-- it isn't alway so much, or so imperatively, a matter of what, as it is a matter of how. Barring the incident that I have to eat gluten-free, I don't have any other rules about food. "Right" is not a way to eat, it is a direction. Well is a way to eat. Nourished. Peaceful. Enjoyably, is a way to eat -- and hopefully nearly always the way one does eat. With Celiac, safely is a way to eat.
But eating never should be an action made from fear. Eating isn't a way to control our lives or our bodies, but another way to enjoy both.
As a nutritionist now, not just teaching preschool but teaching workshops and taking calls from frantic parents of kids with allergies, behavioural problems, or Celiac Disease -- taking calls from young sorts my age or men and women with families, mad-busy lives, and low-tolerance for time spent on nutrition -- I've found more and more people want to eat right.
Or they think there is a right way to eat.
As a coach, a consultant, a teacher, I have made it a rule: I will never tell someone to eat right; and I will never tell someone there is a right way to eat. Why? Because there is no right way.*
I cannot tell you how to eat.
I will give you options -- note the plural -- for how to eat well, especially if you have Celiac, or another medically necessary custom diet that just may look like a restriction.
What does eating right do to me? It's come up recently, because when I was diagnosed, I thought I could eat right to fix my gut. But eating right is a mental attitude that does the same thing to my mental and emotional nourishment that the malabsorption of Celiac Disease did to my physical nourishment -- it damages my ability to relate to life, and absorbjoy and novelty, exploration, abundance.
To eat to fix is to eat to control. To control is to act in fear, and fear restricts.
"Ima not eat that," said a little boy I worked with recently. It made my gut clench -- and irrationally, my eyes burnt too. For a moment, I couldn't think of why.
It was strawberries on the table -- ruby, round, fresh and local, piled in a heaping bowl and the little CJ in me was rather inclined to dive in, face first. EAT ALL THE STRAWBERRIES.
But the 5 year old next to me said he wouldn't eat them.
"Why?" I asked. Asking questions always helps more than telling.
He rubbed his nose. "Mom says fruits are badder for my tummy, and make people fat."
This little bloke had a wheat allergy, and was off dairy. Grievous knows why he should need to skip out on fruit -- he showed no signs of fructose intolerance, and he didn't have a gut filled with candida, the sugar-devouring fungal fiend.
FAT? I rather doubt his mom said just that, but the bloody culture is sunk in a mire of fat-fear and perfection, so no doubt he had heaps of options for soaking up the cognitive distortion.
I didn't coach or advise right there and then. It's always proper to go through the parent when kids are involved. But eating fruit?That's not badder for you. And it's not freeing -- or an accurate representation of how are bodies relate to food -- to cut something out from a place of fear or control.
One, it doesn't work.
Two, it doesn't work.
And three, it bloody makes us miserable -- undernourished on our experience of joy in the world, unrecovered from the fears so tightly tied to food-related disease.
Not to mention, fruit does not make you fat... KEEP READING AT TUMBLING GLUTEN FREE