In Nutrition

“Come On, You Need To Live A Little”

“You deserve to have a life.” 

Have you heard that? Jennifer did. More than once. So when your friends want to go to a BBQ spot or a diner (a couple of the least likely places you’ll find a gluten-free and nutrient-dense meal) how do you respond?

Are you being over-the-top?

There’s that side. The argument goes that you can’t expect to eat healthy 100% of the time. You’re obsessing about food choices if you don’t go where the party goes. Everyone else is doing it, so what is the big deal. It’s you whose nuts. Your family may not have adopted the healthy choices you’ve taken to or can’t decipher from eating disorder and the realistic gut-driven or inflammation-inspired choices you’re making to leave dairy or gluten behind.

You, after all got along fine all those years, is it really so bad? Definitely there’s a bit of health food shame. Who do you think you are, after all? Because, well if what you say is true then the others around you are doing themselves harm. Knowingly. And they don’t like it. So it’s easier to have you be the odd one out.

For someone who has realized that sugar is an insulin and blood sugar nightmare and is trying to remove simple carbs a BBQ place is not super friendly. The BBQ meat the least of evils is slathered in a sugar-rich sauce before you can get to it. It’s marinated, basted, and  then served with extra should you come part way out of your sugar coma and realize it. Then there’s the potato salad or the baked bean. The slight resemblance to greens in the cole slaw is hard to distinguish for the creamy, sugary, base it’s soaking in.

That post meal hangover would have someone who avoids that type of food 24/7 364 feeling bloated, lethargic and probably sleepless. A hangover without having had the fun since, your friends were encouraging you to binge.

Are they really friends? 

Is the testimonial to eating whatever you want in order to have the “good life” really what a friend does? Is that about them or about you? Do they feel threatened, questioned or judged so they’re turning it back on you?

This happens at any age, really. Jennifer is in her sixties. Still her choices are questioned by peers. My mom is 89. She’ll play bridge tomorrow afternoon because that’s what you do on Fridays when you’re 89. When you play bridge someone will have dessert duty. When my mom passes on dessert she’ll take the heat.

Now, she’s realized that her digestion is better since she’s taken out sugars and gluten and most grains. She’s stopped eating her beloved granola (and the grams of sugar that went with it). Yep, 89 and gluten-free, that’s a little progressive for her bridge table.

What happened to unconditional love? Non-judgmental friends who let you make your choices as long as they didn’t hurt you (and wouldn’t you think especially if they help you?) are hard to come by when it gets to food.

Is it emotional? For them?

Are you questioning everything they ever believed and so in challenging that manifesto you’re rocking their boat?

Where do I stand?

Every day I feel stronger that “everything in moderation” is making us sick. People use it as an excuse to drink wine and still complain about the belly fat or lethargic way they feel about physical activity. They draw the line at the health habits they like and continue to feed children sugary treats ignoring the higher health risk to kids today than was present decades ago.

We’re all subject to much too much toxic stress for our bodies to handle. It’s leading to adrenal fatigue, poor liver functioning, and contributing to thyroid disease. We have more cancer now than ever, heart disease is shifting the needle only slightly and obesity is still much too high.

Gut health is a first responder. If you’re compromising it with the foods you put in you compromise the rest. It’s ridiculous to think we put vitamins on our kitchen counters and shop ourselves away at Whole Foods for organics all the while we continue with the immediate habits that likely do the most damage.

I think you have to look at the statistics in America. Then you look at the restaurants in America. You look at the habits of Americans. And you run the other way. You do say no. You do say, “I’ve already eaten but I’d love to join you.”

There are too many food sensitivities out there and they’re individual. In general none of us looks or feels better with sugar. It’s linked to many diseases. We’ve got to turn the corner on thinking that what got you here will get you better. If you have to stand against the current to do that then I wish you strength. It’s going to take a lot more of us to work against a food industry that’s making it harder, supported by marketing messages that hit hardest when we’re weak.

It’s your turn. Have you ever been health food shamed? Or shamed someone else now that you see though you didn’t at the time?

~Debra


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