I don’t know how or what to eat anymore.
I’m 28 years old, 6′ tall, somewhere between 200-215 pounds depending on the time of year, and I do not have any idea what my diet is supposed to be like. This isn’t to say I’m looking for advice. No, I get more than enough. People yell tips and facts at me from all angles, every possible vantage point: TV commercials, tweets/internet articles, diet/nutrition books, personal anecdotes. Which would be okay if there were some general consensus on any of it, but most people resort to buzzwords or general ideas of what “eating right” means and can’t really go into it much further.
Maybe science can help me. Science? You there? Woah, slow down, science. One at a time, please. Okay, science, you’re not helping much. What about breakfast cereal: will it kill me? Well, on the one hand, I’ve been told for years that most of my diet—a whopping 6-11 servings on the food pyramid—should be bread, cereal, rice, pasta, etc. In fact, the USDA endorses grains in their Choose My Plate initiative, and there were probably some scientists or nutritionists involved in that decision, right? But everybody else seems to think that not only are grains bad for us, they’re evolutionarily bad for us. However, even those who are against grains can’t agree on why. Some believe that, since humans only began cultivating grains relatively recently in the Grand Scheme of Things, our bodies aren’t equipped to handle them. Others believe that humans have adapted to a grainy diet, and that diet is what causes us to suffer from heart disease, cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure, etc. Then there are those who think we should only eat certain kinds of grains, while others worry that, in our haste to hightail it away from gluten, we’re making separate, even unhealthier choices. Meanwhile, we’ve had Wonder Bread singing grain’s praises for close to a century now.
So I have to take all of that into consideration before Step 1 of any sandwich I make. Then I still have to worry about the meat (cruelty free? processed? additives?), cheese (real dairy? fatty?), lettuce (locally grown? pesticide free?), tomatoes (genetically modified?), mayonnaise (too many calories?), and anything else I want to put on there. I was going to make a joke about how the only things that I know are good for me all the time are avocados, but of course I then found this article—c’est impossible!
There are low-fat diets, low-carb diets, vegetarian diets (including lacto, lacto-ovo, and vegan diets), pescetarian diets, kangatarian diets (seriously, kangaroos), cabbage soup diets, grapefruit diets, cookie diets, Subway diets, watermelon diets, detox diets, gluten-free diets, meat-only diets, liquid diets, preservative-free diets, high-fiber diets, and, of course, traditional/religious diets.
It’s too much. I want to be healthy, I want to be good to my body, but I don’t have the foggiest clue how to do that. I’m probably just going to eat Cocoa Puffs until the day I die.
What’re your thoughts on dieting and nutrition? What are the rules you eat by? I’m almost certainly not going to adopt any of them, but I’ll smile politely and think longingly of my next potentially horrible for me meal while I read them.
Also, feel free to post a suggestion for next week’s topic, assuming the Cocoa Puffs don’t kill me before then!