Misconceptions of “Healthy”
If you’re a person from the millennial generation, you’re probably familiar with Instagram hashtags of #health and #fitness, which would quickly bring you up to speed on what most people think health is. The reality is, health actually has nothing to do with image, but is defined as the state of being free from illness or injury.
Kim Kardashian’s Instagram ad for Flat Tummy Co resurfaced again for the new year *face palm*. Celebrities promoting products from pseudoscience weight loss companies (Read: What is pseudoscience?) that promise flat tummies and rapid weight loss targeting towards young women and girls is nothing new.
How to Spot a Fad Diet or Crappy Health Product
The reality is, no one ever needs to detox or cleanse – thanks to your body’s physiology. Here are two TED-ED videos, explaining how the liver and kidneys work and are your natural detoxers, removing toxins from your body:
Healthy Eating is NOT Deprivation
How to Spot A Trendy Diet
1) Promises Rapid Results
Take this tea/pill/herb/supplement/smoothie/whatever and you will immediately banish the bloating! Lose two inches off your waist in two days!
Often these claims are backed up with before and after images and testimonials of people who have tried the product. Read the fine print: * Results may vary. Effective when combined with diet and exercise. Disclaimers are there to protect themselves from false claims.
2) Profits Off Your Insecurities
Have you always been self-conscious about your gut? Do you dream of having a flatter, tighter tummy? This product/diet will give you the waistline you’ve always dreamed of!
Deep down we are all are emotional, insecure beings, and the diet industry is fully aware. That’s why it’s a billion dollar industry.
3) Tells You to Cut Out Certain Foods
One of the obvious signs of a fad diet is the labelling as foods as “good” vs “bad.” These diets often come with a list foods you can eat and foods you can’t. What are good or bad foods depend on which diet you follow. Carbs on the keto diet? Bad. Dairy on paleo? Also bad. Assigning good and bad labels to food choices contributes to the culture of food shaming and policing.
4) Preaches Deprivation
Going along with assigning morality (i.e. good and bad) to foods, most diets will tell you not to eat bad foods and use your own “willpower” to ensure you don’t succumb to their temptations. I don’t ever preach deprivation or food restriction because it ultimately leads to binge eating and you will end up feeling like you failed.
Is food just food?
You ate when you were hungry, and stopped when you were full? Do you remember the time before we were bombarded with multiple messages from the media about how, when and what to eat in order to be healthy?
How about this: Do you remember the foods you grew up with?
EAT “YOUR” REAL FOOD
I cannot tell you exactly what to eat to be healthy, because I don’t know you. Chances are, you know the answer yourself, but will need to dig deeper to find it.
It’s why I focus on nutrition and cultural cuisine. If we look back at the origins of eating, most meals were homecooked, nutritious and inexpensive. Perhaps most importantly, it was familiar.
Every culture has an indulgent and special meal enjoyed once in a while, perhaps for Sunday Supper. Maybe that was roast beef dinner or Peking Duck with the family. Those indulgent meals people consumed once in a while at the restaurant are often what we think about when discussing cultural cuisine.
Healthy Eating Advice – The Bottom Line
The best diet is one that is most sustainable for you, and that is often the home cooked meals you grew up eating.
Wishing you health and happiness this year!
Michelle Jaelin, RD