Are you looking for wellness in all the wrong places? You really don’t need to eat “clean” or sugar free…

16th February, 2017

Wellness is often sold as a specific way of eating, such as eating “clean” or sugar free. But wellness generally doesn’t require a special diet and changing your diet doesn’t guarantee wellness.

The good news is wellness can be found with enjoying all types of food, but perhaps the most important ingredient is connection to others.

Imagine you meet a group of people who make you laugh, engage you in conversation you enjoy and who help you feel happier within yourself. You even start being more active with the group, regularly meeting up for a walk or a favourite type of physical activity. Due to this social interaction and increased physical activity, your stress reduces, you sleep better and you feel fitter and more energetic.

Of course a scenario such as this does not guarantee these changes to your health, but it is very possible they would occur and I often hear this from people when they do become more socially and physically active.

Now imagine you meet once per week and each time you meet there is food involved, food you are trying hard to avoid, the type of food often labelled as “toxic” or “unhealthy” by our current “wellness” culture. Food such as pizza, fried foods and sweets*. Is partaking in this food really going to negatively impact your health? Is eating this food going to negate the reduction in stress, the better sleep, increased fitness and sense of wellbeing?

I dearly hope you are thinking “no!” If you’re not, you might like to read about intuitive eating which explains how all food can belong in a nutritious pattern of eating.

As I hope this scenario highlights, your health or wellness is so much more than just what you eat. Yes, eating a variety of nutritious food is important, but not everything you eat must be as nutritious as possible.

If you are following a wellness program (or wellness guru), and your current way of eating leaves you feeling disconnected to other people or anxious about food or your body, then I encourage you to reflect on whether or not that program is truly about wellness. If you subscribe to a particular wellness program and truly feel good within yourself, then that’s fine too.

*Please note I am not saying pizza, fried food or sweets are unhealthy, quite the contrary. Aside from each of these foods offering some nutrition, the social connection that accompanies this food is much healthier than a plate full of “superfoods”