Several months ago while living on Salt Spring Island, which is very much a hippie, au natural, kinda place I decided to start doing some research into nutrition and food. I can’t remember what my original intention was and what I wanted to get out of it. Maybe just some inspiration on what to eat and cook. So I went to the fancy brand new library that opened up to see what they might have. I came across a book called Real Food by Nina Planck. I read it from front to back and my view and attitude toward food has never been the same…in a very “uphill battle” kind of way.
First off, I was so stoked to learn that saturated fats are healthy, that drinking whole milk is not only healthy but ideal, that bacon is where it’s at, cheese is freaking awesome, eggs are the bees knees, and animal fat should be eaten without guilt. Great! Fantastic! I LOVE dairy and animal products, especially the idea of them being as little processed as possible. Oh, but wait! It’s not worth your time unless it’s raw (unpasteurized), grass fed, pasture raised, or whatever. Basically, get your own bloody farm.
Well, not quite, but in Canada where raw milk is downright illegal across the board I’d HAVE to get my own dairy cow if I ever hoped to delight in the benefits of raw, grass fed dairy. I find that a lot of these real foodie blogs are all about going raw or going home. Okay fine, that’s the whole point of a REAL food blog, eating the way our forefathers did before the processed food market took off in the early 20th century, BUT (and now I’m getting to my point) they make me feel BAD about the fact that I drink pasteurized, homogenized milk.
But honestly, my hands are tied. T-I-E-D. Tied. If these bloggers want to tell me where in BC, CANADA I can find raw milk, they are more than welcome to let me know.
It’s more than just the milk issue, though. It’s the posts with titles like “A hundred thousand reasons why sugar is bad for you!” but then I’ll see “A hundred and one thousand reasons why sugar is good for you!” They get on the commercial food industry’s case about their inconsistent data on what constitutes “healthy” and yet I see these bloggers can’t seem to agree on anything amongst themselves either.
Ah, well, I over exaggerate. For the most part they are fairly consistent with their info, and sometimes they provide too much. Now, I have a confession to make. I take a lot of stuff at face value, especially things I read on blogs because I assume the blogger is writing in earnest (unless sarcasm is the heart of the post, I get that.) and real food bloggers LOVE to provide their sources and quote books and articles to prove just how sound their information is. The problem is none of this information is helpful to me because all it’s telling me is that I’m doing it all WRONG. Tonight, for example, I read a post on magnesium deficiency. It’s believable enough to read that 68% of Americans are magnesium deficient (but also not a statistic I find relevant to ME given that I live in a much less populated country). Okay, sure, whatever. I’ve started taking some Webber Cal-Mag supplements with dinner because I just have a gut feeling that lack of magnesium is my problem right now. I’m also making hot cocoa using raw cacao, not only because the tin stuff you buy at the store has hydrogenated palm oil in it (and other additives that are so not necessary), but because it simply tastes BETTER. Besides the point, the blog post continues on to tell me that my vitamins aren’t good enough nor is my hot cocoa worth my time because it’s “loaded” with phytic acid, a nutrient blocker.
So…WTF. I can’t win. According to this post I’m doing it all WRONG. Unless I’m buying my supplements with “this” particular brand name from Amazon (which won’t even ship to me because I’m in Canada and I have to order from Amazon.ca which doesn’t carry nearly the same inventory as Amazon.COM) or standing on my head and rubbing my tummy while spinning like a b-boy I’m not doing myself any favours.
It’s frustrating to say the least. I have become so lost with all this ridiculous dogma of how I SHOULD be eating that I’ve forgotten how to enjoy food. I remember, there was a time when I would make whatever, I could get a little creative and enjoy what I ate. Now I feel like there’s nothing out there for me to eat because I’m what I like call “vegetable dumb”. I don’t know how to eat veggies or prepare them in a simple and delicious manner. Instead I’m being told that unless I eat real food exclusively I’m going to die a horrible disease ridden death at the butt of the food industry’s epic ongoing (and government funded) joke.
I don’t like this attitude. I don’t like how out of touch I’ve become with something so necessary and organic as giving my body sustenance. Now don’t get me wrong, despite this frustration I DO believe in whole foods and limiting one’s processed food intake. Every night for dinner I make a protein with two vegetable sides and sometimes we’ll put some store bought sauce on that protein, but otherwise our dinners are pretty wholesome, albeit plain. Since these bloggers are going off of more traditional foods and their preparation they’re so called “rules” are pretty sound and make sense. I mean, at the end of the day would we really have thrived as a species if our ancestors were eating foods lacking in nutrients, famine notwithstanding.
And the food part is only the half of it. I also feel bad about using shampoo and conditioner because it’s so “chemical laden” I’m sure to get cancer using it. *eyeroll* When it comes to beauty and hygiene products to each their own, but I don’t want to feel bad about wanting to spend $4 on a bottle of shampoo because it works and it’s affordable. If I were to fully adopt this way of “natural thinking” I’d may as well quit my job because I work for a company that sells nothing but cancer. The extremism that comes with putting down commercial health and beauty products is ridiculous and nothing short of an aneurism waiting to happen (because something’s going kill you, one way or another).
I get it, though, I really do. But I’m ready to give up on these blogs because they make me feel that any effort I make to “be healthy” is a pathetic attempt and that any time I want to just enjoy the act of being lazy and eat a box of Kraft Dinner I feel so completely and utterly guilty about it. I understand that this hang up on food is entirely my problem and I can’t just point the finger and rave that they’ve ruined my diet (or did I just do that? :-O) Heck, I’m mostly just ranting, but my points still stand.
If there is one thing I’ve learned recently about eating healthy, it’s that it’s really come down to a matter of opinion. That in and of itself is such a joke. To me, feeding our bodies should be the simplest (and most enjoyable) act of living and instead we’ve turned it into one of the biggest debates this century has EVER seen. And one of the biggest guilt trips. I’m just so done worrying about what I put in my mouth all the time. I want to drink my fully pasteurized and homogenized milk in peace and shampoo my hair until the cows come home.