I’ve recently met two rather incredible, smart, and very insightful new friends that have really helped me think through something I’ve been struggling with for quite some time; namely, the drive for perfection in an otherwise imperfect world. While a lot has been written about perfectionists or Type-A personalities, I’ve seen very little written about it in regards to nutrition.
I’ve always been pretty demanding and typically hold myself to pretty high standards. Unfortunately, this blog is often reflective of that. My one friend semi-jokingly calls me “the robot” as a way of pointing out my rigidness, and while having tea with my friend Gena, I came to realize that I’ve become entrenched in the “diet wars” and have become so dogmatic in regards to nutrition that I sometimes am unable to remember why I began writing this blog in the first place.
The reason why I write this blog is not to bicker about how many nuts should be consumed in a sitting or any of the other semantics that nutrition bloggers often get bogged down with. Instead I write this blog because I’ve learned a lot about nutrition and want to share that research-based knowledge in an attempt to help people find their own paths to healing and long-term health. Long time readers have been able to watch many of my thoughts about nutrition evolve over that time - particularly when it comes to oil. However, the one thing that consistently bothers me is that my posts are often written from the perspective that the world is black or white, with nothing in between when nothing could be further from the truth in regards to nutrition.
Before I continue, I need to be completely clear. I am an ethical vegan (which is why I have never backed away from using the term) regardless of nutrition, I do not support or condone any use or exploitation of any animals in any situation.
That said, nutrition is often very complex and works in highly sophisticated ways, many of which researchers are just now starting to chart. The world is even more complex and our daily lives are nothing if not the same.
To assume that the path that worked for me will work for everyone is a foolish errand. To be dogmatic about it will accomplish nothing. Furthermore sometimes optimal health and our lives stand simply at odds with one another… and that is okay.
It’s okay to skip out on the ideal 8-10 hours of sleep once in a while to spend time with friends and family, enjoying a sweet treat on occasion has, to my knowledge, never killed anyone, and if you prefer iceberg over kale or collards you won’t be the less healthy for it. Basically what I’m trying to say is, if eating less-than-optimal means less stress, then maybe that’s the right thing to do. As my friend Maria has taught me, what’s the point of living to be 100 if you’ve missed out on some of the best parts of life?
Now I’m not saying that cookies and cakes are the best parts of life – in fact, far from it, and personally I probably won’t change my own rather rigid habits – but if you’re moderately healthy, and are trying to move towards a healthier version of yourself, it’s okay to not always be perfect. Being hard on yourself or feeling guilty about what you’ve been eating is almost never a healthy or even productive habit.
Instead, enjoy the moment. Food, like life should be enjoyed and is always better when in good company. If you feel like you want to eat healthier then focus on learning from the mistakes rather than punishing yourself for them. Focus your energy away from being negative; instead be positive and spend your energy on making sustainable changes. If eating optimally means you feel completely deprived and depressed, than you’re hardly developing healthy or sustainable habits. Being healthy is to enjoy life, and sometimes that means doing something inherently unhealthy. As the
book of Ecclesiastes Dave
Matthews says, “Eat, drink and be merry. For tomorrow we die.”
As always the information presented in this blog is for educational purposes only. It should not be considered as specific medical, nutritional, lifestyle, or other health-related advice.