I made an agreement with myself, long time ago. I am not perfect, and that’s OK.
When I moved in Dubai, one of the first places I visited with my husband was Creek, an old part of the city. We sat in a Lebanese restaurant with a lovely view, the weather was wonderful, and it was one of these moments when everything else just disappears. I wanted a Turkish coffee, even though I seldom have coffee in the afternoons because of my caffeine sensitivity. But the moment was too joyful, and I like Turkish coffee, so I took a risk. It was pure joy.
- What about the Nutritionist in you? - My husband teased me, considering a coffee as a not so healthy choice
- Shush and let me enjoy it! – I answered, with a hedonistic smile
Well, for some reason, the nutritionist and the hedonist inside me live happily together. I think the reason is the lesson I learned in my vegetarian period, some 20 years ago. When you belong to a group of people, this group usually has its own rules, and it is expected that you will follow these rules. Once when I declared myself as a vegetarian, people always looked at my plate, just to check what I was eating (vegetarianism was not that common in the small town where I lived), and to find inconsistencies. So frustrating. I felt like I was in some kind of self-imposed nutritional jail. When I started eating meat again, 2 years later, I decided not to follow any dietary system again. That decision brought huge relief.
When I became a Nutritionist, some new limiting expectations started to show up, for example: that I have to eat extra, ultra healthy food. As I am the light in the dark for all the strayed hungry souls showing which food they should eat, and helping them out of the dark; with a halo above my head made from leafy greens.
For many reasons: first, there is no one perfect way to eat in this world. Second, I am just a human being, and I have right to be imperfect. Third, some food can be completely healthy and suitable for me, but not for others. Maybe this is the best thing that happened to me during all these years, to learn which foods gives me more energy and makes me feel good, and which foods does not. Most of the time, I eat food which makes me feel good. But, from time to time, I take something “unhealthy” just for the sake of the joy. In other words, when I sin, I sin with awareness, without feeling guilty. I follow what my own body tells me, no matter what all experts in the world say. Here are some examples:
Information about salt is changing these days. Seems that salt is not that bad as thought before. For me, salty food will never be an option. It retains fluid in my body, and affects my blood pressure. I use Himalayan salt, but in a really small amounts. With my one kidney, I have to be careful.
I can’t eat too much fatty food, no chance to be in a high fat, low carb regime, even if it is top quality, healthy fat. I get brain fog and feel heavy, and I don't like that feeling.
Raw food is amazing, and I feel the best eating my salads and having my smoothies. There is no hope for me to go 100% raw, or to be a vegan. A few bites of meat or dairy are necessary for me in this moment. Maybe it will change, I don’t know.
Yes, sugar is toxic. But since Paracelsus times, there has been a rule: the dose makes the poison. Which means I will really enjoy a cake from time to time, or my sweetened Moroccan tea with these amazing cookies that are served here at Shakespeare’s.
Many experts used to claim that coffee was bad; but now, many of them say it’s healthy. I don’t care what they say about coffee, I adore my morning Turkish coffee with milk, it makes my morning perfect. So, experts can change their opinion a few more times, but for me, morning coffee will be a part of my morning ritual as long as it makes me happy. As I said, I am sensitive to caffeine, so I normally limit myself to just one cup in the morning, but sometimes, when I have good company, or I just feel like I want it, I have a coffee, even if I know that night might be sleepless. That means the act of drinking coffee is pleasurable, because I make it so.
I don’t have a problem eating junk food when there is no other option. Once, when my husband had an archery competition, our lunch was typically junk food. The hosts were so polite, they cared that every guest got something to eat, so I was really thankful for their efforts and I ate it, no matter how unhealthy it was. Their attitude was healthy and vibrant, and this is, sometimes, more important; and I was hungry. It would be rude to preach in that moment about healthy food. I am not into preaching, anyway.
Every time when I change my daily routine, especially when I go to my homeland, Serbia, where the food is amazingly tasty, I gain weight. And I don’t care. I lose it when I come back to UAE.
I am not fan of exercising. It is too punishing for me. But I adore yoga and my walks, even in shopping malls. Without actually shopping, just for the record.
I adore burek; it evokes my emotions and reminds me of my childhood. Certain foods belong to the soul, but if I eat it too often, it would lose its savor.
These were some important points about my personal navigation through the rough waters called nutrition. So, dear reader, if you see me in some good restaurant savoring a tasty and not so healthy meal, don’t be disappointed. The hedonist in me is in charge that moment. And if you think it is irresponsible, since I am someone who has to always set a good example, be aware it’s simply not the case.
Food isn’t a sum of nutrients, it is so much more; the pleasure we get from eating is the best digestive we can afford. So, for special occasions, food that we consider as not healthy will not harm, as long as we eat it with full awareness and joy. Nutrition is not about rules, it’s about nourishment! Make your own rules about what nourishes you, and listen to your body. That is the best nutritionist advice I can ever give.