Food Absolutes

Delicious Bread by ci_polla

mmmmmm… bread

So, while poking around the interwebs, I ran across this article: Jane Says: Think Twice Before Hopping on the Gluten-Free Bandwagon. Here’s an excerpt I liked:

What we choose to eat is one of the most important and personal decisions we make. Consequently, I’m stunned and amazed at folks who think nothing of criticizing these decisions made by family members, friends, colleagues, or the individuals they meet in the Comments field of a website. Their behavior is extremely rude. And, unless you are seriously harming your health, it’s nobody’s business but yours.

Basically her point is that going gluten-free makes sense for a lot of people, especially those with Celiac disease and allergies. Cutting back on eating wheat in this over-processed age makes sense too, but when you get down to it, your choices are your own.

Incidentally, here’s another article by the same author on the same subject: Op-Ed: Going Gluten Free May Not Be the Greatest Thing Since Sliced Bread.

I am not a food expert and I am certainly not going to dive into this debate. I post these more because I believe that, except in the case of serious illness, absolutes are awfully hard to live with. I’ve mentioned before that I am a planner, and I love rules, but there are rules… and then there are rules.

Being mindful about what you eat makes sense to me. Controlling the amount of what you eat, whether it’s the size of the meal or types of particular foods, makes sense to me. I can personally say that I have cut a lot of flour based products out of my life, but not because they make me feel bad, but because when you are counting calories like I am, they aren’t worth it. Flour tortillas, bread, pasta – for me most of this has been a vehicle to transport other items of goodness to my mouth. When I add up the calories, however, I am far better off with a burger sans the bun, or turning sandwiches into lettuce wraps. Nonetheless, I refuse to ban such foods from my life. Why?

Because I know me. If you tell me I can’t eat something, it will be the only thing I want. On the other hand  if I say, “Eat what you want – just track it,” I won’t feel that rebellious urge to “cheat.” And that’s really it isn’t it? If you set up rules you can’t live by, you will find a way break them. The trick is to find a framework that you can live with. For me, that’s the occasional dinner roll or slice of pizza. It’s the “no bad foods” rule.

Some friends of mine had asked me about my weight loss and this topic came up. When one of them made an offhand comment about not being able to give things up, I told her that I didn’t. I refuse to give anything up. She rolled her eyes and said “That sounds too easy, I don’t believe you.” It made me a little sad, and I never did get the chance to explain.

I wonder sometimes, with all the popularity of gluten-free foods, how long this trend will last. Some people are very good at giving foods up, but most aren’t. I remember the Atkins craze of awhile back. I understand the desire for a magic bullet, I really do, I just hope it doesn’t shoot people in the foot instead.


Photo credit: ci_polla

2 thoughts on “Food Absolutes

  1. Oh huzzah! Finally some balance and thoughtfulness when it comes to diets. I am so tired of labels. I’m gluten free, I’m vegan, I’m Paleo, I’m Atkins. People need to stop prescribing to set diets and start listening to their bodies, to common sense, and stop identifying with labels. One must do what works for themselves.

  2. I’m with you! And honestly, if someone wants to use a particular diet, hey – more power to them – but I hate all the “this is the one true way” stuff I see around. Everyone has different things that work for them. I keep thinking about the quote I saw on your blog… I wish I could remember the pole dancers name… who said something like “I want to drink whiskey and dance to Alice in Chains.”

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