Why do we care?

[[disclaimer: I am not an RD or any kind of certified health professional. My writings are my thoughts and opinions based on personal observation and experience.]]

In my recent interactions with friends and family members, I have come to realize something that seems somewhat strange to me.  It is about how we view food intolerance and eating habits.  Specifically, the difference between how health-nuts/foodies view them vs. how ‘normal’ people view them.  And by ‘normal’ I mean those who don’t focus on food, but enjoy the foods they like without thinking too much about what they are eating. [[this is not meant to offend anyone, I was having trouble finding a good way to articulate this difference]]

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vanilla mint chia pudding w/ spirulina. would I have eaten this a year ago? probably not.

The majority of people I know have favorite foods, and foods they are not particularly fond of – they don’t eat their food based on which vitamins it has, or what color it is.  Some of these favorites may include large amounts of processed sugars, animal fats, and foods that many have an intolerance to such as gluten and dairy.  I’ve seen statistics that say something like 60-75% of adults cannot properly digest dairy – yet I’m sure that hardly all of those adults cut out all lactose from their diet, or are even aware that they have digestion issues.  And many don’t really notice, and don’t care – they are happy with their eating habits, and a little stomach-ache now and then isn’t a big deal.

Lately we hear more and more of people with food intolerance, sensitivities, allergies, and other special dietary restrictions.  I have heard some people say that those who claim to have intolerance and sensitivities think that “the world is out to get them” or that it’s all psychological.

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oats & chia with cinnamon & sunflower butter. complex carbs, healthy fats, protein, no processed sugar, nutrient-rich breakfast.

Sometimes I don’t know what to believe.  I hear things that lead me to think that everyone has an intolerance or sensitivity, but some are more in tune with their bodies than others.  I know that there are people with serious food intolerance issues that makes them unable to function at times.  But I also hear things that lead me to believe that such intolerance does not have a significant effect on daily life unless we play them up, and make ourselves uncomfortable.

Yes, I know that modern medicine has advanced a great deal in the past few decades, and that we are now able to test for things like sensitivities and intolerance.  But are these always serious issues? Or are they just things that will not really hurt us, and only cause mild discomfort.

So, why do some of us care so much now? And why do some not care at all?  Why do some people work out even when they’re in pain, and pay little attention to injuries?  Why do some people notice every little thing that happens with their bodies, and some are perfectly happy not to have to deal with any of it? [[yes, I know this is probably an exaggeration, I am by no means an expert on the subject]]

You may wonder why I’m writing this, and why I am writing it now.  Since I’ve started reading blogs and writing my own, I’ve become more aware of my diet and overall nutrition.  I pay more attention to getting necessary nutrients, and to the effects that certain foods have on the way I feel.  For example, I’ve always known that onions upset my stomach – but for the longest time, I just left it at that. No onions, happy body.  But now I’ve noticed other things about the way I feel after eating a variety of other foods, and how I feel without eating certain foods.

So what do I do? Do I go on, just steering clear of the few little things that make me uncomfortable and not worry about it? Or do I make it a point to figure out what causes my upset stomach, bloating, lethargy, and other emotional and physical changes.  Is it worth it to get blood work or other tests done to confirm some of my suspicions?  Is it worth it to perfectly fine tune my diet? Is it even realistic? I have no idea.

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vanilla avocado-banana pudding, hemp seeds sprinkled on top. allergen free. all natural, whole foods. protein, carbs, healthy fats.

I sometimes wish I could go back to ‘not caring’ about what I ate – even though I know I am much healthier now, and doing great things for my body.  But what about for my mind? I am not unhappy with my diet now, but am I better off just trying to stop worrying? Or will I be happier knowing what is causing my minor discomforts?

What is your take on how food affects the way we feel? — I’d love to hear your personal experiences, advice, anything you have to share on this topic.

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11 thoughts on “Why do we care?

  1. this was written AMAZINGLY. I totally get what you mean.
    sometimes u feel ‘physco’ when u are so aware.
    I think the point is to Not take things to an extreme and to honor your body the best you can while feeling sane. If you are in stress because of it;its simply not worth it. stress is the number ONE Killer.
    But the truth is once we workout stress, getting minor problems fixed or making adjustments and compensating and treating our body with the best nutrition shouldn’t seem so hard. – maybe we(more people) would actually want to feel great from day to day and not put trash in our bodies

  2. I can totally relate to what you are saying here, and I think you say it pretty perfectly. I often wonder why i seem to be the only one of my friends that seems concerned with fueling my body with healthy, whole foods. I wonder, how can they function on a diet like that? But i forget that just about a year ago, I did the same.

    I don’t know if it is realistic to say that we can “perfectly fine tune” our diets, but I think it is still important that we are aware of the discomforts that some foods cause and that we eat the best way for our specific bodies. As for those who just live with the discomfort… that’s on them. It’s their life, their stomach. They can choose what things are important to them and they will figure it out as it suits them.

  3. I agree with Mariel in that this was written perfectly!
    As I am here at uni, I see how others ‘normally’ eat. It is actaully so shocking, they dont focus on specific nutirents but simply eat what they want/ what is available to them
    Makes me wish I could go back to eating without care or worries of nutrient values.
    Not to say that learning/caring abot your nutrition isnt valuable, but when taken to extemes it can really takeover your life.

  4. This is something I’ve been thinking a lot about, too. I’m one of those people who more or less knows what works for my body, but in most cases, I’m not interested in completely cutting a food out just because it gives me a little tummy trouble. On the other hand, I have friends who have very restrictive diets, and I applaud their commitments. Even though I generally eat pretty well, an all-or-nothing approach is just not a way that I want to live my life.

  5. good post and great topic, it is hard not care about how food makes you feel once you are aware of it. i know a lot of people who just do not care about changing their diets even if it means they could feel better. sometimes once you get going on feeling better you want to keep going. i think we all deserve to get the best health, just some want it more than others I guess

  6. Great post–I do think you wrote it very well. I’m not sure I could ever go back to not caring about how food makes me feel or nutrients etc., especially with my GI issues. Just recently I had a conversation with a friend who was eating poorly and feeling terrible, but didn’t seem to want to do anything about it. I can understand why some people may not care, but for those who are eating so poorly that they are feeling bad, it’s hard to understand why they wouldn’t want to change their habits? Food choices are personal, though. I just hope that because I respect their choices, they respect mine as well.

  7. Great post, and something I’ve actually thought about a lot! I was looking at old pictures of me when I was little, eating cereal, eating ice cream.. and I realized that I wasn’t so caught up about the nutrition, the serving size, the quality.. i just ate and enjoyed. I threw it away if I didn’t want the rest. I didn’t think about it, I just did what was right for me. I really wish I didn’t become this way. i mean, it’s great that I care about eating healthy, but sometimes I wonder if there are just some aspects that I care too much about.

  8. Pingback: One for October | Eat, Learn, Discover.

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