WELL & GOOD
FORCE YOURSELF EAT A CERTAIN WAY AND YOU WILL LIKELY FAIL. TRY GIVING YOURSELF A LITTLE WIGGLE ROOM INSTEAD
Dr Libby on a new way of eating
THERE SEEMS TO be a name for every way of eating. Your diet might be described as vegetarian or vegan or – even more specifically – lacto-ovo-vegetarian, pescatarian or paleo. But while it’s fantastic when people take an active interest in their well-being, the labels usually come with strict rules and are often unsustainable unless followed with deep commitment. A set of criteria concerning what’s acceptable and what’s not can help some to stay focused. But it may be completely off the mark for others, setting them up for feeling as if they have failed if it doesn’t have the desired effect, or they can’t stick to it. When someone else has told you to eat in a certain way, you are less likely to commit to it than if the choice arose from your own desire to care for yourself and/or the planet. If you need a label for how you eat try “flexitarian” or “qualitarian” and embrace the traits these names suggest.
The concept of being a flexitarian is about listening to what will best serve your body, health, energy and even your spiritual practice. When you are hungry you have an awareness of what will best serve your needs and you subsequently choose this. (Note: this doesn’t mean that taste buds rule the decision- making. It is about being in touch with what your body wants for its best nourishment.) Anyone can adopt the principles of being a flexitarian and it simply means you don’t have stringent rules. It means that most of the time you make nutrient-dense food choices, yet if you catch up with your best friend on a Friday night and eat takeaways you don’t beat yourself up for a less nourishing choice, nor does it mean you eat fast food every night for the next week. When approaching nourishment, a flexitarian may just hold to the idea of having high standards. In other words, you choose not to eat that highly processed, sugar and preservative-laden snack not because someone told you not to but because it doesn’t serve your health, quality of life or your longevity. That same flexitarian may also choose to approach celebrations and special occasions with a more relaxed attitude, understanding it’s what we do every day, not occasionally, that impacts our health. Feeling guilty about the odd poor-quality food choice does nothing for your health either.
Hi Dr Libby There’s a lot of confusion in the media about the best eating are plan to follow. What this? your thoughts on
WORDS DR LIBBY BHSci ( N& D) ( Hons) PhD