The running (specifically running social media) community seems to have a lot of opinions on what we (runners, athletes and human beings) should eat. I have generally remained fairly silent on this cause, but that does not mean that I don’t have some fairly strong opinions on it. Perhaps it’s because of my strong opinions that I’ve remained silent.
I think instead of telling you what I think YOU should eat, I’m going to give you a summary of how I try to eat (and feed my family) and why.
First of all, if you don’t already know, I’ve got two young daughters (ages 2 and 4), and having young girls certainly influences my decisions. I want them to grow up having healthy associations with food and ‘diet’. I think the best thing I can do for them is set a good example. I recently read this article that someone linked up on Facebook. I really like the idea of not food shaming, and not classifying ANY food as BAD. A local Calgary blogger and dietitian also blogged recently on this topic.
How do we eat in our house? Well first of all we eat all sorts of things, many of them good, and also many that some would classify as “bad”. We will eat Kraft Macaroni and cheese every once and again, though I will often try to buy the healthier Annies version, we also will have special treats here and there and eat totally processed food that many would consider junk.
And guess what? I don’t feel any guilt in feeding my kids (or myself) this way. Why the no guilt? Because most of the time we eat really healthy food. I do try my best for most of our regular meals to make home-made food, made from whole foods, that has all the food groups and a variety of different fruits and vegetables.
I also try to eat this way myself. I know that there are a lot of runners and athletes who use different dietary constraints to attempt to improve their performance. I am not judging this at all, and I think that sometimes these constraints to help certain people in their performances, or to feel better in their daily lives. For me, because I know my daughters are watching me, I feel it is important to not classify any food as BAD, or to attach emotional significance to a food. I will not eliminate any one food group (gluten, meat, grains, dairy, etc). Don’t get me wrong here, IF I were celiac, or any member of my family had an allergy or intolerance, I would absolutely remove it from their diets and perhaps our families. But because none of us have any of these issues, we will continue to eat a balanced diet of varied whole foods as much as we can, and every once in a while as a treat, we’ll eat cookies, cake, potato chips, ice cream, donuts, etc, etc… and we will try not to feel any guilt in doing so in moderation.
I really hope that by eating this way, and raising my girls this way that they grow up with a healthy relationship with food, that they don’t feel deprived and therefore binge, or that they won’t judge their peers who might eat differently than they do.
I feel really privileged that we in Canada (and North America) have so much abundance that we can have this debate and have the options to feed our families in such a diverse and complete way.
What about you? How do you feel about all the debates out there regarding diet? Do you disagree with me? I’d love to hear from you if you do!!