In my career as a dietitian and my time as a human, I’ve come to understand that food is emotional, eating is an experience, and meals tell us stories. This is why sometimes I want to eat when I am happy/sad/stressed/bored. This is why I plan all my travels around the restaurants I want to try. And this is why a plate of nachos will always remind me of my dad, who would eat them belly-down on the living room floor in his pajamas with a cold cup of Dr. Pepper on special, lazy Sundays. We still affectionately refer to that meal as “Dad Nachos”. All of this has combined to shape my food philosophy. Here is what one dietitian believes:
- You need to eat your vegetables, and you should try to eat while sitting at the table…your mom was right.
- But, you should probably also eat that overpriced gelato on vacation in Italy. You just should.
- So naturally, what we eat from day to day won’t look the same.
- However, while normal eating can look different on different days, there has to be a consistent regard for proper nutrition.
- And by proper nutrition, I do not mean a strict meal plan or diet with “yes/good” and “no/bad” foods.
- Because diets are the worst.
- They do not work.
- They do not work because from the beginning they are made to fail.
- Do not misunderstand this statement- diets fail, YOU do NOT fail.
- Instead, we must eat the way we were born to eat- we must intuitively eat.
- Be the expert on your own body- eat when you are hungry, stop when you are full, and…
- …”if you don’t love it, don’t eat it and if you love it, savor it”. -Evelyn Tribole, fellow RD and author of the book Intuitive Eating
- Intuitive eating simultaneously rejects that restrictive diet mentality while still addressing health risks of eating and obesity.
- Because joy and happiness should be healthy parts of normal eating.
- Because vegetables and treats should be healthy parts of normal eating.
- Because Julia Child said “a party without cake is just a meeting” and she is my moral compass.
In short, eating should be flexible- because food is typically much more than food, and the act of eating usually more complex than just providing sustenance. And at the end of the day, I’m genuinely happy for kale at the table, and I’m genuinely happy for Dad Nachos on the living room floor.