Does Healthier Mean Healthy?

First, I’d like to preface this post by saying I AM NOT A PERFECT EATER! Not in the least. I have my good days where I eat mostly healthy. And I have bad days where a fruit and/or veggie doesn’t cross my lips. I mostly have in-between days. Some bad choices, some good choices. But I feel like I at least know which choices are good and which are bad. And I never want to be a Preachy Patty and tell someone else their perceived “healthy” choices aren’t actually healthy because I don’t want them to think I’m judging them, and no one likes someone, no matter who she is, to tell them they aren’t eating healthy.

But a lot of the time, I really believe people don’t know that their “healthy” choices aren’t actually healthy. They are mostly just less bad than the really bad choices. For example, making cookies with low-fat milk, some whole wheat flour and light or heart-healthy butter doesn’t make the cookies healthy. It just makes them less unhealthy. There’s nothing about a cookie that’s healthy. Does everyone need to indulge? Yes, certainly. I do my share of indulging in the real-deal bad foods, and some of the foods I over-indulge in, I try to make those healthier alternatives. For example, after watching myself crave and over-indulge on sweets in the afternoons and evenings, I made my version of a batch of Happy Herbivore’s Pumpkin-Raisin Oatmeal Cookies. Are they healthy? No. Do they have healthy stuff in them? Sure. But they are NOT a health food. I still try to never have more than one or two (and I made them small). But they kick the sugar craving and I’m at least taking in less of a totally processed food. But that does not make them healthy. Eating an orange instead of a cookie would be healthy. Or eating a spinach salad intead of homemade baked sweet potato fries (which I’m eating instead of real fries or chips) is a healthy option. Are both choices better than chips? Probably, assuming I don’t over-indulge in the sweet potato fries. I know sweet potatos are good. But really all I’m doing is substituting a carb. I’m also the queen of multi-grain or whole wheat homemade bread. I feel like it’s a HEALTHIER alternative. But that doesn’t mean I eat bread for dinner every single night. Well, there are plenty of nights….

But here’s the thing: Sure French toast made with whole wheat bread is better for me than made with white bread. But I’d be even better off only eating toast with a dab of sugarless peanut butter and fruit or even some type of veggie. And in the case of snacks, of course I’m better eating my cookie and getting satisfied than eating around the cookie all night. But just because the cookies are HEALTHIER doesn’t mean I can have a Girl Scout parade in my kitchen every night! Just like those cinnamon rolls with half whole wheat are healthier than regular ones, but it doesn’t mean I make them for every meal. Or eat them every morning for breakfast. Mostly because they won’t keep me full. But also because it’s hard to get all of your vitamins and minerals when you’re filling up on healthier alternatives. If I have French toast with sugarfree syrup, I’ve often used up all of my calories for breakfast without adding in any fruit (and vitamins or minerals). And if I have my homemade multi-grain bread with dinner, I may not eat (or even bother making) that spinach salad or side of mixed veggies because I have plenty of food.

Being healthy means getting a wide variety of whole, real foods at every meal. Again, I’m not  perfect. Nowhere near. And I assume everyone knows this. But I hear it so often and it’s hard to broach the subject, even with my closest friends, to make sure they know what they’re eating isn’t actually HEALTHY. Yes, it’s healthier than say a donut or a fast food meal. And it’s perfectly fine. But I feel like there’s a lot of confusing caused by the media about what is actually healthy. Hell, half the time I’m not sure if what I’m eating is healthy by popular standards. But somehow, I hope real, whole foods will always nourish my body and keep me healthy.

I feel very Preachy Patty even typing this. And I could use suggestions because I would love to start dialogue with my friends who are trying to lose weight. How do I start a conversation? Or do I butt out? Do you think most people realize what they’re calling “healthy” isn’t? I honestly feel like many people don’t know what healthy is. And they see something like flax seed, whole wheat flour or heart healthy butter and because it SAYS it’s healthy on the package, it IS healthy. There’s a lot of marketing in the food industry. And most of it is a scam.

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