I’ve been having a bit of a moral dilemma lately concerning my friends, family, and food. I love to read so I regularly gobble up lots of non-fiction including a fair number of books and journal articles on food and nutrition. Some are big name books like Fast Food Nation or the latest Michael Pollan, and others are completely random like the one on the sordid history of banana cultivation in late 1800’s Latin America.
And with all of this reading comes (besides too many boxes of books in the attic) knowledge, perspective, awareness, judgment, and perhaps a little bias. Which is great for me and those I’m responsible for feeding. I am happy knowing that I’m feeding myself, my husband, and my dogs what I believe are the best foods, the right foods for them. But what about the others? What about my friends and family?
I both do and don’t have a place to be telling someone what they should be eating, but it’s tricky. I have no problem telling a relative with type 2 diabetes that it’s probably a bad idea to have that third slice of birthday cake. But I know my sister will explode if I try and explain that her limited and poorly balanced vegetarian diet might be the cause of many of her health problems. For the people you love and surround yourself with, is it worth the arguing? Is it worth presenting yourself as a know-it-all? Even if it could benefit their health and well being? Does anyone want their choices questioned?
Which leads me to this pearl of wisdom.
There’s a chance that what I think is right is actually wrong. Same goes for all of you out there. Yes, humanity has some of the basics covered (I don’t think we’ll disprove the law of gravity any time soon), but just because we find something to be true now in the fields of health and nutrition doesn’t mean another test or study won’t come along to call it all into question again (trans fats, anyone?).
And I know I hate when people give me advice that I think is hogwash. “You need to drink milk for healthy bones.” “Don’t eat that – it’s not whole grain.” “You’re going to have a heart attack with all those eggs.” “These 100 calorie packs are better for you.”
So I’ve resigned myself to setting a good example. I’ve decided not to feel badly about my backseat role and trust that adults can make their own decisions for their bodies. And I will try and do my best to gently guide people in the right direction when they let me know my advice is welcome.
How do you deal with the unhealthy people around you? Live and let live? Indoctrinate until you have no friends left? Can’t hear me with your head stuck in that bag of Sabor de Soledad?