I love yoga, hiking and being active. I consider myself a healthy person. But my raw-food friend is always freaking out about my diet because I love sweets. She lectures me about how “everyone knows” sugar is damaging to the body. Is it wrong for me to eat sugar? Is this somehow compromising my healthy lifestyle?
Dear Sweet Tooth,
As a practiced writer, I have learned to beware of generalizations. Your friend has offered you a juicy generalization, based on her own dietary commitment. A “healthy lifestyle” is, in many ways, subjective. Your life, your body runs on your choices. No matter how many good intentions or how much good information she has, your friend can’t live your life for you.
If you look around online, you will certainly find many people who share your friend’s opinion, but the real damage with sugar these days is the amount of sugar we consume, and not the sugar itself.
Sugar has become an essential element in most processed and fast foods. However, your best investigation into the truth of the matter is inside yourself. Are you aware of how you feel when you eat this type of food? Does it affect your weight, your flexibility or your sleep patterns? Most importantly, does it affect your mood?
I would encourage you to look at the question of sugar from an energy perspective.
Food, just like everything in existence, is made of energy. That means a connection exists and one thing has the potential to transform into another. In this way, many cultures believe that some foods can balance out or transform the negative effects of other foods. It is possible for something to be considered bad in one culture, and good in another.
Generalizations aside, it is worthwhile to listen to your friend. You don’t have to be a health fanatic to pay attention to what you’re eating. How you eat is just as important as what you eat. Are you regularly sitting down to eat meals or are you grabbing your food on the run? Are you eating when you are calm and quiet, or are you eating when you feel stressed?
Taking good care of yourself involves paying attention to these things. Maybe you can use your friend’s comment to help you develop your own version of a healthy lifestyle.
The next time you have food, get to know yourself and your food with this simple exercise:
- Sit down and relax your body by taking 3 deep breaths.
- Look at your food and express gratitude for all the plants, animals or people who helped bring it to you.
- Take just a few seconds to become aware of your body, how it feels, whether it is hungry or tired.
Then smile as you begin to eat your food.