannot control everything. And there will be times when eating healthy is no longer an option and we have to accept these exceptions.
- The Food Industry: School kids get to eat fast food on field trips because the fast food industry give free sponsorship to schools and schools don't usually say no to free sponsorship. The food industry can get away with so many things and we cannot control them. Then would you tell your children not to eat what they have been given and be the only "outcast" while the rest of her friends get to enjoy their fast food? As much as I would like to say no, I will not. My responsibility is to teach and encourage the little ones to be wise in making decisions and prayerfully they will understand what is good and what is not.
- The Sick: Think about a really sick person who has lost all appetite for food and is so thin from enduring a serious, prolonged illness. If he could only eat (and can eat a lot more) when you give him white rice versus brown rice, or fried chicken versus steamed chicken, or sweetened milk versus plain grass fed milk, by all means, let him be. He needs to get all the calories he can get to be strong again. Who am I to say that these foods are forbidden and he is not to eat any of these foods because they are not aligned with my "healthy food" philosophy.
- Where There is No Other Option: Someone argued with me that if he were to be stranded in the middle of a place hungry and he could only see a fast food joint, would I allow him to eat fast food or let him starve?
I believe no one in their right mind will force their practice of healthy living under special circumstances. So I realize that there are exceptions and it is good to be flexible and adapt to different circumstances.
You could say that I now live by the 80-20 rule now. I try my best to give my family the best when they are at home and nourish their bodies with healthy food as much as possible. But the other 20% of time, we go out and enjoy our life and I believe that through the 80% of right nourishment, our bodies are able to better handle the less-healthy food that we consume the rest of the time.
What are your thoughts about eating healthy?