Monday, June 6, 2011

Keeping Your Food Focus in an Attention-Grabbing World

Isn't all yogurt probiotic? 
It seems that almost every month there is some new concept in nutrition that seeks to grab our attention. Many eating styles and food products are developed to help people adopt these "new" eating principles. Some examples of these are the Paleo Diet, Atkin's Diet, glycemic index, raw foods diet, gluten-free diet, juicing and super foods (this list goes on and on). There is a lot to grab our attention and the end result for many people is not better health and vitality, but a short stint following an unmanageable eating pattern, a little weight loss, and more weight gain down the road. All of this is for the privilege of spending a small fortune.

I'm not saying that diet and nutrition principles don't have merit. A gluten-free diet is vital for people with celiac disease and the rest of us could probably stand to consume less refined wheat products. Rather, I think we lose our focus on eating a healthy diet by being drawn into food fetishes that may not make any sense for us. As an example, I've heard many people claim that they won't eat carrots, grapes or watermelon because they contain sugar. To equal the amount of sugar in a 12-oz can of Coca Cola Classic you would need to eat 4 cups of watermelon, 10 large carrots, and 45 grapes. Some people might be able to eat this much, but I'm sure that they would be quite full and not able to eat much for a period thereafter which is not the case when you drink a can of Coke. Also, consider that natural foods such as carrots, grapes and watermelon contain nutrients that promote health.

I was recently asked my opinion about Joe the Juicer who has a website called Fat Sick and Nearly Dead. Joe found "religion" (health) through juicing and now is on a crusade to transform the world. There is some sensible nutrition advise promoted on Joe's website and it is this advise that is responsible for transforming lives. Juicing is the vehicle that is used to promote a more plant-based diet. If you can live on juice, then this is the diet regimen for you. If not, then you better pay attention to adopting healthy lifestyle habits that you can maintain, and forget the juice.

When adopting a healthy lifestyle, ask your self this question: Can I maintain this change over my lifetime? If the answer is no, figure out what you can do to be healthier and establish SMART goals for yourself. A SMART goal is specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-lined. A SMART goal will lead you to the healthy lifestyle you are seeking, one goal at a time.

My kids often joke about being distracted by shiny objects. There is a lot of "nutritional glitter" out there vying to take your attention away from more sensible practices. Trust in your common sense and your ability to stay the course. It may not be as dramatic as juicing, buying amped up yogurt or getting your stomach stapled. But it is what works. Slow and steady wins the race, as long as you stay on the course.

1 comment:

  1. I couldn't agree with you more. And yet, some people do choose to take that road of dramatic "easy" fixes. Being fully aware of how hard it's going to be, but not educating themselves enough on the possible long-term outcomes. I'm all for people who are trying something to better their lives. And I suppose, this is the part where we come in! :) Pleasure "blogging" with you!
    -Monica @dearnutrition