ColumnSkip the diet and go for the lifestyle change.
Resolution this, resolution that. As we come closer to 2014 everyone is abuzz with good intentions, and that’s all well and good, but here is one thing you should not do in 2014: diet.
Seriously, don’t do it.
We’re diet obsessed, but we don’t need diets, we need lifestyle changes.
Diets have always had a certain appeal – eat a certain thing for a certain amount of time and lose a certain amount of weight. But this isn’t sustainable in any way shape or form; the only way we stay healthy is if we create an eating lifestyle that we can maintain on an everyday basis. Not just for two or three weeks, but every single day.
In 2013 some of the most popular “diets” that were searched on Google were Paleo, the Master Cleanse Diet, the Juice Cleanse diet and the Mediterranean Diet (what I like to call the “real food that you know you should be eating” diet). You know what all of this diet Googling tells me? We are incapable of finding a food policy that works for us individually. Eating is an evolving process, finding out how your body responds to certain things, and adapting as you see fit. It’s about indulging once in awhile and other times not. All good things in moderation as they say.
We’re diet obsessed because we think if we find the “right” one we will magically drop those extra 10 pounds, miraculously be in good enough health to run a marathon and end up with super glowing and radiant skin that everyone around us will comment on. If only we find the right diet, then all will fall into place in our lives.
Reality check. There is no right diet. Some foods work for some people, and others don’t. Some people choose to avoid certain foods for ethical reasons, others for allergy reasons. At the end of the day, we can incorporate certain diet elements into our everyday eating regimen, but when it comes down to it, we don’t need to diet, we need to relearn what it means to eat well.
Instead of a diet to kick off 2014, here’s what you should do instead:
Celebrate the beauty of eating. Food – and the people that make it – is amazing.
Avoid fast food at all costs. No really, at all costs.
Eat in season. Hybridized, imported, picked-before-ripe watery tomatoes never did anyone any good.
Experiment. Play in the kitchen. Enjoy the process of figuring out what makes your body and mind feel good.
Stop drinking soft drinks. Seriously, what is this, the 1990s?
Eat less meat. Go vegan a few days a week. We all could do with a little less meat and dairy in our diets.
Slow down and take the time that real eating deserves. Eating isn’t a task to put on your to-do list.
Eating well is a process, and if you need a week long detox to hit the “reset” button once in awhile, that’s fine. But if we depend on one-off diets to guide our health, we’re missing out on the bigger picture. Here’s to celebrating a good journey of food discovery.
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This is the latest installment of Anna Brones’ weekly column at EcoSalon: Foodie Underground, an exploration of what’s new and different in the underground movement, and how we make the topic of good food more accessible to everyone. More musings on the topic can be found at www.foodieunderground.com.
Image: Dan Zen