calm down nutrition

I was chatting with my dietitian friend the other day and she said something wonderful.

“We all just need to calm the f$&k down when it comes to nutrition.”

She is so very right. Somehow, nutrition and health has turned into this frightening, bombarding world of conflicting information. ‘Don’t eat this because that will happen, the food industry is killing you, 10 foods that will give you cancer.’

I once put a picture on our Facebook page page of our trolley of which contained a stack of healthy foods. I had a reader slam me with with disgust and hate, questioning why I would be buying grated cheese. ‘Surely you should know as a nutritionist that you shouldn’t eat pre-grated cheese because of the preservatives. How can you call yourself a nutritionist when you eat something from a packet?!’

Give me a break. Am I going to die because of the anti caking agent in a bag of cheese that I purchase once every 6 months? No. Most often the anti-caking agent’ is simply tapioca flour. Which is…a vegetable. Natural and harmless.

Is your child going to develop cancer because you were terribly exhausted and sent her to school with money to buy a ham and cheese sandwich on white bread for the second time that year? No.

Are children going to grow up being so sick and tired of being told that they aren’t allowed gluten, dairy or soy in their house because it is ‘toxic’ *** that they are going to pig out on McDonalds the moment they are with their friends at the shopping mall? You betcha. I see it all the time.
*Doesn’t apply to legitimate food allergies

Are women writing to me feeling like absolutele failures because they haven’t managed to drink their green smoothie each morning, or make their own nut milk? You betcha.

Do overweight people confide in me that they feel the initial step to become healthy and eat nutritiously is just all too hard because they honestly can’t afford the fancy ingredients and superfoods that they read on social media ‘must go into your smoothie?’ You betcha.

Are mothers freaaaaaaking out because another mother told them that they stopped giving their child gluten, dairy, preservatives and blah blah and now their child is an angel. And now, they’re wondering if their perfectly well behaved child should be more well behaved and whether eliminating these foods might make them even more perfect angels? You betcha.

Mothers are feeling confused, out of control, guilty and like a failure all because they used tinned tomatoes in the spaghetti bolognese  last night, and then they saw a graphic on Facebook   that the BPA in the tin will cause cancer (which it doesn’t).

Twenty year old Sarah feels like a health failure because her bowl of nutritious oats in the morning contains only a banana, not the fancy pants expensive goji berries, macca powder, cacao nibs and acai powder.

All of a sudden it seems that eating fruit and vegetables and eating nutritiously 80% of the time just isn’t good enough, like it’s too basic.

Well that’s WRONG.

The rise of this obsession with healthy and ‘clean eating’ has given way to a new disorder called orthorexia – an unhealthy obsession with being eating healthily.  Myself and many other health professionals consider this as much of an issue as the worldwide obesity epidemic. Read more here 

So lets chill out with this whole nutrition stuff. Let’s eat fresh, wholesome food as much as we can. Let’s make every effort to make our own food instead of buying pre-packaged. Let’s try and eat loads of delicious fruit and vegetables, eggs, legumes, lean protein, wholemeal sources of carbohydrate.  

Do your nutritional best every day and have some fun along the way. 

Say ‘stuff you’ to the people who scare you into being a nutrition perfectionist and making you feel you are never healthy enough. They sound clever but they lack insight, compassion and knowledge. 99% of the time, they have no qualification in nutrition. Trust the experts who know a great deal, and give a damn. 

Disclaimer: The Nutrition Guru is NOT against green smoothies or making your own nut milk. Nor is she pro preservatives. However, she doesn’t agree with current nutrition messages negatively impacting one’s mental health. The Nutrition Guru also advises that this article is not validating your desire to eat whatever you want, particularly if you currently have an unhealthy diet. Rather, highlighting the philosophy of ‘everything in moderation’ and encouraging readers to try their best to be healthy and happy.
The Nutrition Guru and The Chef

  A university qualified Nutritionist, the Nutrition Guru enjoys busting diet myths and showing people simple and effective ways to live a healthy and happy life by eating whole foods without the need for restrictive diets.

26 thoughts on “Why We Need to Calm the F$&k Down When it Comes to Nutrition

  1. cathyn61 says:

    Hallelujah! Commie sense advice that I wholeheartedly agree with. There was a time, not too long ago, when I would tie myself in knots trying to jump through all the ‘nutritional’ hoops. Now I eat mainly whole, natural unprocessed foods most of the time but I also eat the less healthy stuff sometimes. No more stressing. I feel so much more relaxed around food and I’m healthy. Whatever floats your boat. 🙂

  2. Paul Woods says:

    Another fantastic article, full of information that we all should pay attention to. Well done!

    Regards, Paul


  3. Lisa @ The Meaning of Me says:

    Thank you. I get so unbelievably tired of hearing people (some very close to me) wax prosaic about the evils of…just about everything. And the media hype about what to eat, what not to eat could drive a person crazy. I could not agree more with your post here – everything in moderation, do our best to eat well and healthy a majority of the time, and don’t get hysterical about the rest. I think that’s the best approach to teach our children – learn how to choose wisely and not beat themselves up over any of it.

  4. Steve Costello says:

    Preservatives are often waste by products of many different metals and other toxic substances. If you are eating shit 20% of the time that is 60 days of the year you are eating shit! People don’t understand that some of these toxins in food have never been tested properly to identify long term risks, sometimes they have but they are cheap and somebody bribed somebody else to allow the ingredient to be used.

    BUT….no need to freak out, just be informed and it is damn easy! if you teach children from a very young age about the REAL dangers of eating crap, they will understand if you persist. The change of our culture towards food starts at home, not only should we tell our children what happens when they eat crap, we should teach them where and how the food they are eating comes from. Seems we’ve lost touch with that through convenience.

    • thenutritionguruandthechef says:

      Thanks for reading VM. It’s the fearmongering that has created so much confusion in the world of nutrition. Life is stressful enough without worrying whether preservative 203 causes cancer or not if you eat it once a year.

  5. Luna (@Heading_West) says:

    That’s all well and good if you’re healthy and the people you’re feeding are healthy. Some of us are “freaking out” because everything we put in our bodies that isn’t healthy is making us feel sick. And making our kids sick. We’ve become canaries in coal mines for toxic ingredients. And we’re sick to freaking death of the marketing of crap, and being told that it’s totally safe to eat toxic crap in moderation. It’s a crapshoot. (Sometimes literally. :)) No, I don’t think one bag of cheetos is going to do long-term damage to anyone. If you’re healthy and feel like some Cheetos and giving your liver a workout, go to it. But don’t tell me it’s healthy in moderation. It’s just not. And it will make me and my kids sick for an entire week if we do it. We’re not crazies. We’re not freaking the f$&k out. But we are being painted that way, and all because we can’t eat garbage “food”.

    • thenutritionguruandthechef says:

      Hi Luna, the post wasn’t meant to offend. I see many people who have developed anxiety and psychological distress over being terribly concerned about eating healthily. Eating healthily shouldn’t be about focusing on every single ingredient that is going to kill us. Instead, it should be about focusing on eating more of the wonderful foods that can heal and protect us.

      In the post, I specifically state that the article does not ‘give you permission to now eat terrible food’, so it wasn’t about giving people permission to eat unhealthily.

      There is a condition called orthorexia which can be just as damaging to health as eating bad foods themselves. I have seen many instances of this condition and with the rise of social media, it is getting worse and something that needs to be addressed. If it takes an article saying that a Dorito chip won’t kill you, then that’s good.

      Thanks for reading! From guru

  6. dietitianjulie says:

    As a dietitian, I cannot agree more! Each meal, I try to just do something simple like eat clean or follow the plate method and if I mess up a meal, oh well, I’ll do better the next time. Now and then I want chocolate or a doughnut or whatever and you know what? I eat it…just not all the time. My head spins when I read about all of the nutrition info. that everyone is spouting. Great reminder!

  7. Juggling With Julia says:

    Bravo!! So well said, and I’m not a little jealous that my philophy ended up in your words, on your blog, and all over Facebook here in the US 🙂 Spot on, cheers and hurrah from a registered dietitian!!!

  8. Larissa Wills says:

    I agree with Luna. While I get what you are saying about orthorexia and not being so strict that you are in a psychologically stressful environment, it is important to make healthful choices with regards to food. (“Food” is used here to describe actual nutritionally beneficial substances and not “food-like edible substances” that I consider Cheetos). You concede that people with diseased or ill bodies need to be more careful about what they choose to consume – but has it occurred to you that this now describes majority of North Americans? Diabetes, obesity, joint pain, osteoporosis, migraines, skin conditions, food allergies, and not to mention the plethora of gut issues that now plague our continent are only increasing in prevalence. This decline in health is not merely an association with the increase in processed junk that we are now being fed everywhere we turn. Maybe it’s time we stop slacking with our “food” choices and take some responsibility for our “daily aches and pains”. I consider the whole “everything in moderation” a cop-out for being lazy with nutrition. I’m not saying you should NEVER have a cookie again (although homemade with ingredients you can read would be preferable), but if you are going to eat it, it’s important to be conscious of the detrimental effects on your health that will ensue if you make that a large portion of your diet, and to know that those foods are not health promoting for your body.

    • thenutritionguruandthechef says:

      Hi Larissa,

      I’m well aware of the levels of chronic disease. It’s why I dedicated 4 years of my life to studying very hard at university to try and prevent these diseases from happening. I have also experienced the effects of unhealthy eating first hand, as a student dietitian in the hospital system.

      Unfortunately it is not as simple as telling people what they shouldn’t eat and they will just follow. I find the approach that I use highly effective in creating long lasting health and dietary change. It may not be as black and white as telling people to just eat healthy food and to stop eating junk, but it is certainly much more effective.

      Different strategies work for different people, and I’m pleased to hear you have found what works for you 🙂

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  10. vickydrake says:

    Love this! I developed a really bad obsession with nutrition which left my body in a worse state than when I started and it was affecting my children in a bad way too. The past couple of months I have eased off, everything at home is still 100% real food but if we are out we can enjoy a treat and if my kids have a party to go to they can have a piece of cake. We are all so much happier and my depression has lifted, there are some things I still don’t allow myself like bread because its just not worth the headache. I now enjoy listening to my body and reading the signals my body gives me. Its all about balance! To luna, who posted above, I highly recommend the book ‘mind over medicine’ by dr lissa rankin its amazing and will really help you I think, I was where you are and I was so miserable, so was my child.

    • The Nutrition Guru and The Chef says:

      Sounds like you have found a way to get through the day now, well done! Thanks for reading!

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