NZ Life & Leisure - - Contents -

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.

Get con­nected

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

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