The concept of a “healthy diet” can mean very different things depending on who you talk to and, as you know, there is no shortage of conflicting accounts.
There is, of course, the FDA and their conventional guidelines, and all the “gurus” advocating thisand that with loads of pseudo science and anecdotal evidence to support their claims. This gamut of philosophies ranges from broad scope lifestyle approaches such as macrobiotics, vegetarianism, veganism, raw foodists, nutritional blood typing and metabolic typing, the paleolithic diet, locavore-ism, to commercial fad diets such as Atkins, South Beach, the Hollywood Diet, and so many more including endless combinations, hybrids, and variations.
Every one of these diets directly or indirectly points to the core issue of health. Health, in and of itself, is a very nebulous term and can also mean different things to different people depending on the weightiness of different influences including commercial, spiritual, social, ecological, religious, political, biological, moral, etc. Even these major influences tend to bleed out and mix into each other to degrees that make them indistinguishable from one another.
There are no absolutes
Humans are so adaptable and pliable and there is so much variation between individuals and their environments that there are endless approaches to good nutrition with excellent potential for optimal health. Furthermore, the Earth, our bodies, and reality in general are so vast, complex, and dynamic, that no amount of science and rational argument can ever nail down a definitive methodology.
So then, how can “eating healthy” hurt you? When doing so leaves you stressed out, feeling guilty, and miserable.
With that said, there is one key to vibrant health and nutrition that trumps all others . . . HAPPINESS.
What does this mean?
Can I eat anything as long as it makes me happy?
Not exactly. In fact, it’s really the other way around. Happiness is the ultimate compass to health. Therefore, as long as you are happy, you know you will be on the right track. If your state of happiness is maintained or improved by eating a strict diet of plant matter, or raw foods, or Chinese food, or whatever, that’s good. Your body will tell you what feels good and what it needs.
What your nutritionist won’t tell you
The trouble arises when your dietary/lifestyle choices are fueled by unhappy thoughts and feelings. Religious/moral, political, and commercially driven thoughts and choices tend to be the worst offenders as they generally have a healthy dose of control through fear and brainwashing. Avoiding a certain action because of a negative consequence is highly motivating for many, but also highly destructive in that they create a foundation of fear, anger, and resentment. All emotions serve a purpose to our benefit and fear and anger certainly have their place in helping us achieve health, but to be driven by them habitually is a certain road to misery and disease.
Thoughts such as “I can’t eat that because it will make me fat,” or “I can’t eat this because it is sinful,” or “eating this will promote suffering,” or “eating this food encourages deforestation,” are all thoughts that are ultimately destructive to oneself and our global consciousness.
Identifying the root
That’s not to say that being overfat and deforestation aren’t undesirable things, but rather that these thoughts point to the effect rather than the cause of the issue. The cause is, quite often, usually not what we think it is. It’s probably not really the extra pounds one might be carrying or the greenhouse gas buildup in the atmosphere that are the crux of the matter. It goes much deeper than that. We’re talking about spiritual/emotional issues that MUST be addressed FIRST or, at the very least, in conjunction with the symptoms.
I can already hear the nutrition police and all manner of activists knocking at the door wagging fingers and lecturing about how uninformed this approach is.
The reality is that perpetually unhappy people do things that are destructive to themselves and others. Sometimes it might not be so obvious, especially when the destructive action is hidden under the guise of a “good cause” and compelling logic, but the core issue remains the same . . . and I’m not just referring to food and diet.
Cultivating Happiness for good nutrition
However one decides to look at it, good nutrition is a natural consequence of a healthy Mind and Spirit so stop looking for the next trendy program, miracle cure, or radical lifestyle change and instead find and cultivate the happiness that is already a part of you! Be happy with what you eat or don’t eat it.