Myths about Healthy Eating

Posted on Feb 2, 2014

Anyone who knows me well will know that I’m not a “I’ll just have a salad” girl*. I eat, and I eat a lot. But I’m also very active, which is the primary thing that fuels my hunger, and most (but not all) of what I eat is fairly healthy. And because I so often hear myths of what it means to be a healthy eater, I feel compelled to write this post and straighten a few things out.

  1. Myth #1: People eat healthy food to be skinny. I can’t speak for all women, but healthy eating, to me, has nothing to do with dieting or waist size. I eat healthy so that I wake up most mornings feeling good, so that I can run a 5k or do a long bike ride, and so that if I ever do get sick, I hopefully have a good starting chance of fighting the disease. And, even more importantly, I eat healthy so that when it comes time to go into motherhood and other stages of life, I’m able to physically and mentally take on anything that comes my way.
  2. Myth #2: Healthy food is bland and boring. If you think so, you’ve obviously never had a good vegetarian curry. The typical midwestern diet, which seems to be primarily composed of meat, grease, and cheese, is what’s bland and boring.
  3. Myth #3: People who like healthy food never eat unhealthy stuff. I love butter. I love making and eating super cheesy pizza. And cake with buttercream frosting. And fatty chicken wings. Oh do I love fatty chicken wings. Do I feel guilty or less healthy eating these things? Nope. Since I eat healthy most of the time, I don’t feel guilty about eating an unhealthy meal.
  4. Myth #4: If you eat healthy food, you don’t need the flu vaccination, and you’ll never get sick. Living a healthy lifestyle can help keep your immune system strong and help prevent heart disease, diabetes, etc., but healthy eating isn’t a replacement for a vaccination.
  5. Myth #5: Detox and drinking a majority of your meals is good for your body. Detox is not healthy. In fact, some of those detox drinks are just plain scary. Don’t get me wrong: I love smoothies, mostly just because I love fruit, and smoothies are an excellent way to get extra vegetables and nutrients into your body. BUT! juicing to lose weight is not healthy. Protein drinks or juices shouldn’t replace meals.
  6. Myth #6: Packaged health food is good for you. Don’t believe health claims. Stick with whole foods and homemade food.
  7. Myth #7: Eating healthy is like being on a never ending diet. Truth: if you just eat healthy, you’ll never have to diet again.
  8. Myth #8: Being healthy means being gluten-free, paleo, a vegan or a vegetarian. Some people are sensitive to gluten, some people are not. Some people rather not eat animals. What works for one person may not work for another. You can live a healthy lifestyle without cutting out certain foods. Figure out what works best for you body and your ethical beliefs and stick with it.
  9. Myth #9: Fat-free and sugar-free are healthy choices. On the contrary, these are almost always the unhealthiest choices. Plus, if something is fat-free, you’re probably going to use a lot more of it since it has less flavor. And more studies are starting to come out that show the dangers of artificial sweeteners.
  10. Myth #10: If you eat healthy, you’ll always feel hungry. If so, you’re not eating the right things. Though I often say that I’m always hungry, it’s because I’m active, burn off calories quickly, and have a high metabolism. After I eat, I feel quite full. But if your lunch consists only of celery sticks and peanut butter than yes, you’re going to be hungry.

So dear world: Stop dieting. Stop worrying about your waist size. Instead: Exercise! Be active. Cherish food.

*I love salads, though. I mean I really love salads. I often make big, mixing bowl-size salads and eat it all right out of the mixing bowl (in fact, I may be doing that right now), and I also love salads at restaurants, so I’m not against ordering salads. There’s a difference between eating a salad because you don’t want to gain weight and ordering a salad because it looks and sounds amazing. Besides, many restaurant salads are actually quite unhealthy once you factor in the dressing and toppings.