I've been into health my entire life. I cannot remember a time when I wasn't completely enthralled with the latest health advice and new and best diet. Strolling around a health food store was my idea of a ‘good time' and everything I picked up or read excited me – but for the wrong reasons.
I'd like to call it a "healthy obsession" no pun intended. Every choice I made, every book I read, every Facebook post I embraced was coming one step closer to the holy grail of perfect health. I remember reading somewhere once that food will either harm or heal you. That powerful statement was one I often used myself and it wasn't until years later that I realised that the statement itself can do more harm than good.
You see, the choices I made in the past were not coming from a place of love; they were coming from a place of fear. I was so scared of the glycemic load of oats that I was no longer eating one of my favourite breakfasts. I could only imagine those demonic oats rushing through my body causing insulin to spike and full-blown war to be fought in my poor body. I'd probably gain a kilo, bloat, and all around feel like crap for the rest of the day. It just wasn't worth the risk. I look at this now and think – for goodness sake:
Then there was sugar. It wasn't enough to cut out the white stuff, oh no, I had to get rid of the maple syrup, the honey, and the dried fruits. But no, even that wasn't enough. If I wanted to be truly healthy – fruit had to be gone too. Banish the fruit! It will send me into a diabetic coma!!
Oh and we can't forget toxins. Those little buggers are hiding in everything from farm fresh veggies to toothpaste. And what about the anti-nutrients?? I could vividly imagine those evil little monsters zapping away at my favourite nutrients like full-blown space wars until my body was left depleted and – gasp – unhealthy.
You may think I'm exaggerating – and maybe I am a little. But there is a moral to this story. The more we worry about health, the more we obsess over it and experience anxiety over it – the further away we are getting it. If the thought of going to eat with friends at a less than perfect restaurant causes knots to twist in your gut – that's not healthy. If everyone is eating ice cream on the beach and you're craving it like a madman and thinking about the guilt that will follow- that's not healthy. If you don't eat vegetables because you can't find organic, that's not healthy. If the thought of a particular food sends you into a downward spiral of anxiety- that's not healthy.
There are no professionals on the planet that will tell you that stress, worry and guilt are healthy and yet it has been socially acceptable to embrace all three when it comes to food. Stressing will never help you achieve ultimate health. We all know the power of placebos - if we are constantly telling ourselves that food will harm us, what do you think it is going to do?
The hype, the pressures, the conflicted messages they are doing more harm than good, my friends. They are constantly telling us we're not healthy enough, we're not thin enough, we're not smart enough, we're just not enough and they are making heaps of money by doing so. Because of this, we're losing the natural ability to live life and experience health for what it is. We've lost our own intuitive nature as humans to know what is right for our own unique bodies. And that, to me, is a tragedy.
Am I saying you need to just eat crap and get over it? Maybe sometimes, but overall no.
We need to find a place where we want to eat the foods that fuel us because WE want to and not because someone else is telling us we should. We need to make choices for our health from a place of self-love rather than self-hate. I want you to eat well because it makes you feel alive! Because it gives you energy for your children, because it makes you feel good and not because you need to lose a few kilos or because if you don't you'll get brain cancer or diabetes. Eat to live, to nourish and to thrive because YOU want to, and you will not only relieve your body of stress but nourish yourself on a different level, one that will last a lifetime and not be just another fad that is making someone else richer and doing nothing to serve your health.
I'm at a place now where I no longer worry about my health, but I do thrive on it. I no longer worry if my celery has been sprayed during those times when I can't find organic. I just wash it well and get on with it. I don't worry about a little bit of maple syrup in my oats and for that matter, I no longer worry about the oats either. I no longer worry – full stop. And that has been the best decision for my health that I can ever make. I eat delicious healthy foods because I love them. They make me feel great and I deserve to feel great. And so do you.
Are you ready?