Unfortunately, many, many people feel anxious about their eating. There seems to be a huge gap between what people think they should eat, what they want to eat – and what they are able to manage around eating given their lifestyle.
There are two main aspects to healthy nutrition – what to eat and how much to eat.
The “what to eat” side may seem overwhelming but really it is simple. As Michael Pollan recently said “eat real food; eat more plants; eat less”. Real food is food that is whole, minimally processed, locally grown and rich in nutrients and flavor. Fresh, minimally processed, local and organic foods will make your body sing. Some people do better with a vegetarian diet – others with small amounts of quality meat, fish and/or poultry.
Variety, moderation and balance may sound boring but they really are the key to healthy eating. However, if you focus more on just feeding yourself a wide variety of healthy foods, the moderation and balance will take care of themselves – really.
Rhythm is an important part of health, so build in regular meals and snacks. This will stabilize your blood sugar and your moods and help to move away from preoccupation with food. Eating seasonal locally grown foods is another important aspect of rhythm.
Consider the radical act of trusting yourself and your body to know how much you need to eat. If we feed ourselves good quality food, our bodies are better able to self regulate and know when we are hungry and when we are full. Our body will tell us – if we just are quiet enough – if we pay attention. That means getting rid of the distractions like television, blackberries, phones and computers while we eat. We can’t listen if we aren’t paying attention.
So have food around that you enjoy and eat it slowly. Forget about being virtuous about your meals – it only sets people up for over indulgence. Eating is not a moral issue – it is simply one of life’s greatest pleasures – a way to nourish mind, body and spirit. So go ahead, look around, choose from best quality foods that you will enjoy and allow yourself to enjoy life’s pleasures – mindfully.