Sunday, April 21, 2013

Why this Health Food Nut is a little less Nutty..or Why I'm Unliking a Bunch of Stuff on Facebook

Most people who know me, know that I'm really into natural health and medicine, home remedies, supplements and healthy eating.  You've got a cold or mastitis or sinus infection or eczema or warts, or psoriasis or constipation or canker sores or allergies...I've got a home remedy for that. 

I've spent way too much time reading and learning about healthy name a food trend....juicing, green smoothies, paleo, traditional foods, vegan, raw, macrobiotic, fermented foods, soaking grains, perfect health diet, gluten-free...I've heard about it, read about it and probably even tried it to some extent.

My Facebook newsfeed was cluttered with updates from all these different natural health foods and bloggers...Natural News, Natural Health Society, All Diseases Begin in the Gut, Heal Thyself,...I could go on and on.

Every day I'd read more about the dangers of GMO's and fluoride and non-organic, conventionally raised food, and BPA's and THC's and XYZ's and microwaves and cell phones and wireless internet and oh..just about everything else that makes life even remotely easy. 

 Not to mention all the confusing information...grains are good, but you have to soak them....grains are bad, avoid at all costs.  Beans are good, if you soak and sprout them....beans are bad..just eat meat, coconut  oil and vegetables. Dairy is evil and increases inflammation....dairy is good as long as it is raw, grass-fed and from happy cows named Daisy.  Meat is evil...meat is great and you can live off bacon..   Honey is great for you....except when it's not.  Vegetable oils are good...vegetable oils are evil...except for coconut oil which is the holy grail of oils.  Vegan only is the way to go,...except  eggs are the most healthful food on long as they come from free-range chickens that eat only organic grass and bugs and run around in fields all day happily doing the chicken dance.    

And then there are the recipes.  No, making cauliflower wraps is NOT have to pulse the cauliflower and then steam it and then wring it out and form it and bake it....and that's just to make ONE wrap.   Or the infamous recipe for cauliflower pizza crust....which uses a boatload of mozzarella and takes a ton of time...and is way harder than making your own pizza crust with flour.   And, apparently everything has to be soaked before eating...grains, nuts, beans...and if you sprout it, it's even better.

Finally, there comes a point when it's time to say enough.   For me, that point came when I looked on Facebook and saw a recipe for chocolate placenta truffles.   Now, I love me some chocolate truffles...but placenta truffles??!?!?!?  Really?!?!?!?  Not even I am that crazy.    So, I'm unliking a bunch of stuff.  I don't want to be bombarded with 3,000,000,000 reasons why GMO's will kill us, and plastic is evil, or why I should spend hours each week driving around to 15 different farms in pursuit of raw, healthy, organic, pure foods that were picked 15 minutes ago.  I just want to feed my family healthy food.  Don't worry, we still avoid processed foods, we still eat all real food.  And, I still make my own deodorant.  But, I refuse to be wracked with guilt because our eggs are from the supermarket or our apples aren't organic or that I don't have the money to spend on an expensive filter to remover fluoride from our water..  At this point in our lives...with (very) limited funds and limited ability to grow anything ourselves...this is the best we can do.

When you run in natural health circles, you tend to know lots of crunchy, healthy, natural-health oriented people.  And, it's great to be healthy...but there comes a point where health becomes a God, and there is this futile pursuit to cheat death.   Eat this to prevent aging.  Eat that to avoid cancer.  This person eats like this and is running marathons at age 95.   Why anyone would want to run a marathon at age 95 is beyond me? If I make it to age 95, I figured I'll have earned the right to sit around and watch TV all day.   

I recently read this article by Dr. Steven Bratman, who coined the term orthorexia.  Orthorexia is an eating disorder categorized by an extreme obsession with healthy and pure eating.  Now,  I've never gone this far, or actually suffered from this and I am NOT saying that everyone who is interested in healthy eating has an eating disorder.  But some might...
This line from the article, especially resonated with me:

I was eventually saved from the doom of eternal health-
food addiction through two fortuitous events. The first occurred when my guru in eating--a vegan headed toward fruitarianism--suddenly abandoned his quest. "A revelation came to me last night in a dream," he said. "Rather than eat my sprouts alone, it would be better for me to share a pizza with some friends."

And, that really hit me.  Because our mental and emotional health is just as important as our physical health.  So, if healthy eating causes too much stress and worry and anxiety..or is isolating..then maybe it's not so healthy after all?  And, I was constantly stressed and worried and anxious over our non-organic food.

So, we will still eat healthy.  We will still avoid chemicals and junk and processed stuff.   We still eats tons of vegetables and fruits and only real food. But I'm giving myself permission to not feel guilty over the non-organic lettuce and regular milk.
  And, we're still basically gluten-free...but I've been testing the girls to see how they react to occasional gluten.  The jury is still out on Heidi (headaches and stomachaches we're trying to pin down)...but Greta seems to do just fine with occasional gluten. And, I'm going to be carefully testing myself.   Because, I want us to share pizza with's better than eating sprouts alone.
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  1. The GMO meme posts make me want to hyperventilate.

    We're taking a modified approach too now that we know that Patrick is not allergic to wheat. We're trying it out once a month. So far it makes Mae into a crazy person, and Paul had the worst migraine of all time at it being reintroduced... I just don't feel as great. If it weren't for the dairy I would totally eat pizza And I'm really hoping goat cheese is going to be okay, because then at least I can pretend it's a normal pizza!

    Anyways, I can totally understand unliking stuff. I mean, I've recently liked a lot of allergy stuff, but I'm not sure if I'm going to keep it on there much longer because the horror stories that are on my news feed daily cause me to be way too stressed each time I see them!

  2. You are SO right - people make healthy eating and working out their God, to grasp at eternal life - instead of accepting it as a free gift offered by Jesus. Don't get me wrong...obviously it's good to take care of yourself. But seriously - people need to chill out.

    I am convinced if most people just kicked out highly processed foods, fast food, and soda, and then added in tons of veggies and good protein, we'd see a huge drop in food-related illnesses. Regardless of organic or whatever, if people just made the simplest change, I think we as a society would see huge results.

  3. "So, if healthy eating causes too much stress and worry and anxiety..or is isolating..then maybe it's not so healthy after all?"


  4. Love this. In the last week, I had my brother (a doctor) and another doctor say that they are so sick of gluten free diets. YES there are people who have celiac's disease and are allergic to gluten, but for the other people who think they are sensitive to gluten - they should just reduce their gluten intake, not avoid it entirely. It's something that struck me because I tried to go gluten free as so many people seemed to be shouting it from their rooftops, and it didn't make a difference with me at all. The thing that did help? eating more fruits and veggies and real foods and not eating junk food and sugar. Of course I felt better! I think that's what happens to so many people who go gluten free - they feel better, but mostly because they are eating a healthier diet! I don't want to start a big gluten debate, I just think eating healthier real foods is the way to go, but like you said, not if you become obsessed with it. Moderation = happiness :)

  5. I enjoyed this blog, Amelia! Most 90 year olds I have come across have lived that long due to moderation in everything. Good friends and good food just make me happy :) I am glad I get to follow your blog with the five other people once you move. And, dang, you look good on Sundays! I love getting to dress up for something, too. Most days, it's a t-shirt and jeans. See you at the park tomorrow- Lorraine

  6. Great post! I've watched and read a lot of conflicting stuff regarding what's healthy and what's going to definitely give you "cancer"...I know I can still work on feeding my family healthier, but I'm not going to feel guilty if I can't afford a pantry stocked from Whole Foods. And my husbands family is all Italian, I have to eat pizza!

  7. (Just clicking through some of your posts after reading the vaccine one.) This one is great! You've got some wonderful insights, and such a balanced perspective, and THAT is much appreciated!


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