recently I wrote this op ed for the Equinox web magazine Furthermore.
it’s called “just eat the pizza” and the title alone encompasses some of what my nutrition philosophy continues to evolve to these days. And that’s not to say I think people should eat pizza all day, every day – though it is delicious – but to try and avoid putting foods like pizza into certain categories (“bad” or “good”) or to always be striving to eat only things that are deemed “clean”, superlatively healthy, or whatever your definition of “perfect” eating is. Goals like this can come from the best of intentions – to feel better, perform better, etc. – but can so often traverse into more of a restrictive eating pattern, fuel a very destructive diet mentality and lead to disordered eating.
super delicious “earth mother” pizza from two boots with broccoli, spinach, mushroom, jalapeño, tomato and REAL cheese
even though I like the social medias like Instagram as much as the next person, I think it can absolutely fuel disordered and restrictive eating patterns and almost normalize them to a really vulnerable population. The problem stems from what makes Instagram and other social and digital media platforms what they are – pretty much anyone can say anything, especially when it comes to food and nutrition because most people have an opinion. Distinguishing between opinions and evidence-based facts gets so muddled and for the most part, doesn’t seem to matter so much. And if you take pretty pictures of your meals highlighting what they are “free” in, like grains, dairy, gluten, sugar, etc., these must be “bad” for whatever reason and you must know what you’re talking about when it comes to health, right?
something I saw recently that has been promoted by a heavily followed young RD (this is so disappointing), celebrity “nutritionist” and a popular health website is a week-long “sugar detox,” to help show people the “dangers” of added sugars in certain foods. Huh? It’s never necessary to do a “sugar detox” to become aware of added sugars in foods – especially to the people who are following these folks and reading the website in the first place. They probably already know! This is fear mongering, and another way to normalize restrictive eating patterns and diet mentality under the guise of something that sounds positive and “healthy.”
Let’s be real here – the added sugar in ketchup is not going to hurt you. But stressing about things like that absolutely can.
nutella and banana crepe. with added sugars. and also palm oil. unless you’re eating it all day, every day, it’s fine. really.
that’s just one example of the crazy things I’ve seen recently on social and digital media, and they just keep coming! I don’t follow a whole lot of these accounts, and I’m kind of torn when it comes to unfollowing them all, or checking in to see what’s happening every now and then because I’m bound to get questions from patients and clients about this stuff and it helps to be aware. Does anyone else feel me here?
if I could shout one thing from the rooftops (or the social medias, heh), it’s that you don’t have to eat super “clean”, restrict food groups, and police every bite that goes into your mouth to feel good in your body, perform well athletically and live a long, happy life. You just don’t. And if you obsess over that stuff day in and day out, you’re missing out on a lot of actual living. Because in a world where there are no “good” or “bad” foods, eating can’t be perfect or imperfect, it’s just there to enjoy. And when that happens, there’s so much more space to have fun and explore the things that will make you a truly happy, healthy person.
so interested in hearing thoughts on this, if you’re still out there 🙂