Many moons ago my mom gave me some advice concerning relationships. She said, “Sarah, pick your battles.” I looked up at her naively, “But mama, I am never going to have a fight in my relationship, it’s going to be perfect.” Little did I know, even prince charming is going to piss you off once in awhile and now I know what she meant: Not every fight is worth fighting. Sometimes, you just have to let go and give in. Pick the fights that mean something to you, or rather, pick the ones that mean the most something because they will all mean a little something.
I feel the same way about nutrition.
There are so many do’s and don’ts. There are just so many. Can you even digest them all? There is so much information out there and I am reading it every single day. I know you are too. Sometimes you even read it from me. J That’s why I pick my battles.
Stay away from canned foods. Stay away from processed foods. Eat coconut oil and salmon. Don’t eat salmon. Don’t eat tuna. Take more vitamin B. Don’t eat meat. Eat meat. Don’t eat anything with a name you can’t pronounce. Eat fiber, no really, eat more fiber, and why not take a fiber supplement. Coffee is evil. Tea is good. Wine is good. Only drink luke-warm Brita water and food that came from a farm down the street and fruit that wasn’t picked but merely fell from a tree and chicken made from soy that tastes like beef and never forget to eat your acai berries. Or wait, was it blueberries? And for Heavens sake stay away from artificial sweeteners. I am sure you can think of about 800 more.
Do you really want to fight all those battles? Maybe you do. Maybe they all mean a little something to you. But do they all mean a lot of something to you?
I think the way that you mediate between the a lots and the a littles is by figuring out why you are worrying about them in the first place.
Are you trying to lower your cholesterol? Is the number one priority on your list to lose weight or have strong bones? Are you trying to gain weight or muscle? Are you worried about your heart or your lungs? Are you trying to prevent cancer and other illnesses? Why are you worried? Is it because you saw an ad on TV that told you to be worried? Is it because you read a book that said, “be afraid”? Is it because your doctor told you or you read about a study in science daily? Is it just an innate sense of health that keeps you wanting to strive to be the healthiest you can be, or do you just want all around general good health?
All of these questions will yield a different battle.
My battle is with an inflamed wrist that seems to act up when I eat too many processed inflammatory foods. That is a battle worth fighting for me. That means that I am not really that concerned about whether my water is filtered or my vegetables are organic. What I am concerned about is how much sugar and processed chemicals I consume. I recently watched Food Inc and it scarred me for life so now I will only eat organic meat and dairy. I am fighting that battle all the way to the bank (man organic meat is expensive) but I am not worrying about the cholesterol in said meat. I am eating it anyway, fat, cholesterol and all. I love, love, love vegetables so I eat them in abundance every day. As for the processed foods, there are these ice cream bars chock full of chemicals that I absolutely adore. Do I refrain completely because of said wrist? No, sometimes that is a battle I'm not going to fight.
I do not have the time, wallet or fear to eat all organic, stop eating meat, alcohol, coffee or aspartame completely. I eat food out of cans; sometimes I drink soda, most of the time I am pretty healthy…except when I’m not.
See what I mean? Being healthy doesn’t mean fighting every food battle. Sometimes we need to give in, read: eat skinny cow. Sometimes we need to fight and we need to say, no, I will not be having seconds/eating that non-organic potato/drinking that diet soda/eating while watching TV.
The point is that we need to figure it out for ourselves.
We know what we can and want to do. We are the only people in our relationship with ourselves and so we are the only ones who know which battles are worth the fight.