Before this year ends, there are certainly many more holidays to be celebrated. November is best known for Thanksgiving; it is the time where friends and families get together and celebrate. Now that there are many more different varieties of diets, food habits are indeed one of the most complex aspects of human behavior. Therefore, food acceptance is just as complicated when others do not share the same diet as you. Food is not only nutritional for most people but also cultural. For instance, certain plants or animals may be edible in a society, but it may work differently somewhere else. Before you jump to conclusion and make judgments on what diets people choose, here are some trending diets you may want to know about:
Types of diets:
- The vegan diet is a form of a vegetarian diet, individuals would eliminate meat and animal products. This diet is likely to reduce one’s cholesterol and saturated fats due to the elimination of animal products, however, it is not entirely unhealthy. When the diet is planned appropriately (with someone professional), there are many positive effects that come along as well. For example, studies showed that individuals who practice a vegan diet have a lower risk of coronary heart disease, high blood pressure, and obesity.
- The Mediterranean diet is also another type of vegetable-heavy diet. Individuals who practice this diet do not necessarily eliminate all meat or animal products, many do add fish and/or chicken to their meals. Studies have shown that the Mediterranean diet is evidenced to reduce symptoms of depression, as well as keeping one’s blood sugar levels in control. You will find large amounts of herbs, whole grains, and nuts in this diet. An interesting fact is that this diet recommends the use of oil as much as possible, it serves as an alternative to butter, marinades, and salad dressings.
- The Keto diet is another popular diet in the U.S. for a while now, it is often mentioned but not everyone is familiar with it. This diet is known for its “high-fat, low-carb” purpose, it is to force your body fats to be used as fuel by depriving it of glucose. High-fat food includes red meat, eggs, salmon, cheese, and other products that consist of healthy fats (e.g., avocados, extra-virgin olive oil, etc.). Some interesting studies showed that the keto diet is able to help with controlling one’s blood pressure and cholesterol in the short term, but may not be consistently effective in the long term.
Not only it is important to be accepting of all diets that are different from yours, but also be mindful of what you say at gatherings, there may be people around you who are struggling with or in recovery from eating disorders. At times, things you say may not sound serious, but they can possibly be triggering for certain individuals. Individuals who have eating disorders are likely to experience anxiety in situations where others comment about their eating habits or physical appearances. Here are some examples to consider about what not to say:
- “You look healthy” or “You look better than ever!” seem harmless but individuals with eating disorders reported that they find these phrases triggering. For instance, treatment for individuals who have anorexia may include gaining weight, when comments like these are said, they may feel concerned about their appearance being “visually big”.
- “I’m glad you ate”, try to avoid such comments if you encounter someone who has an eating disorder. Individuals who are struggling with anorexia and bulimia are likely to be afraid of judgments, they may be worried about being watched when they eat. Hence, this comment is likely to increase their guilt for eating and could possibly worsen their conditions.
- “Does this (i.e., piece of clothing, dressing style) make me look fat?”, avoid “fat-talking” and “fat-shaming” about yourself in front of individuals with eating disorders. As you comment negatively on your own body, the individual with anorexia or bulimia is likely to put more focus on their own weight and eating issues.
- “Why don’t you just eat?”, this might sound like a genuine question to ask. You may be confused when someone at the table just won’t eat, and that is when the question is very tempting to be asked. However, it is not an appropriate question to bring up. In fact, this question seems more blaming or even shame-inducing. Instead, be understanding of what the person chooses to do with their food.
By, Jessica Lau, MHC Intern