So there’s this new Mediterranean diet out about how eating olive oil, fish, lots of vegetables and fruits, with a few nuts here and there, will greatly improve your health.
I saw it on the news the other night, and nodded along until the point where they said:
Now people know what they can finally eat to become healthier!
What a load of crock.
Everyone knows what they’re doing, and what they’re eating, and it applies to every part of their lives.
Photograph of strawberries I bought.
People already know what TO eat more or less of:
- Fruits (not just the super sweet ones like grapes, mix it up)
- Vegetables (try and hit all the colours of red, yellow, orange, green and purple)
- Less red meat (not saying to cut out ALL meat, but eating less helps)
- More fish (but not too often because of mercury)
- Milk or water instead of soda
- Natural, less processed foods
..and people already know what NOT to eat too much of:
- Junk Food
- Snacks (This also includes chips, Nelson…)
- Soda (empty calories)
- Processed Foods (stuff in cans and boxes are generally not good for you)
- Frozen Meals
- Restaurant Meals
- Takeaway meals
Nobody needs a study to prove or confirm what we already know to be true.
Also, I’d like to point out that from my observation of diets and food around the world (excellent books have been created upon this subject by photographer Menzel and writer D’Alusio here), it seems as though the unhealthiest nations focus on processed food and junk food as their main source of calories.
The healthier nations (Japan is included in this by the way), tend to shy away from deep-fried things, processed foods and go towards more natural, less-processed items (e.g. cooking at home with real ingredients.)
As a result, two things should ring true when it comes to choosing what we eat:
- Calories matter. Less calories = less weight gained = less fat. Don’t deep fry everything.
- Type of food matters. Unprocessed, natural ingredients make a difference.
In other parts of our lives, unconsciously or not, we always say things like:
I REALLY shouldn’t be having that second brownie, but.. YOLO!
This is the second week I’ve missed going to the gym, I should really get my butt there soon! Right!?
I know it’s bad, but I really don’t save anything significant in my retirement accounts. By the way, did you see my photos from my latest beach vacation?
You are as guilty as I am in skirting the rules we set out for ourselves, and the commonly-acknowledged “good living” rules that we as a society use to govern our lives.
I do this all the time to myself, except my excuses are:
But it was just a one-off purchase….
[said many a time about kitchen equipment which never ever becomes a one-off]
I couldn’t say no, I mean, on consignment, finding size 7 shoes that are perfect, is near impossible.
I mean, IT IS. I couldn’t say no.
EVEN MAKING YOUR OWN FOOD HAS ITS ISSUES
People already know when they’re eating badly if they go to McDonald’s every day for lunch, buy processed foods in a box, and frozen pizza that claims to be “healthy” and “organic” in the grocery store.
Even what I eat, is not necessarily good to eat at every single meal.
For instance, pizza as a food item, is not really that healthy, even if you make it yourself, as we do.
The cheese that we load on top to make it taste just so damn good, is at least 20% milkfat.
Don’t be fooled by the sweet little prefix of “milk” to denote healthiness, because fat is fat, and sugar is sugar.
No matter how it’s labeled, and where the source of fat or sugar comes from (e.g. honey, maple syrup, stevia, agave, are all slightly better alternatives to white sugar, but are still as bad as sugar, nonetheless.)
MODERATION IS KEY IN EVERYTHING WE DO
Not all fats are bad, that’s true, but you’re not going to catch me liberally pouring a cup of extra virgin, cold-pressed olive oil (@ 1908 calories per cup) all over my salad in an attempt to eat a Mediterranean diet, because everyone says it’s better for me.
I’m the first one to jump in and eat fat very happily (dairy products are my weaknesses), but I don’t do it every meal, and I don’t do it all the time.
Once every 2 weeks, is when we’ll bust out a homemade pizza, but we don’t eat it daily, no matter how much we love it.
A Photograph of a meal I had in Lyon, not to be eaten daily…to be sure
The rest of the time, it’s simple fare, with lots of flavour added by way of spices, or appreciating how good food can be without being deep-fried or slathered in a creamy sauce.
Moderation is key, but the problem is we are so used as a society to give in to our impulses, and to be rewarded for “treating ourselves”, that it becomes normal to and even encouraged to do so.
We run around the corner once a weekday to pick up a mid-day iced latte covered in whipped cream, and we know we shouldn’t make things worse and add a doughnut on top of it, but we do it anyway, because we don’t do it every day.
Just every other day.
So it can’t come as a huge surprise after a month or two that you’re not only sliding deeper and deeper into credit card debt because of some iced latte pick-me-up, but your waistline is getting bigger to boot.
YOU ALREADY KNOW WHAT YOU’RE DOING BADLY OR NOT
As it is with what you eat, personal finance and just about everything else is no different – you know what the deal is.
Deep down inside, instead of taking seconds of a very creamy Italian (it falls under ‘Mediterranean’!) pasta dish, while cramming garlic bread slathered in extra-virgin, cold-pressed olive oil (it’s good for you, right?) into your mouth, and washing it down with a glass of red wine (think of the antioxidants!), you know it isn’t good for you to eat like that on a regular basis.
Photograph I took of my pasta dish.
Otherwise, if you’re already conscious of what you eat, and how much you eat, you still need to be vigilant and have the willpower to say “No” to those homemade, butter-crammed shortbread biscuits, because you already had a few, and you don’t need to eat the entire platter to show how much you loved them.
People who write in saying:
But I’m 6′ and I’m considered “overweight” even though I eat healthy foods, avoid junk, and am just naturally built to be big.
You already know what you’re doing right or wrong, and if your doctor says: Hey you’re a big man, but you’re healthy, with great cholesterol levels, no diseases and overall very fit … then only your conscience can give you a pass on sneaking in a piece or chocolate or two from the candy bar you bought for your kids.
But if your doctor keeps pleading for you to lay off the red meat, drink less beer and be more moderate in your (delicious) food vices, then perhaps you should listen before it results in a heart attack or worse, death.
No one can tell you what to eat, and what not to eat.
You are the only one who is the judge of everything you do and choose to do, but it would just be silly to ignore the general commonly-acknowledge and accepted advice of those around you.
Moderation. Moderation. Moderation.