Today’s guest post is by Dr. Michelle Robin.
French fries. Chocolate. Chips, popcorn, things that crunch. Those are my food vices. I’m sure you have a few too – something you can hardly resist if it is an option, and something you sometimes want out of the blue. The foods we crave like these are not usually healthy for us. The fact that we eat them isn’t really the problem.
The problem is that we aren’t eating food items like these as occasional indulgences. They’re our norm. We partake frequently, and often in supersized quantities. And they’re toxic, especially in high doses. When we eat these foods in excess we’re flooding our bodies with sugar, unhealthy fats, salt, and any number of chemicals if they’re processed. It is just so easy to have these choices be our go-to more often than not. I get it.
Look, I really love fries. Have you noticed how many meals in restaurants have an automatic side of fries? You can imagine how much willpower I have to muster to ask for the side salad or steamed veggies instead…all…the…time (well, most of the time). In the moment that decision can sometimes feel like a little internal cringe right before I smile to the server and say, “I’ll take the side salad with the vinaigrette, on the side, please.” As soon as I make it past that threshold of asking for the substitution, and the server has walked far enough away from the table that it would be impolite to call him back and change my mind, only then can I claim victory over the craving. Huzzah! Can you relate? I thought so.
Luckily, I’ve been eating a very clean diet for a number of years so the cravings don’t hit me as hard anymore. It isn’t as much of a conscious decision to choose healthy options. I just do it because that is my new normal. Clean, whole, fresh food (gluten and dairy free, low to no sugar) makes up the majority of my day to day diet. I still eat french fries, chocolate, or chips and any number of other things that are not exactly on a typical health-conscious list. I just plan for them. I plan my toxic.
“That sounds weird. Don’t you mean plan a detox?” my client asks.
Well, yes and no. I do frequently talk a lot about detoxing. I suggest doing a detox program twice a year, usually in the spring and fall. I make this recommendation to almost everyone regardless of how clean their diet is. (Some people on medication or with certain health issues should only detox with physician approval.) Detoxing not only removes toxins, it also gives the digestive system a bit of a rest, and an opportunity to repair and rejuvenate. Even people who eat a rather healthy diet need to detox because toxins not only enter our body by the food we eat. They’re in what we drink, the air we breathe, what we put on our skin or touch, any medication we take, etc. All of us can benefit from a detox now and again.
But I’m talking about planning your toxic.
I can eat french fries, chocolate, or chips/popcorn and not feel guilty or worry about my body or health because it only happens once in a while. I plan for it. I know when I’m going to be at a celebration with chocolate, or might be going to a movie and feel like popcorn. Because my normal is a clean, whole food diet my body can handle the occasional toxic consumption and process it accordingly without freaking out or getting overloaded.
But if my normal consists of regular fast food visits and pizza each night, with chips or ice cream as a late night snack each day, eating that piece of cake at the birthday party just piles on the toxic. My body wouldn’t be able to manage it and would start responding with weight gain, inflammation, hormone imbalances, disease, and dis-ease. My normal would be toxic. By the way, when your normal is being toxic doing a detox can be a more difficult experience, but you can get through it.
You know that I am not an “all or none” kind of person. That thinking only causes angst and extreme action. French fries are not evil. I’m not going to tell you to never eat something or always eat something. But on the continuum of healthy choices french fries don’t measure up to fresh veggies. We all know that. I challenge you to make this shift in how you relate to food, make choices at each meal, and when you’re shopping. Create a new normal that skews clean and healthy, and plan your toxic…and enjoy it.
This post was originally published on www.drmichellerobin.com.