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Self-denial is a common thread in even some supposedly ‘healthy’ diets... and this is a big problem!

There was a time when the word ‘diet’ meant simply the range of foods eaten by a person, community, culture or country. Back then, eating was an art, and food the metaphorical paint. Diet was - from this regard - the bigger picture of what we chose each day, week, month and year to put on our palette (sorry, plate!). It was the sum total of food being creatively and mindfully utilised for all its worth, in all its shapes and forms. This interpretation, however, was not to stand the test of time, nor socioeconomic change. General understanding of term ‘diet’ changed to mean something more restrictive, and generally something geared towards weight loss. This idea of diet - or ‘dieting’ - has been around for centuries now, gradually taking us even further away from original theories of balance, variety and moderation which once underpinned the notion of eating. The unraveling began with the discovery of calories in 1918, and so the conveyer of fad diets ensued. The common thread was self denial, something that even some of today’s supposedly flexible diets still subtly impose. On International No Diet Day (INDD), we’re championing everyday as ‘no diet day’ and the importance of taking a broad stance on ‘healthy eating’. Getting back to the ‘diet’ factory settings is not always easy (requiring some conscious thought retraining in some cases) but the ripple effects of removing unnecessary (not for medical reasons) dietary limitations can be far reaching, from less food anxiety, to more freedom to enjoy the social and pleasure element of food. 

There’ll be no such thing as ‘cheat days’ ‘good days’ or ‘no carb days’! Just a ‘food lifestyle’ hinged on a positive nutrition pendulum, rebounding between ‘good’ or ‘bad’ but never lingering on either long enough to lose momentum or freedom.

We asked @ ellietheveggie what she thought about the importance of freedom in nutrition. Here’s what she had to say: ‘Not having too many limitations is so important for your mental freedom. Being free means not feeling guilty, not overthinking, not obsessing or fearing certain foods, no food is bad or good. You deserve ice cream, or whatever it is that takes your fancy, not because you went to the gym...but because you’re amazing.’ 📸@baileylivingwell

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