My apologies in advance for the brevity and general rantiness of this post ;-)! Crazy week but a good one, so I’m a little sleep deprived! Now I could use a little rest :D.
It dawned on me a little while back that I have always been concerned with issues of lesser importance when it comes to food. And that I’m not alone … as a culture we all are! We ask ourselves stuff like, does it have additives? Does it contain pesticides? Does it have sugar? Is it fattening? And lately, does it have GMO’s? Or gluten? These are the most urgent matters on our minds when it comes to food. But these are not the most important things to know about food!
Many of Us Are Emphasizing the Wrong Things about Food
What?! Have I gone crazy? Just hear me out. Most of these things are important, of course! It matters a lot to me if my food has GMO’s. I don’t like to eat anything that isn’t organic … I know what’s in it! But resolving to absolutely avoid all this bad stuff completely is leading many people to make even bigger dietary errors, in my view.
There are people eating extremely low calorie diets not because of a desire to lose weight (anorexia) but because they are uncertain of the cleanliness of the foods available to them so they opt to skip eating period. Doing this often leads to nutrient deficits and possibly even calorie deficits. This is part of a slippery slope that can lead to orthorexia.
Getting Enough Nutrients and Calories is More Important than Avoiding Toxins
It is most vital to our good health and particularly to childrens good health and growth that we get enough nutrition in our food and that we get enough quantity-wise to eat. These two things go hand in hand. If you are simply not eating enough you will not get adequate nutrients. Or if you are eating a lot but the nutrient density of the food you eat is low you will also not get adequate nutrients. So people eating a lot of salads, for instance are pretty much guaranteed to be eating a nutrient deficient diet.
And calories themselves can be regarded as a kind of nutrient. Calories represent the energy your body runs on. To run well, your body needs enough energy.
Ask yourself this instead …
Next time you pickup some packaged food at the store, read the ingredients and think “well, it doesn’t seem TOO bad really” instead ask yourself “Is there any real food in this food? What nutrients does this have a lot of? Vitamin A or D? Good fats? How about minerals? Is this food rich in nutrition or is it primary virtue that it doesn’t reek of chemicals? Just try to be aware of nutrients when making decisions. I know, one more thing, but really this is right up there with avoiding PUFA’s.
I plan to write more on this issue in the coming weeks. What do you think?
Photo by Ethan Lofton.