Can we become too healthy? I can’t believe I just wrote that question. Seems highly unlikely, controversial and somewhat counterintuitive. Lately though, I’ve started to wonder if maybe, just maybe, it’s possible. I’ve been a pretty healthy guy for the past 5 years and have really focused on eating all organic and drinking ‘clean’ water and reducing my intake of sugar, salt, white flour and processed foods. It feels good to be healthy; you have more energy, you sleep better, your sex drive is enhanced and well, you just feel good. I have to admit, it’s not easy being healthy all of the time. I don’t say this because I have a hard time being healthy; rather, I have a hard time being healthy around friends. It seems entirely possible that you can be so obsessively healthy that when you go out with friends and eat ‘regular’ food, which is usually unhealthy by nature; you end up feeling far worse than they do and then the jabbing begins, “how could you feel bad from that food when you eat so healthy all of the time”.
It seems the healthier we become, the more we piss of our bodies when we go out and eat something ‘conventional’ like a burger and some French fries (even if the burger is organic, bun is whole wheat and the fries are cooked in canola). This is where the counterintuitive part comes in; one would assume that if you were healthy-nutrition-obsessed that your body would be able to handle the occasional night of going out to a bar or restaurant with friends and eating off a regular menu. Well sadly, when I do go out with friends and eat what they eat I’m left wondering what makes me so sensitive to ‘conventional’ food. Is it the salt, the sugar, the gluten, the dairy or am I losing my mind?
I know very well that nutritionists would likely tell me that I’ve just conditioned my body by taking in ‘premium’ fuel and when I put in ‘regular’ grade fuel my body simply reacts because it isn’t used to anything unhealthy entering the ‘temple’. I understand the merits of this theory and support it but it doesn’t mean that it’s not annoying. Maybe I’ve just become sensitive to everything unhealthy by being overly healthy the past few years, or maybe my friends are just unhealthy and I should blame them or trade them in for healthier versions of their current self. Whatever the case, I wanted to get off my chest how annoying it is to try to keep up with the masses when it comes to ‘normal’ eating. It seems easy to frequent restaurants like Fresh and Live where everything is uber-healthy but to go out for Chinese food after a few beers, wings at the local watering hole for a hockey game; forget it. If the corn starch doesn’t get you, the MSG will and if that doesn’t get you, the deep fried food or soy sauce will.
As much as I love being healthy and enjoy eating well and organic, sometimes I feel angry with my body for becoming so ‘sensitive’ to anything that’s not fish, chicken, beef, vegetables or fruit. One would think that by being healthy 90% of the time you should be able to eat whatever you want the other 10% without consequence but what really happens is you feel so lousy after eating unhealthy you wish you didn’t and you just stay the course and increase the percentage of healthy eating to 93%. I find it frustrating that my body has forgotten how to be unhealthy sometimes and it basically scolds me soon as I put the fork down; I feel the immediate repercussions.
Do I love my morning latte’s from Dark Horse, chocolate cake and carrot cake from Dufflet, cookies, pancakes, burgers from Craft, pizza from Magic Oven and my red wine: absolutely. Do I love how I ‘feel’ after ingesting most (red wine aside) of these items, no. I feel the sugar immediately rushing through my veins, the salt forming bags under my eyes via water retention, my nose gets stuffy and yes, I feel my energy being zapped; caffeine...forget it. Will I stop eating what I love because of how lousy I sometimes feel afterward; not likely. One has to live and part of living is eating; a big part of living. So we arm ourselves with knowledge, tricks and ways of preventing feeling like garbage if we decide to eat the occasional treat and keep that unhealthy 10% in our diets. For instance, we can make sure we eat some fat with high sugar foods to slow the absorption of sugar into our blood stream or eat some asparagus, watermelon or celery with high salt foods to reduce water retention. I guess there are benefits to being a health-crazed lunatic, I can eat unhealthy and get away with it because I can trick my body by ingesting foods to alter the effects: lucky me.
My friends think I’m crazy and I agree. As crazy as I am, I’m also healthy; most of the time.