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Has this ever been you? Out to dinner with friends or on vacation, staring down at the food on your plate and wondering what sort of questionable ingredients might be in it?
I know it’s definitely been me before!
Discovering the world of real food has been an amazing journey that has completely changed the way I look at food. Switching to a real-food diet has done wonderful things for my health, but it has also opened my eyes to the way that most of our modern food is made.
That’s a good thing most of the time because I know now what is really in all of the foods I used to eat and I can try my best to avoid the foods that are the most unhealthy. Sometimes, though, it’s not such a good thing.
Back when I was blissfully ignorant about what I was putting in my mouth, I ate anything that appealed to me, enjoying my food without worrying about what ingredients were in it. Now, though, I can’t eat anything without thinking “Uh oh, I bet there are probably hydrogenated oils in here,” or “This has corn in it. GMO alert! GMO alert!”
Many times, I find myself over analyzing my food to the point where it actually becomes stressful.
The Wrong Food With the Right Attitude
On Sunday, when I was listening to an interview with Chris Kresser at the Healthy Life Summit I heard him mention an Asian proverb that really stood out to me. I’m not sure if I have this exactly right, but it was something along the lines of “It’s better to eat the wrong food with the right attitude that to eat the right food with the wrong attitude.”
It’s so easy to have the wrong attitude about food, especially if you are just beginning the transition to a real food diet. Once you start learning about all of the horrendous, unnatural ingredients that are a part of the majority of our food supply today, it’s so easy to focus on those bad ingredients and become puritanical about avoiding them.
It took me a long time to find a balance in this area, and I still find myself struggling with having the right attitude about the food I eat. There have been times that I’ve hardly even enjoyed eating a meal out because I was so focused on all of the bad ingredients in the food I was eating.
I’ve come to realize, though, that it’s so much better to just relax and have a slice of pizza with friends or to have a enjoyable holiday meal with family than it is to worry about every single bite that goes in your mouth.
The Lesser of Two Evils
While it is important to try to avoid as many unhealthy ingredients as possible, it’s equally important to avoid stress. There are a lot of foods out there today that are pretty disastrous to our health, but stress can be just as bad.
In fact, I believe that stress is probably even more damaging to our health than any bad foods could be.
Obviously it’s not a good idea to eat processed junk on a regular basis, and there are cases where people need to avoid certain foods for health reasons, but for the most part, it seems so much better for our health to try to just enjoy and be thankful for whatever food we are eating, healthy or unhealthy.
Easier said than done, I know, when you’re staring at a plate full of questionable ingredients, but it’s not worth stressing yourself out over it. Food should be something that is pleasurable and nourishing. It shouldn’t be a stressful thing!
Lately I’ve been reading Real Food for Real Life: How to Eat Healthy Without Going Completely Crazy by Emily Benfit of Butter Believer and it’s really changed the way I think about the food that I eat. I don’t want to go crazy about food. I want to be healthy, happy, and thoroughly enjoy the food that I eat 🙂
I would never want to go back to the way I used to eat before I discovered real, traditional foods. Ignorance may be bliss, but knowledge is power, and knowing what is in my food allows me to make the wisest decisions I can for the health of my body. I want to make sure, though, that I’m not letting my knowledge about food be something that will fill me with stress and sabotage my health in the process.
This post is linked to: Sunday School at Butter Believer, Clever Chicks Blog Hop at The Chicken Chick, Scratch Cookin’ Tuesday at Granny’s Vital Vittles, Family Table Tuesday, at The Polivka Family, Party Wave Wednesday at Holistic Squid, Natural Living Link-Up at Jill’s Home Remedies, Fight Back Friday at Food Renegade.
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The information in this post is not to be taken as medical advice and is not intended to diagnose or treat any disease.
Saturday 6th of April 2013
wow, I could have written the opening of this article myself! recently had to make an emergency road trip ten hours each way...was traveling with family, so our pit stops were at places like mcdonalds and gas station fare and a diner. I felt *ILL* eating all the garbage - not so much worried about ingredients, but boy, did it taste like poop! I found myself longing for my raw goat milk, fresh fruit and grass fed beef! Once home, fridge was empty because I missed the farmer's market and faced with another day of "junk". Did the best I could and today, back on track with a trip to the market. Eating SAD food now SCARES me...but as you so aptly pointed out, if 95% of my diet is healthy, the few times I eat junk is not going to kill me. My biggest problem comes from the "addiction" process that rears it's ugly head when I eat garbage...it takes me a while to kick the cravings that comes from eating refined/processed foods/sugars.
Thursday 4th of April 2013
When I am out with friends or family, I can get over not eating organic. I can get over not eating local and seasonal. But I have real problems eating any kind of animal protein that is factory farmed and cruelly treated - not to mention the filth and disease that accompanies the slaughter of these pitiful beasts. I always choose not to eat meat if I don't know where it came from or if it was factory farmed. Does anyone have this issue? I would like to be more relaxed about it, but I can't.
Kathy Shea Mormino, The Chicken Chick
Monday 1st of April 2013
Thank you for sharing with the Clever Chicks Blog Hop this week; I hope you’ll join us again!
Cheers,Kathy Shea Mormino
The Chicken Chick
Homemade for Elle
Wednesday 27th of March 2013
Great article! I completely agree. I try to eat only "real" food, but I occasionally indulge when I eat out. It's hard to turn that voice off that says "what are you eating?!" though, so you give great advice!
Thanks for sharing your article on Natural Living Monday!
Tuesday 26th of March 2013
Yes. I've struggled with this balance for years. I think I'm better at balance now, but I still go too far to one side or the other. Thank you for reminding us of the importance of balance and peace in eating.
Wednesday 27th of March 2013
Finding the right balance is definitely the hardest part! I find myself still going too far to either side too sometimes :)