Submitted by Guest Blogger, Megan Tomaszewski
As 2019 came close, I, like many people, began evaluating my dietary choices and resolved to “eat healthier.” I decided to look into some of those buzzwords I’d been hearing a lot of this past year, words that I only had a vague understanding of but inexplicably linked them to health and vitality due to the increasing prevalence of seeing them on the news and through social media:
keto, paleo, gluten-free, and sugar-free.
Falling through a rabbit hole of testimonies by individuals—including quite a few women fitness influencers whose workouts I admire—and articles filled with buzzwords describing food with magical words like “natural,” “clean,” and “superfoods,” I went from curiosity to fairly convinced that a three-day soup “detox” was exactly what I needed to jumpstart my nutritional upkeep.
I didn’t necessarily understand what I’d exactly be detoxing from (the toxins of modern life seemed to be the general author consensus – and who wants toxins??), but the earnest anecdotes laced with scientific-sounding terms and pictures of people who seemed physically fit and happy seemed credible enough. I was genuinely excited.
I was going to purify my body and then fill it with all kinds of good, clean foods that I had apparently been neglecting! I was on my way!
And then, the divine intervened and guided my head to the bottom row of my local library’s nonfiction section to stumble across my much-needed smack back into reality: “The Angry Chef’s Guide to Spotting Bullsh*t in the World of Food: Bad Science and the Truth About Healthy Eating.” I was hit with a lightning bolt of the obvious: the most crucial thing missing from my quest for improved health and wellbeing—missing from many of our journeys––wasn’t a juice cleanse or high-protein meals. No, what was missing was science.
Plain, unglamorous, sensible food science.
Science tells me that restricting whole food groups will most likely cause weight loss, but it can also increase my risk of certain health issues. Science talks about “increased” benefits, not of nutritional elixirs that will fix your entire body in just days or weeks. Science doesn’t assign moral connotations of “good” and “bad” or “clean” and “dirty” to food, something that is supposed to bring sustenance, nourishment, and pleasure.What science tells me isn’t delivered by a bubbly fitness instructor or in a “5 Vegetables That Ramp Up Your Metabolism” article. I know, bummer. It’s delivered in lengthy, research-driven, peer-assessed packets like the USDA’s Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Results are created through countless weeks, months, or even years of work. Science isn’t looking for followers, likes, or shares, it’s looking for the truth.
But, unfortunately, science typically doesn’t sound as fun as:
“The 20 Most Weight-Loss Friendly Foods on the Planet”
(admit it, you want to see what they are).
And it’s easy for us as humans to want simple, shining answers that are neatly tied up with a bow. But if we truly want to improve our health, we need to be conscious consumers—not only of the food we choose to eat, but of the sources we choose to get our information from.
Now, I’m resolving to try to align my eating habits more closely with the ones laid out by the USDA. So, more veggies, more whole grains, cutting down a bit on sugar. You know, reasonable measures. And this, to me, sounds far better than eating nothing but soup for three days.
About Megan Tomaszewski
Megan is a freelance contributor for G&G Fitness. With a bachelor’s degree in Communication: Journalism & Media from SUNY Geneseo, she is a former staff member of The Buffalo News affiliate The Hamburg Sun, and currently works as a marketing writer at Barclay Damon LLP. Megan is a fan of pilates, weight lifting, and yoga, and has a love-hate (mostly hate) relationship with cardio. Her secret for powering through tough workouts is imagining she’s in training to be an Avenger. In her free time, Megan loves listening to podcasts, reading, spending time outside, and watching Say Yes to the Dress. If you have an article you'd like to share on the LiveFit Blog, contact us.