Tuesday, October 25, 2011

My Opinion: On Food (Part 1)

I have been thinking of this blog post for some time now. How to say it...

Food and nutrition has become a big love and sometimes hate topic for me. Love because I love everything about food. It's necessary, but also yummy, fun, and beautiful. Hate because it's confusing and a huge industry so there is a lot of misinformation out there.

I am a registered dietitian. I distinctly remember a class that the dietetics majors shared with hotel and restaurant manager majors. You could tell the difference. For some reason, we sat on one side of the room and they on the other. We sat there, pen in hand, posture straight, quiet (except for a few thoughtful q&a), and occasionally glancing over to the other side of the room to the distraction of the easy going hotel-restaurant people. I often wondered why on earth I was on the studious side.

Dietetics is a very diverse area- I couldn't see myself in a white coat walking down the hall of a hospital with a clip board in had. I had no idea what to do after a very discouraging clinical rotation followed by graduation. The work I ended up with was truly a divine intervention. One week out of my clinical experience I was given a breath of fresh air at a small behavioral hospital for children. Eventually that is where I became a dietitian and still remain on the payroll. It is a place where I was free to use creativity in the food and the presentation of information. It was an exciting experience for me.  It fit me perfectly.

Yet I still find myself extremely anal. When it comes to food and nutrition, I tend to put on the white coat and look at numbers carefully. I do my research and make sure my process fits some kind of flow chart or another. This is the one and only area of my life where a type A creeps through, so I want to say this right.

And this will take a few parts...

I want to do more with food and nutrition  on this blog but I need to set a foundation- what my food priorities are, what information I hold valuable, and what my somewhat unique focus might be, because at times I might appear to contradict myself but I have a very well thought out food opinion.

Here is my summary:

Adult nutrition is ultimately the responsibility of the individual. You can go to a doctor, go to nutrition counseling, and do your research but actions are what make the difference.

Your family's diet will affect them. The food you eat will either help you or hurt you. It needs to be a priority.

Your life is not all about food. Good food is a foundation for life and sometimes a compliment to life, but it is not all you do, nor the most important thing you do. There needs to be a balance.

When dealing with children, the important thing is teaching a healthy lifestyle. Individual meals are important, but creating a lifestyle that will continue when the parent is not around is much more valuable.

Some foods help, some foods hurt, and some foods help and hurt. We need to focus on the good foods, get as many as we can, but be aware that we will ingest things that are not necessarily the best for us. It's life. Getting stressed or discouraged about food may even cause you to eat more of the bad stuff, since stress and food have a relationship. And finally, we need to pray that our food helps our bodies.

We cannot possibly know everything about food, nutrition, and our bodies. However, there are some things that we can do that will improve the quality and quantity of our lives.

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