“Everything in moderation”, a mantra all to familiar to us, especially when it comes to food. This saying is by far the single, most common phrase I hear from those who are seeking to justify either what they are about to eat, or what they have already eaten. It should be noted, that I am a huge supporter of the “everything in moderation” concept when it comes to nutrition and believe that it offers some really sounds advice. However, this utterance has been unwillingly transformed into an excuse to indulge in certain culinary pleasures without any regard for what the true essence of this saying means.
Moderation is defined as “avoiding excess or extremes”. While most of us understand this and in many instances practice this, others lose sight of the most important piece of the phrase…“everything.”
The occasional indulgence of ice cream isn’t bad for you. As a matter of fact, it’s likely that having a scoop of high quality ice cream is healthier than you might think. The crux is that many don’t consume moderate amounts of ice cream, or any dessert or treat for that matter. Many exceed moderation, and not only in portion, but also in frequency.
The previous example only addresses one side of the moderation equation and not the bigger problem aka “everything.”
The concept of everything in moderation only holds true if everything is truly practiced in moderation. Most people might practice eating chocolate cake in moderation, but these same people are likely not consuming fruits and vegetables in moderation. Certain people might consume alcohol in moderation, but are they consuming water in this fashion? And even within the world of fruits and vegetables, are they consuming a variety of fruits within moderation? Carbohydrates have been demonized in recent years, and as a result, many have chosen to adopt diets low in carbohydrates and fat and higher in protein; this is not practicing moderation. Perhaps if we moderately ate carbohydrates, protein, and fat, then going to extremes might not be needed.
Most dietary advice I’ve seen begins with instructions on what not to eat. Eliminating certain foods in a diet also does not fall within the definition of moderation (avoiding excess or extremes). This is why I find it senseless to eliminate foods. Rarely, if at all, have I seen a diet that really promotes everything in moderation.
There is such an abundance of foods and spices out there, and all readily accessible to everyone, each with an infinite number of combinations and flavors to satisfy the needs of any palate. I would challenge you to explore these combinations as you’ll likely stumble across a number of foods that you will not only find as enjoyable, but will also be nutritionally beneficial.
So before you utter the words everything in moderation just before you dig your fork into that piece of cheesecake, ask yourself, are you truly eating everything in moderation? If the answer is yes, enjoy!