I’ve become kind of a drag around the extreme health communities I’ve belonged to for a while and the dogma is sucking my serenity. Every time I get tagged in a post about eating disorders or substance addiction, where someone is convinced bone broth is the cure all to every disease that ever happened, an angel loses it’s wings. So instead of taking my constant annoyance out on people who refuse to open their minds to the fact that um, maybe western medicine might actually save lives??? (hmmm) I’ll drop some truth bombs here…
Ya see, I was the person who sarcastically said “everything in moderation…including moderation” for years. Because I thought in one mindset only: extreme. All or nothing. Black and white. On or off. I’m wired for addiction so it makes sense for me to think like that. It’s a good way to be if it comes to something that will probably destroy your life, like drugs or robbing banks, for instance. And before anyone jumps in with the “sugar will kill you too” argument…not the same thing. If one more person compares sugar to heroin…well, let’s just say it isn’t going to be pretty.
We are a completely broken society when it comes to food. Zero doubt about that. Processed food consumption is out of control, yes. Children need access to more nutrient dense foods and we need to stop with the CAFO farming. AGREED! But jumping onto the *vegan-weight watchers-paleo-keto-MLM juice cleanse-whatever the next Netflix documentary or thing that sells cookbooks* tells us how we’re supposed to eat bandwagon also isn’t the answer.
Somewhere in our DNA is a better understanding of what the human condition is looking for when it comes to grub time. Even within that lens, there’s room for some balance. “BALANCE you say??” Like it’s a bad word and we aren’t allowed to practice that in our culture!! Actually, yes…yes we are.
If your eating isn’t disordered, there’s a solid chance you aren’t doing it right. Modern life is a hot mess. It isn’t setting us up for success. I’m not arguing with that. I’m not arguing that you shouldn’t avoid foods that your body *actually* gets sick from like allergies, or severe intolerances. I have them too. (Side note: recently saw a woman post that five fries made her almost blind. There is no chance this is a true story.)
I‘ve spent the last 3 months in adolescent eating disorder hospitals, just flying my 13-year old halfway across the country two days ago to her third facility since all of this started August 1. I had to check my Nutritional Therapy Practitioner title at the door when she got sick.
While I know I didn’t *cause* this, I realize that my years of doing these extreme diets like being vegan and paleo in the name of trying to save my health, didn’t impact my children in a helpful way. As a result, we’re all kind of facing our food demons right now. I was sooooo defensive about my role with this stuff for so long, that it actually feels like a huge weight lifted off of me to take responsibility for the damage I’ve caused them, while also seeing how some of my decisions regarding their food intolerances were really beneficial to their healing!
See friends…that’s called balance!! Or as I like to say, living in the grey. (Imagine a grey cat purring right now. See, isn’t that delightful?)
When I found out about my daughter’s anorexia last summer, I had to allow the little 11-year old version of me who had an eating disorder to come to the surface to do some serious healing. I’ve also had to allow the current 40-year old version of me who still, after all of these years, is dealing with disordered eating come to the surface to ask for answers to be shown to me. They’re showing up. And what they aren’t…is restrictive diets.
What they are showing themselves to be is that addressing my sleep, stress, mindfulness, movement, play, the primal woman inside of me, and connecting with my tribes are 1000 times more powerful than beating myself up because I ate a reeces cup or I take medicine everyday that makes me not want to jump off a bridge. I also found out recently that gluten-free toast for breakfast makes me really happy and I’m not going to stop doing that until I’m sick of it. Unlike when I used to let that make me feel guilty. Seriously! Eating toast for breakfast instead of bacon created shame. I sh*t you not.
I will likely always work within communities of people who will refuse to break free of the dogmatic chains that tie them to obsessive and compulsive beliefs about health and food. But that’s not a party I wish to attend any longer because I think it’s hurting more people than it’s helping.
I know I didn’t actually answer questions about what you’re supposed to eat. Or why sugar won’t actually kill you. That’s not for today. What I will say for now is, stop listening to everyone else. Stop believing that you don’t already have the answers inside of you. Quit buying into anyone’s idea that you need to do more. You don’t need to vegan harder to get well. You don’t need to keto more to lose weight.
You are able to listen to the ancient wisdom inside of you, passed on by so many thousands of years of trial and error. If I had to guess, it would say something like “find some peace and do what makes you feel good.”