Last weekend while at my parents' I read a story in Reader's Digest about the fight between big food and organic. Organic food is all anyone is talking about. The subtitle of the piece is "Have the elite hijacked healthy eating?" It's a legit question.
I've been working with a nutritionist for several months, and it has been hit and miss in terms of how I think her recommendations work. One thing she has said repeatedly is to only buy organic everything. I've done it, and the only place I've really noticed a difference is with meat. I've noticed a HUGE difference in how organic and free range meat tastes. I get it. We buy mostly organic veggies too, but at some point the gluten free, dairy free, all organic diet she wants me on not only doesn't work with our lifestyle, but it sucks. I talked it over with my GI doctor who thinks gluten free and dairy free are certainly unnecessary for me. So I'm back again to my own trial and error and figuring out what works for me.
My nutritionist also said that if I'm eating fresh, organic ingredients that I shouldn't worry about calories. At all. Easy for her to say when she wasn't the one who pretty quickly gained five pounds on her "don't worry about calories and eat organic" diet. That made the Reader's Digest piece even more interesting to me as it compares the amount in calories in organic versus processed food. Eating organic is certainly not always the least caloric option.The article also expressly states, "The fact is, there is simply no clear, credible evidence that any aspect
of food processing or storage makes a food uniquely unhealthy." Does this mean we should eat only processed foods? Probably not. But for me it pokes some holes in all of the dialogue surrounding what we're supposed to eat and the "horror" of processed food.
After I had my colon removed I was tipping the scales at not quite 100 pounds. I lost 30 pounds in about three weeks, and I was having problems gaining weight (a problem I wish I had now). I ate a double quarter pounder meal from McDonald's every single day my first year of law school. Seriously - every day. And it helped me gain back at least some of the weight I'd suddenly lost. And we all know my not so secret love affair with McDonald's. It never occurred to me that eating like that wasn't a good idea.
The idea for this blog was solidified when I read that one of my favorite runners, hurdler Lolo Jones, is eating 9,000 calories a day while training to be on the Olympic bobsled team. Granted we're not all training for a targeted purpose, and that many calories would be a tragedy for most of us. She, an elite athlete, talks about eating four double bacon McDonald's (processed! the horror!) cheeseburgers a day. My favorite line from the article is: "It seems like if you aspire to be an Olympian, you should focus your
efforts on the sport that allows you to eat four double bacon
cheeseburgers. Bacon cheeseburgers are delicious and running is hard."
In the last blog I did about nutrition I mentioned eating tator tots (because they are delicious). I got some pretty snarky comments about that nutritional choice. Here's the thing - I think if you eat only organic food and that is what works for you then that's awesome. Frankly I think everybody should just do whatever works for them. I've heard that runners are judgey (well I am but not just because I'm a runner), but I'm pretty sure there is not a class of people more judgmental than the anti-processed food people. How about we all just do what's best for us accept that it'll be different for everyone? And, let's be honest, bacon cheeseburgers ARE delicious.