Friday, January 19, 2018
Health

Five signs you're taking this 'clean' diet thing too far

I love kale sauteed in garlic and olive oil. It sounds crazy, but I'd choose this healthy snack over potato chips any day. I probably fall into the category of "clean eaters," the moniker given to people who cut back on processed foods, favoring whole foods, such as vegetables, whole grains, beans and nuts.

But I know my limits. My penchant for leafy greens will never displace my love of chocolate or take away from pizza night with my kids. It's all about balance.

At a certain point, a strict diet — even when it seems healthy — can become dangerous. It doesn't matter whether you eat clean, follow a vegetarian diet or eschew carbs; when choice and flexibility turn into obsession and rigidity, an issue is brewing.

Here are some warning signs that your rigid eating plan is a problem.

You feel guilt and shame when you deviate from your diet: Clean eating is about making nutritious choices but leaving room for some indulgences. The trouble with the phrase "clean eating" begins when foods outside your approved list are considered "dirty." You should not feel guilty about occasionally enjoying apple pie or movie theater popcorn. In a balanced and healthy eating plan, there is no shame in enjoying something delicious.

You're cutting out entire food groups: Maybe you cut out sugar in an effort to eat better. Because it made you feel good, you continued to build a long list of no-nos: no grains, no fruit, no dairy, etc. When the number of foods you avoid surpasses the list of foods you eat, you've gone too far. Reality check: It makes sense to skip foods you dislike or foods that make you sick. But if there is no real reason to shun certain ingredients, ask yourself why you've made such rigid choices. You should select foods that taste good and nourish; you shouldn't shun foods based on trends. When you cut entire food groups, you eliminate nutrients your body needs.

You avoid social events where food is served: Did you skip your best friend's birthday dinner to avoid eating cake and drinking beer? If your eating habits are getting in the way of your social life, it's time to rethink your limited menu. A balanced eating plan means you can eat clean but still enjoy dinner with friends without guilt. Can't do that? Red flag.

You feel superior and lecture others about their poor eating habits: Maybe you're not avoiding social situations, but are your friends avoiding you? Healthy eaters can be preachy about their beliefs. If you brag to everyone about your new juice cleanse or insult your friend's Instagram photo of cupcakes, you'll risk alienating people. Your food choices should not define you, and you should not judge others based on what they eat. Choose to eat well because you want to feel good, not so you can gloat about it.

You spend a ton of time planning your next meal — or the next 10: Planning ahead can help you make better food choices. But if you spend more than three hours a day planning and preparing for meals, eating is becoming an obsession. It's no longer a healthy habit but an internal struggle for control, a classic sign of an eating disorder.

If you recognize these warning signs, it might be time to make a serious change in your eating habits. If you find yourself having trouble stepping back, find a registered dietitian and psychotherapist who specializes in treating this type of dietary perfectionism.

Heathy eaters recognize that food is nourishing, pleasurable and social. Once those ideas become the norm, it's easier to have healthy relationships, make peace with food and discover joy in every bite.

Cara Rosenbloom, a registered dietitian, is president of Words to Eat By. She is co-author of "Nourish: Whole Food Recipes featuring Seeds, Nuts and Beans."

Comments
Expect some pain. Thatís what hospitals are starting to tell patients as concern spreads over opioids

Expect some pain. Thatís what hospitals are starting to tell patients as concern spreads over opioids

Doctors at some of the largest U.S. hospital chains admit they went overboard with opioids to make people as pain-free as possible, and now they shoulder part of the blame for the nationís opioid crisis. In an effort to be part of the cure, theyíve b...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Itís flu season, and how: Hereís what you need to know

Itís flu season, and how: Hereís what you need to know

Cristi Fryberger, a fifth-grade teacher, was headed back for the first day of classes at St. Petersburg Christian School after the Christmas break but didnít feel well. She left a couple of hours later and went to an urgent care clinic, where a swab ...
Updated: 4 hours ago
This 66-year-old is about to run seven marathons in seven days on seven continents

This 66-year-old is about to run seven marathons in seven days on seven continents

When Robert Owensís father was 75, he gave his son some advice. "He said, ĎYou know, son, the sad part is when you get old they just put you on a shelf and you become irrelevant. Fight to stay relevant. Fight to stay in the game, otherwise they will ...
Published: 01/18/18
5 things we learned about Trump from his medical checkup

5 things we learned about Trump from his medical checkup

Five things we learned about President Donald Trump from Navy Rear Adm. Ronny Jackson, the doctor who oversaw Trumpís first medical checkup in office. SLEEP Trump doesnít get much shut-eye. Jackson guessed that Trump snoozes four to five hours a nig...
Published: 01/17/18
A century after the 1918 pandemic, science takes its best shot at flu

A century after the 1918 pandemic, science takes its best shot at flu

WASHINGTON ó The descriptions are haunting. Some victims felt fine in the morning and were dead by night. Faces turned blue as patients coughed up blood. Stacked bodies outnumbered coffins. A century after one of historyís most catastrophic disease o...
Published: 01/17/18
A popular school fundraiser is just Ďjunk-food marketing to kids,í experts say

A popular school fundraiser is just Ďjunk-food marketing to kids,í experts say

For 43 years, schoolkids and their parents have clipped the labels from cookie bags and cracker boxes as part of a popular rewards program called Labels for Education.Through this and similar programs ó think Tysonís Project A+ or General Millsí Box ...
Published: 01/17/18
Pinellas is at the center of a rise in Florida flu outbreaks

Pinellas is at the center of a rise in Florida flu outbreaks

Feeling a little sniffly or scratchy or stuffed up? It may be the flu, and you donít want to wait around to see a doctor this year. This is not the time to write off flu-like symptoms, Tampa Bay area health officials and doctors warn. The influenza v...
Published: 01/16/18

CDC says ĎThereís lots of flu in lots of places.í And itís not going away anytime soon.

A nasty flu season is in full swing across the United States, with a sharp increase in the number of older people and young children being hospitalized, federal health officials said Friday.The latest weekly data from the Centers for Disease Control ...
Published: 01/12/18
Mease Countryside Hospital begins $156M expansion project

Mease Countryside Hospital begins $156M expansion project

SAFETY HARBOR ó Mease Countryside Hospital is launching a $156 million expansion to build a four-story patient tower with all private rooms and a four-story parking garage.The tower will include 70 private patient rooms, a 30-bed observation unit, cr...
Published: 01/11/18
Flu shot? This is why you should still get one this year

Flu shot? This is why you should still get one this year

This yearís flu season is shaping up to be a bad one. Much of the country endured a bitterly cold stretch, causing more people to be crowded together inside. The strain that has been most pervasive, H3N2, is nastier than most. And, weíre being told, ...
Published: 01/11/18