I often raise an eyebrow when a new dietary theory makes one swift blanket statement about “devil-like” foods, using scare tactics. Maybe it’s just me, but this can cause food anxiety to slowly creep in. Don’t get me wrong, there are some foods that every person would do well without (transfats, white sugar, etc) but even then, most of the time it is the dose that makes the poison. Sometimes we just need to relax.
There are nuggets of wisdom in all dietary protocols.
Every theory has its take away point. Take a no-fat diet or the no carb-diet, for example. These are examples of interesting and potentially healing theories gone a bit extreme. For most health-conscious people, being so strict is unnecessary. There are of course, special exceptions…
When “Strict” actually works:
More rigorous or strict protocols can actually be therapeutic to a degree in certain cases. It is important to respect and appreciate this. A person suffering from candida (yeast overgrowth) in their body may find much success avoiding grains and sweet fruit for a duration of time, while they heal their gut. Another person who eats a diet rich in meats, fat, and fried foods may do very well adhering to a raw foods diet for a period of time, for it’s cleansing, expansive, and alkaline-forming qualities.
But for most people, eating some leafy greens, having a fresh juice a couple times a week, and simply upgrading the quality of foods one already enjoys can really do wonders. And can still leave room for chocolate.
Yet we still resist this
The problem is many people don’t like this nutritional “grey zone” and actually prefer the dietary rules, plans, and protocols because, let’s face it, plans make us feel safe. Ironically though, the strict plans may actually cause far MORE anxiety instead of less. They are either on-the-program or off or it. (Exploring the reasons around this is best saved for another post.)
I am noticing a significant increase in the number of women that voice concern regarding whether or not “it’s okay” to eat grains.
Prior to this concern about grains specifically, much of the concern was around carbohydrates in general, like the carbohydrates in, say, a banana. Women were worried about eating too much fruit. Now they are less worried about eating too much fruit and more worried about too much brown rice or quinoa. Do you see how nutritional theory and beliefs ebb and flows?
What to do??
Get curious, instead of anxious.
If you are currently eating grains, why not start by upgrading? This may mean you choose whole, gluten-free grains like brown rice or quinoa, instead of rice cakes, cereal, and crackers. I have yet to witness a body that responds poorly to whole foods upgrades in their diet.
If you are curious about how your body will respond to a grain-free diet, try that too! Following a protocol without awareness and self-reflection, is pointless though. So pay attention. Release the cloud of anxiety that hangs over head called “weight loss” and allow the sun to shine the light of awareness onto your physical experience with food.
As I made the transition to 100% permission-based eating (sounds fun, doesn’t it?) I noticed that I am not drawn to grains as much as I used to be, but plugging them into my diet here and there, helps support my digestion as well as balances my mood. There are times that I want a big bowl of rice with vegetables, or a rice cake with sunflower seed butter – so I have it!
Most people just want proof that they can have more freedom around food with any terrible happening to their health or their bodies.
The body is one big science experiment. Make all foods neutral. Give them an equal playing field. Play scientist.
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