Everything in moderation (including chocolate). It's something I tell everyone who ever asks me either (1) what kind of diet I follow, or (2) what diet advice might I recommend for them. Not only is this general rule of thumb something that everyone can follow, but it leaves wiggle room for slip-ups and somersaults off of whatever diet bandwagon we're riding. For me, this translates to having a little bit of this or that without any guilt. It's about enjoyment.
Sure, there are still foods that in my everyday life I will avoid like the plague. But sometimes, you've just got to say, "when in Rome..." The Paleo diet restricts a lot of foods. I love food and food is a big part of my life, and so I want to be able to enjoy it as more than just fuel.
It's all about moderation.
But, there's a problem with this word, 'moderation.' The problem is that most people (at least amongst those who follow a typical Western diet) don't understand what 'moderation' means. This problem is in large part due to the fact that we aren't properly educated about ideas such as these. Or, perhaps we are misled, as we're served massive portions at restaurants. Either way, we're confused. You're confused, I'm confused.
We're constantly bombarded with nutritional advice and information. We don't know what's the right side up. Plus, we're encountering this information at such a rapid pace that we aren't able to digest the right things - figuratively and literally, we don't have the knowledge to understand what sources of information are trustworthy, what information is valid or adequate, and what foods we should be consuming. As a result, we make choices that might not be the healthiest. The truth is, however, a lot of us don't know any better.
It's one thing to make a conscious decision to consume something that we know and understand isn't the best or healthiest choice. It's an entirely other thing, however, to consume these same foods without a proper understanding of what we are eating. I'm not suggesting that you learn anything and everything about diet and nutrition, but I am recommending that more of us take it upon ourselves to make more conscious decisions in our everyday well-being.
In regards to understanding moderation, I do believe that like our individual biology, this is unique to each and every person. But again, it's necessary that we realize what moderation in diet (and our health overall) truly means to us as individuals. I know what moderate means for me, and I know when I have crossed the line of moderation.
For me, the notion of "everything is moderation" also reflects the idea that no food is perfect, and too much of anything is too much. Period. After all, there's such a thing as too much water (although, I can wager that most of us don't drink enough of it, including myself).
A little of most things is fine.
The more I talk to people about diet and nutrition, the more I realize how little the average person knows about these topics, about their own personal diet and nutrition. It's appalling and
That being said, the goal is not for all of us to follow a single diet. The goal is for each and every one of us to find what works for us as individuals. Educate yourself, read a lot, become your own personal health guru, and find what works for you.
What's your 'moderation'?
image via eat your books
DISCLAIMER: I am not a nutritionist, physician, or any kind of health professional. Everything that you find on my blog is based on my own knowledge and opinion. If you require specific health and fitness advice, please seek a qualified health professional.