Fruit-ful Discussion

I'm a member of multiple Facebook groups. Many, if not most, have to do with health - specifically eating and food. The various group slants include paleo eating and living, ketogenic living, low-carb high-fat eating, grain-free eating, gluten-free meals, Elimination Diet, auto-immune eating protocol, and many others. Back in the day prior to becoming a Certified Eating Psychology Coach, I took the messages preached in these groups to heart. I wanted to eat absolutely perfectly!

I was very aware and alert to everything that entered my body. Three squares a day that always included clean protein, vegetables, fat, and very reduced carbs. I also worked out diligently 3 times weekly with a personal trainer in addition to playing volleyball, biking, bowling, running, and walking. What were the results? Well, on one hand, I was never leaner and stronger. On the other hand, I struggled with very strong cravings for carbs. My body was also stiff/tight and lacked flexibility. So, yes, I was gratified due to my new found strength and overall body leanness. But, there was more to that story.

Since working in the field of Eating Psychology and Mind/Body Nutrition, I've learned big time to relax into my body and life. I'm more mindful about slowing down and breathing. Yes, I still eat clean, real food and avoid processed junk most of the time. I still work out and play volleyball and walk, (all much less vigorously). The biggest change though is my need for perfectionism has quieted down. Thankfully. Have I gained some weight? Yes. Do I feel the worse for it? No! I actually feel less pressured in general and more relaxed and comfortable in my body. And, the world hasn't stopped turning! I can be 23% body fat vs. 14 and still be worthwhile and a beautiful human being! And so can you!

Back to the Facebook groups. I've recently been struck by what I'm reading on-line. Believe it or not, fruit, due to its fructose, (the sugar in fruit), is, according to certain group members, something to be wary of, concerned over, and villainized! Their messages have actually suggested that one should NEVER eat fruit and that fruit is evil. All for fear over gaining weight. My response - chill out people,...now,...please! Seriously!

Has fruit changed since the Paleolithic era? Certainly! Fruit back then was most likely as sweet as our average carrot today. Why? Well, fruit producers know that we're actually programmed to like sweets. And, over the years fruits have been created to be larger-sized and sweeter than ever. Does this mean we should absolutely never eat a piece of fruit ever again? For what it's worth, here's my unequivocal response - the poison is in the dose! And, not just with fruit, but with anything we eat. (One exception duly noted is gluten containing foods for those having Celiac Disease.)

 If you enjoy fruit, eat it. I eat a piece a day. Here are some things to keep in mind when eating fruit: eat in-season, local, and organic fruit as often as possible. This will mean that fruit consumption will be lower in the winter. Also, become aware of which fruits have a higher glycemic load than others, (higher glycemic loaded fruits and foods raise our insulin levels which create extra, excess sugar in our bodies which is then stored as body fat).

Get this though. I'm currently eating and enjoying apples, pears, and some grapes. Don't shoot me! I know grapes have a higher glycemic load. But, whenever I make a morning shake for breakfast, I add several red grapes to my shake concoction to sweeten things up just a bit. (And, I'm still alive to report this.) Seriously, though, I'm not saying the points certain members in the above groups have made are incorrect. I am saying they are a bit over the top and exaggerated.

Other tips for eating fruit: if you eat a piece that has a high glycemic load, eat something stabilizing to go with it to offset your rise in insulin. This may mean eggs, a shake, nuts, smoked fish, etc. Also, it's always better to eat and not drink fruit. A typical glass of orange juice has just about as much sugar as a glass of soda. Does this mean you should never have a glass of juice ever again? No! Drink juice and enjoy it but not everyday. You can even consider cutting the juice with some filtered water.

In summary, you can have your fruit and eat it to. Just be mindful to not eat an excessive amount and you will have both pleasure and health. And pleasure and health beats perfectionism and health every time. Moreover, if there is anything in this entire discussion to be villainized and deemed "evil" it is actually perfectionism - not fruit.

Final note: an apple a day keeps the doctor away - maybe true, maybe not. But, without a doubt, behind the corner of perfectionism, over time, frequently lies self-abuse, hatred, and exhaustion. Please choose carefully how you opt to stay healthy! I'd suggest you eat some fruit.

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