It’s time to break free from rules! Especially when it comes to food – what’s “healthy” today may not be “healthy” tomorrow. Our bodies and minds need a break from all the mental chatter. This episode is about understanding when it’s time to take a break from clean eating because there comes a tipping point where clean eating becomes a poison of sorts.
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Favorite nutrition advice, ever.
The last time I met with one of my clients, we decided that her best course of action was to buy some great gin. She loved to have a drink now and then – gin was her favorite. It also felt like she needed to eat some chocolate covered almonds.
And instead of worrying about cooking? At this particular point in her life…Indian takeout sounded like a very good move.
This isn’t standard.
If you’ve ever seen a nutritionist, you know that pizza or Indian takeout is not standard advice.
But I’m not a nutritionist.
I work with the whole woman, her whole story, and I gotta tell you…sometimes takeout really IS the healthiest thing we can do for ourselves.
See, anything in excess is a poison.
Ever heard that saying?
Or sometimes it’s: Anything in excess becomes its opposite.
The idea comes from Carl Yung, and before him from the Buddha.
This is exactly what I see happening with “clean eating” and “clean food.” It’s good. It’s important.
But in excess? Total poison.
It may be time to give clean eating a break.
I say this as a woman who has spent over a decade teaching people how to eat clean. I eat kale for breakfast, make homemade chicken stock, shop organic and all the rest.
And changing my diet really, truly, changed my life. As far as I’m concerned, there’s no place for artificial colors or artificial flavors or preservatives in what we eat. And I can go WEEKS without touching processed sugar.
Give it a break.
We’re trying really hard to eat the right things and not eat the wrong things and oh my god how was this animal product sourced and maybe I should go back to being vegan except even plants, hello, how are they harvested and are the workers getting a fair wage and…and…and…
You see it, right?
Good intentions. But there’s a tipping point where clean eating gets dirty.
Holy RULES we have for ourselves, especially as women. Talk about stress!
Women are WAY too concerned with what to eat or not eat.
And it can consume you, just like typical dieting. Just like worrying about choosing the perfect mascara for my eyelash type or do these jeans make my butt look good?
While, hello, there are MUCH BIGGER ISSUES TO WORRY ABOUT in your life and in this world.
It keeps us really small to be so very, very concerned about the ingredients in our food and details of the entire supply chain.
Is clean eating important?
Are there other things that are more important?
Especially at certain points in our lives when we are already chronically stressed out, trying to succeed or at least stay afloat in so many areas of our lives.
To be fair…clean eating does make you feel better. It helps fuel you to surf the waves of life instead of getting dragged under.
I know. I’m there. 100%.
And yet, at the same time, what I see women needing, desiring, aching for, more than anything is….
A damn break.
More than anything, we need permission to not be perfect.
It’s the weight of perfectionism that’s killing us.
Food doesn’t need to add to the mental load.
I tell my clients who don’t eat meat…eat a little meat, if you’ve been feeling tired. Your body may need that right now.
I tell my clients who don’t eat carbs…have a sweet potato, would ya??
And my clients who don’t dare let pizza touch their lips but wonder why they are consumed with anxiety at every turn…dear god, order the pizza, get a calzone, eat it, have a beer, get back to me.
You’re going to feel better.
Don’t even tell me about your gluten intolerance or dairy issues.
Ok, maybe those things. But for REAL?
The stress and restriction around food is likely doing more harm than a meal where you eat cheese and are happy for a change.
(I’m going to get a slew of emails from readers who go eat a calzone today and have terrible diarrhea and get mad like, “Michelle this is why I eat clean!!!” So yeah. I know. I’m not suggesting you eat food that is going to make you feel terrible. I’m just suggesting that you loosen your grip on the reins, a little. And maybe a little more than that. And…a little more.)
Especially if you’ve been eating clean for awhile, a cool thing happens.
Your body heals
Years ago, I could not eat cheese. I could not even think about a glass of milk without getting a stomach ache.
Ice cream, forget it.
I thought I was lactose intolerant, because that’s what people said. And I suppose I was intolerant of dairy to whatever degree. Maybe the lactose, maybe the casein.
But not because I am inherently a person who cannot digest milk.
It’s because my system was such a mess from years of processed food and sugar and alcohol and most of all – STRESS.
Guess what I can do now?
I can eat all the cheese, all the ice cream, I can drink the milk, and I’m ok. My gut has healed.
And that’s a glorious thing.
Question the rules.
Question the rules that other people make. You know, like “carbs are bad.”
Question the rules that YOU’VE made. Maybe being vegetarian really worked for you in your 20’s, but now you’re in your 40’s and having symptoms and, well…
Question the rules that you have to eat clean or else you’re a terrible human being. (I mean, come on. There are some reallllllly terrible people out there and it’s not because they bought Atlantic farmed salmon when they should have bought wild caught Alaskan.)
Out with the rules and restrictions.
In with good common sense and being able to breathe.
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