A while back I attended the Food Matters LIVE event. It was full of inspiration and ‘aha moments’ and lots of smiles and nodding.
Before I head into my rant I really need to say that I LOVED the event. The Earth Events peeps do a great job at running a seamless show.
The ridiculously amazing Dr Libby was an absolute highlight. What a gem of a woman. I bought her Sweet Food Story cookbook because I wanted to read about sweetness from someone who has a common sense approach. (And because I need another cookbook #notreally)
Jon Gabriel was also fascinating – telling his story of weightloss that didn’t involve dieting. I’ve heard him speak before and aside from the fact he has one of the most amazing voices around, I always take something away from his talks that really sticks.
But here’s the thing. I attend these events and suddenly I’m all off kilter. I’m thinking about everything I’m not doing with food for myself and my family.
Within the first few minutes of the event I felt alienated….
Get this –
The super charming James from Food Matters kicked things off and was getting everyone fired up. There were lots of “HELL YEAHS” from the audience and the energy was rising. He said something along the lines of “whether you are here to improve your own health, your kids’ health or perhaps the health of that person at home who is eating croissants and watching TV, you’ll love it!”
I had literally, that morning, been to the French bakery to buy croissants for my family. It’s a Sunday morning thing – we love it and I have no guilt about it.
I suddenly felt like I was part of the unhealthy crowd. I felt like this was a party I wasn’t invited to. Or that I better take lots of notes because I’ve got a lot to learn (first on the list – give up croissants!).
Here’s the thing. I LOVE learning about food. I love learning the WHY behind food. I lap this stuff up.
BUT there comes a point at which it becomes, dare I say it, unhealthy. The fact that I will probably NEVER start my day with a cold-pressed ginger and tumeric shot should not make me feel like a failure. The fact my kids don’t happily eat cod liver oil does not make me a failure as a mother.
We get to choose our own status quo with food.
We get to choose the information that catapults us towards making healthy changes. We get to ignore the stuff that eats away at our self-confidence and sanity.
Even some of our most loved foodies have had to do back flips on their food beliefs because a certain style of eating doesn’t serve them any more. Think Quirky Jo who taught all thermomix lovers how to bake artisan breads, and had to remove grains for a period while on a healing GAPS diet. If you are a Jo lover – who isn’t!? – I BET it made you question that spelt loaf in the oven. I bet you were thinking ‘damn, if it’s not healthy for Jo anymore then is it not healthy for me’. I know you thought this because I did too!
And the Merrymaker Sisters who have recently announced they are no longer Paleo, while claiming Paleo was an amazingly healing lifestyle choice for them, they are now broadening out. So if the eating styles of people who you perceived to be healthy can change – it serves as a reminder to us of why we should NEVER outsource our power to other people. Our quest to find the right foods for our body should be influenced only by what works FOR US!
There is so much to learn about food and biochemistry and biology and all sorts of fun things but at the end of the day we need to lose the guilt and stress and anxiety around food.
I teach people in my Small Steps to Wholefoods program to take their time making changes to a more wholesome style of cooking. Not to rush, to take things slow. Experiment, enjoy the process, don’t burn the budget.
I TEACH THIS and yet I am not immune to feeling like a failure around people who are ‘healthier’ than me. But it’s the description of healthy that I think is fascinating. It’s always about more than food. A ginger and turmeric shot isn’t going to make you healthy if you slam it down while ignoring your husband who you hate and head off to a job you despise.
It just won’t.
Because here’s the thing – most of us feel overwhelmed. It doesn’t take a genius to work out that living a life filled with chemicals and toxins, additives and preservatives, denatured food and highly inflammatory oils etc etc is not going to equate to health. It’s a bit of a pickle we’ve gotten ourselves into with food and lifestyle stress. We need to find a way out. But we don’t need guilt and scare tactics to drive it.
We need to come back to base.
The Food Matters team are doing life-changing work in the world – spreading messages of the healing power of food – of how food is the best medicine – of how the more we get to know and honour our body’s the healthier, more energetic and more vital we will feel. It’s wonderful that they are doing this great work. Because it’s all true.
But if it’s OK with them, I think I’ll still be getting croissants on Sundays…..
ps – If you are looking to make lifestyle changes to improve your health and the health of your family – and you’re sick of the usual BS – I encourage you to check out my Easy Kitchen Reset. It’s a simple program designed to help you press pause on everything happening in your kitchen and cupboards, and start fresh (minus the stress, million trips to the supermarket and expensive ingredients.