When I am at a party or an event and refuse a tasty treat or a glass of wine, I am often told "well, it’s all about moderation." I even find myself telling my children that they have to have balance in their diet: they must eat healthy foods before they can eat candy. These things are true, BUT what I worry about is that these terms indicate that the junk food is important, that the chemical laden processed food is as important as the healthy food and that it needs to be part of the balance. We have this idea in our head that in order to truly be healthy we need to eat bad food "in moderation" in order to achieve balance in our lifestyle.
TRUTH: Your body is better off if you never eat junk food. If you
never eat one iota of junk food your body will function best and your
energy levels will be optimized.
TRUTH: Our children would be better off if they never had a donut,
if artificial colors never passed their palate, and sugar were only
consumed in its whole form (like fruit).
So why do we continue to tell ourselves that moderation of unhealthy foods is necessary? I am the first to admit that I love sweets, I want them, I crave them, I give into them sometimes when I am ‘treating’ myself. I let my children have sweets and crackers. But, I do not kid myself that this is what’s best for my body.
So where do these ideas come from? They come from a place that is stronger and more determined than the actual needs of our bodies. We’re so over-saturated with color and sugar and salt addictions that we’ve let ourselves believe that we need to eat poorly sometimes to be healthy. The real balance we seek should be a mind body balance that can relieve us from the feeling that we need garbage in our body to feel satisfied. We need to rewire our brains to look at every bite as a chance to treat our bodies properly, and that a balance of healthy foods is what we need to feel satisfied.
The bottom line is this: you can have treats occasionally without being detrimental to your health. You can make good choices without making the best choices and still have a healthy lifestyle. I am not giving up treats. I am not asking you to. But I would like to get out of our heads the concept that we need bad food in moderation to achieve balance. I believe this leads to the over-consumption of junk food, and ultimately keeps us from achieving our goals.