Disclaimer: I am not a dietician just a food enthusiast
You may find this a tad unbelievable, but I have only recently discovered Youtube. I knew of its existence obviously, but I never truly harnessed its powers of distraction and procrastination, until now.
My home feed usually suggests for me a mixture of extreme workout videos, buzzfeed and vegan recipes. I’ve been watching quite a few diet (nutrition) and lifestyle vloggers and I have a few faves but one thing that has really started to tick me off is how many people on the internet try to tell me I can’t eat carbs.
The diet industry likes to vilify food groups whilst promoting others. Remember when fat was bad but now it’s good? And you know how now you need to eat everything with extra protein or you will die? Or at least never have a six-pack. Just think for a second about what you know about what you ‘should’ eat. How do you know that information? Who told you? I bet for a lot of people the answer is adverts. The thing is, adverts have told me many things that turned out not to be true so why would they start being honest now? I’m still waiting for my perfect skin, perfect body and perfect life to arrive in the mail…
I personally believe that the education we receive about nutrition is abysmal. Without education, how can we expect people to know how to discern what is fact and what is wishful thinking? When you see “now with extra protein” plastered all over the place, your brain very easily makes the connection that protein is a thing you need lots of, extra of even, and therefore I need to buy all of the protein! But do you know where to get your protein from? Meat, right? Well did you know that all animals get their protein from plants? And that protein deficiency pretty much isn’t even possible if you are eating a varied diet?
I am not a nutritionist but I know that everyone’s body is different. To prescribe one diet to the entire population is a bit ludicrous. But what’s even more ludicrous is for people to scared of an entire food group that your body loves and needs. Carbohydrates are essential for your body to function correctly and provide the most easily accessible fuel for your body.
What people maybe don’t get told enough is that there is more to health than how many calories they are eating. Of course, if you over-eat consistently your body will store it and you will experience weight gain. But the same will happen whether you overeat steak, cookies or spinach. The difference is that you would be unlikely to be able to get through enough spinach to even get close to overeating.
Carns are like people: some are great, some are terrible. Most are okay in moderation. If your diet is heavy on pastries, baked goods and processed things then you aren’t going to feel great. But rice, potato, oats, fruits and vegetables all contain vital nutrients for your body as well as fuel in the form of carbohydrates. As a general rule, if a food is in its original form it’s probably good for you. I don’t know how it started, but I feel that potatoes have been given a bad rep. It’s not the potato in french fries that make them an every-so-often food, it’s the oil. Stop hating on potatoes!
At the other end of the spectrum Youtube is also rife with people trying to tell you that the best way to eat is 50,000 bananas a day and maybe a papaya or two. I don’t get it. It sounds like torture. If you really honestly feel your best eating that way, then I’m not here to tell you not to. But to perpetuate the idea that that’s how everyone should be eating is plain irresponsible to me.
I’m not writing this to tell you how to eat. I’m just tired of people using their attractive bodies to guilt people into following fad diets and then making them feel even worse when they find it impossible to maintain. Nobody knows what makes you feel good and what makes you feel sluggish or not quite right. I have IBS and my body struggles to digest onion and garlic which most people will tell you are really good for you: because we are all different.
I have always held the belief that my body loves carbs. Pasta, rice and potatoes are staples in my diet and if I have a meal with very few carbs in it I can guarantee I will be searching for a snack within an hour or two. I am also at the stage where my body tells me that I haven’t had enough vegetables and that I need to put the (vegan) chocolate down. That only comes with time and trusting your body which is so much harder than it sounds and is not something that comes easily to me even now.
But for the most part, your body isn’t trying to trick you. If you’ve eaten your 50,000 bananas for the day and you don’t feel satisfied it’s probably because your body is telling you that it’s missing something. Unfortunately it has limited ways of communicating with you and hunger is one of the most powerful ones. That’s why your body can sometimes appear to confuse thirst with hunger, because you may ignore thirst signals but ignoring a rumbly tummy is nowhere near as easy!
I want everyone to feel empowered when it comes to making good food choices but as it stands you have to dig a little to find out unbiased information. Education is key and pasta is life so go forth and eat the rainbow (including beige).
Peace and love badasses