How to Enjoy Eating Well

Tired of eating healthy? Here's some advice on how to start enjoying the food you eat.

Photo Sasabune Omakase Modified: Flickr/erin/CC 4.0

At this time of year, you’re bombarded by articles and advertisements telling you how to lose weight and start eating “healthy”. The problem is they tend to make eating healthy sound as fun as a visit to the dentist or washing your hair on a Saturday night. After all our holiday merriment, gingerbread cookies, Christmas hams and toasts to the New Year, now we have to – collective sigh – eat “healthy” — carrot sticks, apple slices, salads, grilled chicken, hold the dressing… Personally, I’ll take the dentist!

As long as you put your food in two buckets: healthy versus yummy, or good versus bad, you’ll feel guilty the rest of your life. You won’t relish your brownie or your hamburger and fries without your little demons shouting “you’ll be fat!” or “you’re so bad!”

Here’s an alternative scenario. Forget the good versus bad, and reframe your thinking. Instead of passing judgment on your food, and yourself in the process, begin learning about, and sampling the pleasures of real food.

What do I mean by real? Real foods ( i.e. fruits and vegetables, nuts, seeds, animal products if you eat them, and whole grains such as brown rice, oatmeal, and quinoa) speak your body’s language. It’s natural, unrefined or minimally so, down to earth and from the earth, full of nutrition that your body knows how to process, and tastes delicious. Granted, real food is healthy, but it’s also got so much more going for it.

There are lots of resources out there to get a better understanding of what’s real (Cinnamon Raisin cereal, Spicy Lentil and Spinach Soup, raw unheated and unfiltered honey) and what’s not (Special K cereal, Lean Cuisine, honey in plastic bears).

Last week, for example, I got to sample mouth-watering hummus and brownies made by raw foodie and health expert Diana Stobo at an Organic Avenue event. I don’t eat exclusively raw by any means, but I love to borrow from their books because it’s always delicious and always real.

Another favorite is Gillian McKeith’s "You Are What You Eat"; Gillian offers simple, practical advice on what to buy, how to eat, and how to feed your family.

Granted, it can be difficult in our society to always eat real. All the croissants I had in Paris over the holidays don’t qualify, for example. But once you learn the difference, then little by little, start buying and eating the real stuff, I promise your little demons die a natural death. You actually start looking forward to eating quinoa, along with your croissants.

Do you have any questions or recommendations when it comes to eating real? I’d love to hear from you.