This weekend, my Mom and Matthew spent the night with me while Joe was in Chicago running the marathon. It was great! We played, rode bikes, made (lots of) messes, and had a really fun time…just like we always do. I made the last of the Trader Joe’s pancake mix for breakfast on Sunday (and subbed a flax egg for real egg—–I highly recommend it!). Matthew only ate the mini pancakes I made him, which probably amounted to 3 tbsp, but he ate lots of cantaloupe and fresh orange juice too (good Aunt day).
Making pancakes is something I would never do if I were alone. I thought about this on Sunday, and it made me re-evaluate some of the ways I think about food. I have a habit of categorizing foods as “good” or “bad.” This often leads me to overanalyzing meals and choices, and labeling food in inappropriate ways. Even though I am certified in plant-based nutrition and have done excessive amounts of reading on the topic of nutrition, food, and dieting, I still have to remind myself to be balanced when it comes to food.
I’m not talking about eating disorders here, I’m talking more about functional medicine, and the pitfalls of coming to conclusions about your own health. It is true that many people have sensitivities to gluten, eggs, nuts, dairy, and other foods. It is also true that sometimes those sensitivities show up on medical tests, but other times they don’t.
In functional medicine, a doctor (ideally, your healing partner) helps you conduct your own personal inquiry and investigation about what conditions/foods help your body run at its best both physically and mentally. This is something a doctor has never helped me with, and although it’s frustrating, I think I’ve made lots of discoveries on my own—with some more figuring out to do, for sure!
Sometimes it’s easier to just label foods based on what other people think—but whether someone eats raw, vegan, omnivorously, flexitarian-style, or something else, chances are when they make claims the claims are mostly regarding their own personal health inquiry. It would be easier if we could just take the rules and apply them—there’s less responsibility in merely executing a plan, compared to having to develop the plan too.
It’s fun (maybe not the best word) to help people along their path of self-health-self-help-discovery, but it’s much easier if the people I’m helping get this concept. I often get asked if I can make someone a meal plan. The answer is always No. But I am more than happy to be your partner in figuring out your own plan!
If you had to take one step toward self-health-discovery, what would it be? My first step is to stop blanket-labeling foods as “good” and “bad.”