Somewhere around 10 years ago, the saying “everything in moderation” probably meant something different to most of you than it does now.
Back then, “moderation” was eating low-fat chips and drinking nonfat milk while eating low-sodium soup, maybe stopping by the drive-thru one less time a week, and opening up a can of veggies with most of your meals.
Now, it seems, things are different. We’re wiser to the ways of nutrition and the foods we put on our plates and in our mouths (at least, if you’re a regular Crunchy Betty reader you’re probably at least a tiny bit more conscious than you were 10 years ago).
But the world of moderation is still a scary place sometimes, especially in light of all of the conflicting information out there about what’s healthy and what’s the-silent-killer-that-will-strike-you-dead-if-you-so-much-as-look-at-it-three-days-in-a-row.
Take salt for instance. Once shamed as a deadly ingredient and its use banished for those with high blood pressure, studies are now coming out that show strict low-sodium diets are actually detrimental to your heart health. (Why has no one thought to give credence to the saying, “worth it’s weight in salt?” Couldn’t there be some kind of historical wisdom in the importance of salt?)
And coconut oil. Ah. The creamy, wonderful coconut oil. To this day, there are still comments on my coconut oil post and green smoothie post (some of which are too mean to publish) about how the fats in coconut oil will cause you to fall over from a heart attack at the age of 25 and then you’ll grow a second heart which will have fat on it that will swallow up the person next to you and then everyone will die.
However, exceptional research has been done showing that coconut oil is incredibly good for you – in many, many different ways (including heart health, skin health, cholesterol-lowering, digestion, and on and on).
But the key to both of these things is: They have to be natural. The salt should be sea salt, with its natural mineral content left intact. The coconut oil should be unrefined, not subjected to harsh chemicals and ultra high heat.
So if you were to ask me what “everything in moderation” means to me now, it would mean that everything as close to natural and real in moderation. And the other stuff? Well, that’s just VERY rare alternative decision making.
So What is Moderation, Anyway?
This question – this whole thought process – came about after a long conversation with my sister, who’s super hip to the ways of traditional eating. She postulated that there’s no real thing as moderation when you consider eating, say, junky fast food.
Mainly because moderation implies that you eat it on somewhat regular occasions, even if it’s in a sparse manner.
So I wouldn’t call it moderation – I’d call it a treat. Wait. No. Not even a treat, because THAT implies that you’re somehow sacrificing by NOT eating it every day. I’d call it … a moment of alternative decision making. Sometimes in your life, you have to make decisions that work in the moment, but may not work in your overall health plan.
They are just momentary decisions, and nothing to feel ashamed about. Just realize that they’re not the direction you want to continue to go, and don’t make them regularly.
The same goes with bath, beauty, and household cleaning products. I’ve actually become a lot more lenient on myself in the last year. Every few months, I’ll make a decision to buy a “natural” dishwasher detergent without wondering about the ingredients, because I’m tired and busy and I’ve run out of my normal ingredients at home.
It’s no big deal, and it saves me a lot of grief. That alternative decision has worked for me, as long as I’m not using synthetic and toxic dishwasher detergent all the time and then piling synthetic skincare products and other things on top of all that toxicity.
A bottle of store-bought lotion when the majority of what you’re doing is completely natural and synthetics-free is not the biggest deal in the world, and it’s not even remotely like “breaking your diet” to the point where you have to fall back into old modes of living.
Sometimes, you make a decision that’s not in line with your desires for your health and your life. It’s not the end of the world. You just get back on the horse you choose and keep riding.
Now. Those are just my thoughts on the idea of moderation.
They’re loose and easy, and the effectiveness of my “moderate” decisions is only as strong as my desire to continue to make choices that are natural and healthy for myself and my family.
My definitions may not be your definition.
So the community questions today, and ones I would particularly love to hear your thoughts on:
- Is there any such thing as moderation when you’re talking about factory farmed foods (especially big farma meats and dairy)?
- Are you strict with your diet and skincare/household products to the point where you don’t allow yourself any access to the more questionable products/foods?
- If the answer to the second question is yes, do you ever feel like you’re missing out?
Please, while you answer, keep this in mind: Crunchy Betty is a vegan-friendly, omnivore-friendly, breatharian-friendly place. I think we can all learn from each other and our unique perspectives on nutrition and diet. However, we need to be respectful of all choices and understand that what works for one person may not work the same way for another.
Just a little reminder, so we don’t have foodwars in the comments. 🙂