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It Is What it Is, Not What it’s Not.

It’s not what you shouldn’t do or eat.
It’s about what you should.

Updated 10/2020

“It is what it is.”

I was asked a question this week because of yet another attempt at making people nervous about food.

Sigh. Instead of worrying about all the terrible things that could happen if we eat too much of “whatever”, let me let you in on a little secret:

Most of what could be scary about food can be avoided if you store and cook food properly, and choose a variety. Yep. That simple.

If you eat too much of one thing, you are probably missing out on other things that you need.  Too many carrots can turn you orange. This doesn’t mean you stop eating them.

The way forward is balance. Think of it like a party for your taste buds and body. Offer new foods from each food group each week to keep things interesting and nutritiously balanced.

Yes, you can have favorites that are on repeat in your rotation.

No, I am not going to tell you that it’s ok to not eat fiber.

Yes, you need to eat your fruits and veggies.

No, this doesn’t mean you ignore the other three food groups.

Food is a matrix of nutrients. Take the protein group, for example, because of all the amazing, delicious, and nutritious choices. Seafood twice a week? There’s a reason that is a thing. Do you know the best sources of B12? How about protein foods that also have fiber? Tons of nutrients with some choices being better sources than others of specific nutrients. Bottom line: mix it up to get the best of the best from all groups.

Yes, you need to cook food to proper temperatures with proper techniques. Challenges can happen with undercooked and overcooked (high heat) food. So many problems can be handled by cooking things right. PS they will taste better, too.

balanced eating plant based

Five food groups (fruits, veggies, grains, protein, dairy). Get to know the foods that make them up, the health benefits for why to eat them, and if you choose to avoid something, figure out what that means nutritionally so you can make up the difference with intentional choices. And don’t holler at someone else for eating differently than you do.

It’s not what you shouldn’t do or eat. It’s about what you should.

Enjoy your choices – just eat a variety,  be informed, and keep portion control in mind.

By Kim Kirchherr

I am a dietitian working in food and fiber (agriculture) through retail, addressing opportunities to make things better for people and planet.