If it tastes good, spit it out?

Have you ever had a delicious, crisp, perfect apple in the fall? Remember the taste of homegrown tomatoes in the summer? Few would argue that these two examples of healthy food don’t taste fabulous. So should you spit them out? Of course not. 

As a registered dietitian for more than 20 years, I continue to be dismayed at how food which is so pleasurable has turned into something so negative.

Nutrition has become too black and white. Foods are categorized as good or bad. This narrow thinking is so far off the mark of what nutrition and healthy eating is really about. 

It seems that so many of us feel guilty when we eat a so-called “bad” food, but then we feel deprived when we eat a so-called “good” food. This certainly takes the pleasure out of eating.

Why can’t we get just as excited about fresh blueberries as we do about kettle popcorn at the fair? Something has gone terribly wrong throughout the years. Obesity continues to increase at alarming rates despite the fact that so many people are dieting. It seems that we are either on a restrictive, depriving diet or we are binging on high fat, high sugar foods. Maybe nutrition hasn’t become black and white so much as our attitude about food has.

This restrictive thinking is taking the joy right out of eating.

Today, there is a lot of research demonstrating that the more positive you feel about food, the more likely you are to eat in moderation, consume a healthier diet and maintain a healthy weight. Rather than following food rules, what would happen if you legalized all food, but ate in moderation by listening to your hunger and fullness cues? 

I know. It’s a scary thought to trust your instincts and throw away the food rules of good vs. bad. We should try to get back to the old concept of eating when we are hungry and stopping when we are full. Reduce the distractions while you eat and focus on the enjoyment of food.

Feel good about ALL food. Legalizing bad foods will make them less important and less tempting.  Try to get just as excited about the “good food” as you would the “bad food.”

So, you may not be fond of Brussels’ sprouts. I bet you can find plenty of healthy foods to get excited about if you worked on your overall attitude about food. As they say, attitude is everything and if you think about food in a more positive way it will help to put the pleasure back into eating.