What's Healthy Anyway?
Updated: May 11, 2021
It only seems fitting to open the new blog with an updated version of my very first post from last year. Enjoy!
I'm kicking off the blog by addressing the most common line of questions I get asked as a dietitian:
"What's a healthy food I should be eating?"
"What's the number one food I should avoid?"
"What food is gonna help me lose weight?"
Basically what all these questions boil down to is: What's Healthy Anyway??
So here's the answer: Nutrition isn't black and white.
“Good food” is food that you enjoy either because it tastes good or because it is nourishing to your body (or both!). The only “bad” food is food that you don’t truly enjoy. This may be food that you feel obligated to eat because it’s supposedly healthy or food that you eat mindlessly without reflecting on if you truly enjoy it.
The overall quality of your diet has nothing to do with this food or that food. Apples are great, sure, but if you eat two every day and then have a bunch of berries and maybe some watermelon you might be missing out on healthy fats and protein. And a well marbled steak might be high in saturated fat and calories but a 4oz portion with some roasted asparagus would actually make for a pretty healthful meal.
I often get asked more specific nutrition questions like “is it ok to be drinking cow’s milk?” or “should I be buying free range chicken?” I have longer answers to all these questions. And while I’m happy to talk about these topics the reality is – for most people – cow’s milk is not the problem. When we get too focused on the minutia of nutrition it can seem impossible to eat healthfully. This is especially true if we’re trying to follow a restrictive diet.
Because if broccoli has too many carbs for a Keto diet and black beans aren’t Paleo then fuck it, let's just have pizza.
The point is nutrition doesn’t come down to this food or that food. It’s about looking at all the foods we eat on a regular basis and examining, overall, the quality of what we’re eating. If you’re looking for a place to start it’s actually pretty simple:
Eat when you're hungry and stop eating when you’re full.
Eat what you honestly enjoy.
Eat foods that make you feel good physically and mentally.
The next time you’re confronted with a news story or a Facebook post about bananas/GMO’s/wild caught salmon I hope you’ll keep this post in the back of your mind. Because what’s healthy anyway? isn’t actually so complicated.