Go ahead and eat whatever you want.
Yes, that is health advice.
Hear me out.
There are too many precious moments and there is not enough brainpower to force unnecessary restrictions on ourselves.
How can this be healthy for us?
It can be, so long as you set an appropriate foundation for yourself.
Long time readers will know that I adhere to The Caruso Foundation, which includes whole foods (or minimally processed whole foods), no added sugars and no grains.
From there, it’s party time.
I eat whatever I want from that list, whenever I feel like it.
I try to start off with certain foods to ensure I fit them in and “crowdforce” any less healthy foods off my plate, but beyond that, I have made my diet flexible.
Have you ever participated in or witnessed “The Diet Wars”?
That is what I have come to call the constant battles and insult competitions that brew online between all the different dietary sects.
Yes, those do exist, they are sects, and sometimes their followers are more ardent than the world’s oldest religions.
Let me break down The Diet Wars for you.
They go a little something like this.
The “Standard American Dieters” eat whatever is put in front of them and are fat and happy.
The Paleos and the Ketos are doing well for themselves and are pretty busy subjecting their followers to strict purity tests to bother with the outsiders.
The Carnivores are busy hating the vegans.
And the Vegans are busy hating everybody.
Raise your hand if you know this is true.
So, what does any of this have to do with restriction?
All too often, members of each of these sects become so ardent that they prescribe their way of life to be the perfect fit for everybody.
This is simply not true.
There are cases where each of these diets is a perfect fit for certain individuals. Often times those individuals are dealing with their own health issues which are unique to them, their genetic coding, their history, and may be solved by adherence to one of these diets.
And God bless them!
But that does not mean they are for everybody. Perhaps what is good for the goose is not always good for the gander!
(We’ll never know because no one actually knows what a gander is.)
In general, we are capable of consuming a wide variety of foods. So it is nonsensical to assume that there are entire categories (with the exception of processed foods) that are “uneatable”.
This one’s for you, fruit and vegetable haters.
Besides that, restricting yourself from eating a food that you enjoy takes unnecessary willpower and mental/emotional strain. We only have so much of willpower and mental/emotional strength.
Life can be stressful enough without adding additional stressors on your own shoulders.
We may even find out one day that mismanaged stress has caused more dis-ease than processed foods could shake a fist at.
Don’t be your own worst enemy
In fact, some research has shown the risk of depression goes up with each food that is restricted.
To me it’s no wonder.
Consider the social aspect to eating.
If you can eat something, and doing so gives you the opportunity to either bless or be blessed by someone, I believe you should do it.
For instance, my mother passed away several years ago.
I would cherish an opportunity to break bread and eat bacon (both foods I try to avoid) with her if I could.
Some things are just more important. And unless I am one of those people who must adhere to a strict diet to heal or keep a disorder at bay, I can recover from some off-list social eating.
So leave some room in your life for some fun. Maybe restrict that fun to times when you are able to forge and build relationships with other people.
The mental, emotional, social, and even health benefits of such things will far outweigh any adherence to diet ideology ever could.
(Yes, your mental and emotional health does have a direct and profound impact on your physical health. Do NOT ignore it!)
There is room for sensible restriction
For instance, many of you may have spouses who you appreciate you just the one.
And that restriction adds to your life (having a positive relationship rather than a negative one).
Restricting plant foods from your life because you’re convinced fructose and anti-nutrients will make you overweight and diseased?
Unless you have a condition where you’re better off without it, restricting it adds nothing to your life.
Except stress, unnecessarily difficult social situations, and increased difficulty in finding takeout.
Worse, it may prevent you from getting to know a great vegan, bridging a divide, and potentially making a great new friend who will add more to your existence than meat ever could.
Not a net plus.
So, for me, I will stick to my foundation.
I will prioritize (see crowdforcing) super foods that have been shown scientifically to be a boost or potential boost to my health.
And I will give myself the opportunity to eat foods “off the list” with friends and loved ones whenever called upon.
We will smile, laugh, and share hugs and great stories.
Because those memories and relationships are worth far more than any level of self-satisfaction I could have received from an arbitrary restriction.
Besides, patting yourself on the back becomes much more difficult after you’ve put yourself through unnecessary stress.
So here’s the deal. I’m eating an amazing, super abundant diet in my daily life. And I’m reaping all the health benefits that come from that. And I encourage you to do the same.
I’m also not restricting myself. So I’m reaping all the mental benefits that come from that. All social situations are an option for me.
So if my family or friends invite me out for deep dish pizza, you can bet that I will be in my car seconds later. I’ll be that guy drooling up until the moment the pizza is put in front of me.
(Don’t expect glistening conversation until I’ve eaten. Anything you get beforehand is a bonus.)
And I’ll be happy as can be and healthy as can be to boot.
So eat well. Check out the database here and anywhere else you can find good information to help you create the best diet for yourself. Then enjoy the abundance and health that whole foods can give you.
But leave room for yourself to have fun and enjoy your life.
With fruits and vegetables.
And pizza, of course.
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