Are These Healthy Eating Myths Holding You Back?

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Hello Lovelies:

Hippocrates said “let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.”

But I also want my food to be exciting, delicious, social, affordable and sometimes even nostalgic. Do you feel the same way?

Those are a heck of a lot of boxes to check. Is it too much to ask to have all that and a healthy diet too?

There was a time when I didn’t think it was possible. And I know I’m not the only one!

So if you want to have your cake and eat it too (because, seriously, who wants cake if they can’t eat it) keep on reading. We’re busting some healthy eating myths today!

Are These Healthy Eating Myths Holding You Back?

Are These Healthy Eating Myths Holding You Back? | Need some healthy eating motivation but feeling totally uninspired because healthy diets sound so boring? I hear ya! Which is why we're busting some healthy eating myths. And loading up on a ton of healthy recipes too. Get all the deets and a free Healthy Dessert Recipe E-Book right here... #healthyeating #healthydiet #healthylifestyle

Before We Get Started, Let’s Have Dessert

We have a lot of healthy eating myths to bust today! And I think it will be more fun to read while munching on something sweet. Because (spoilers) dessert is an important part of a healthy diet. Don’t you agree?

So help yourself to a FREE copy of this Healthy Dessert Recipe E-Book. Featuring 10 yummy, sinfully sweet and magically healthy recipes you’ll adore.

There’s cheesecakes, tarts, parfaits, squares and more. Enter your deets below and I’ll send you the deliciousness instantly. Yum town, population you! (And me, because you know I’m all about them desserts!)

Now, let’s dive in!

Are These Healthy Eating Myths Holding You Back?

1. A Healthy Diet is Not About Dieting

Are These Healthy Eating Myths Holding You Back? | Need some healthy eating motivation but feeling totally uninspired because healthy diets sound so boring? I hear ya! Which is why we're busting some healthy eating myths. And loading up on a ton of healthy recipes too. Get all the deets and a free Healthy Dessert Recipe E-Book right here... #healthyeating #healthydiet #healthylifestyle

I love to use the term healthy diet. But I cringe whenever I hear someone talking about dieting. What’s the deal with that?

“Diets,” as in the temporary, restrictive programs that are usually aimed at weight loss, typically never come from a place of self-love. And they’re often not fulfilling or sustainable at all.

What happens when we follow those strict protocols? We often feel incredibly deprived and eventually go right back to our old habits. If anything, diet programs often feed our insecurities more than they can ever feed us.

This system certainly doesn’t build lasting healthy changes or improve our relationship with our gorgeous selves. And, in the end, we end up right back where we started… potentially feeling worse than we did in the beginning.

But a true healthy diet is very different.

It’s a lifestyle. Something that’s flexible, corresponds with our own beautiful, unique wants and needs and grows and changes with us.

Healthy diets don’t make us feel bad if we want to enjoy a cookie. They don’t hold our self-love for ransom until we hit some sort of fitness goal. And they don’t force us to worry about calories or stress about our meals. They support our mental and physical well-being and feed us with flexibility and kindness.

I would never recommend that you eat exactly like me.

I’m a total health nerd (surprise) and healthy foodie. But even my diet isn’t something I’d recommend you try. It’s something I created for myself. It supports my health and is wonderfully unique as I am.

I have Graves Disease. And autoimmunity can be incredibly affected by what you eat. I’ve built a lifestyle that allows me to thrive with my disease. Which, for me, has led towards a plant based, gluten free, low iodine way of eating.

The way I eat likely sounds really restrictive to you. And that’s ok! Because it’s not meant for you. For me my diet is beautiful, liberating, wonderful and fulfilling because it allows me to feel well. And because I’ve built something full of variety, flavour and joy.

You deserve that too! Which means that you need to have fun creating something as uniquely wonderful as you are.

And busting some healthy eating myths is a perfect place to start!

2. Healthy Eating is Not About Eating Perfectly

Are These Healthy Eating Myths Holding You Back? | Need some healthy eating motivation but feeling totally uninspired because healthy diets sound so boring? I hear ya! Which is why we're busting some healthy eating myths. And loading up on a ton of healthy recipes too. Get all the deets and a free Healthy Dessert Recipe E-Book right here... #healthyeating #healthydiet #healthylifestyle

Friendly reminder, there is no such thing as a perfect diet. And there really shouldn’t be! Eating should be simple, fun and fulfilling and never stress us out.

In fact, becoming fixated with eating perfectly really isn’t good for us. Which kind of takes the healthy right out of healthy eating, defeating the whole purpose!

According to the National Eating Disorders Association, becoming obsessed with how healthy our food is can lead to disordered eating:

“The term ‘orthorexia’ was coined in 1998 and means an obsession with proper or ‘healthful’ eating. Although being aware of and concerned with the nutritional quality of the food you eat isn’t a problem in and of itself, people with orthorexia become so fixated on so-called ‘healthy eating’ that they actually damage their own well-being.” (source)

So let’s let go of the pressures of perfection and create a healthy balance that works for us. There’s room for chocolate, I promise!

3. A Healthy Diet Doesn’t Mean Saying Goodbye to Dessert

Are These Healthy Eating Myths Holding You Back? | Need some healthy eating motivation but feeling totally uninspired because healthy diets sound so boring? I hear ya! Which is why we're busting some healthy eating myths. And loading up on a ton of healthy recipes too. Get all the deets and a free Healthy Dessert Recipe E-Book right here... #healthyeating #healthydiet #healthylifestyle

No dessert?! Shut the kale up, right? If that were the true secret to healthy eating I certainly wouldn’t sign up either!

This is sadly a widely held belief. And one that held me back for a while in my pre-Graves Disease days. I used to believe that a healthy diet would be pretty bland (and built on a foundation of never ending salads!) That didn’t sound appealing at all. Did you ever feel the same way?

That (completely incorrect) idea never resonated with me. Dessert is kind of a big deal. This girl has a sweet tooth. And I have no plans on locking that sweet tooth up! We’re in this together after all. But thankfully I don’t have to because:

Dessert can absolutely play a role in a healthy diet.

When you’re working to create a healthy diet that you adore it’s so important that you build something that’s right for you. We’re all beautiful and unique and the way we eat needs to reflect that. There’s no one size fits all!

Plus, restrictions and limitations are never fulfilling. When your diet feels like a prison it’s not sustainable!

If you love dessert, like I do, it can totally play an role in your healthy diet. And, even cooler, you can have fun learning how to make healthy desserts too (there are tons of delicious options and the taste testing part is pretty fantastic!)

Ultimately, it’s all about finding the right balance for you.

Feeling skeptical? You seriously can make a healthy version of almost any sweet delight! Ice cream, chocolate, brownies and so much more…

Check out some of these healthy sweet delights:

1. How To Make Chocolate, A Quick And Easy Recipe

2. This is the Absolute BEST Healthy Homemade Ice Cream

3. 3 Ingredient Creamy Strawberry Milkshake

4. These Healthy Gluten Free Vegan Brownies Taste Like Magic

But remember, it’s really is about finding a balance you adore. You can still enjoy your favourite cookie recipe or make that boiled frosting you love if you want to!

4. Healthy Eating is Not Boring

Are These Healthy Eating Myths Holding You Back? | Need some healthy eating motivation but feeling totally uninspired because healthy diets sound so boring? I hear ya! Which is why we're busting some healthy eating myths. And loading up on a ton of healthy recipes too. Get all the deets and a free Healthy Dessert Recipe E-Book right here... #healthyeating #healthydiet #healthylifestyle

Remember how I mentioned that never ending salad nightmare I once had? It really doesn’t sound too appealing, does it?

I mean, I love a good salad, don’t get me wrong! But I would be bored as can be if I had to eat it morning, noon and night. No thank you!

If you’re feeling stuck because you feel like the only way to eat healthy is to follow some bland, tasteless diet, I feel ya! But I’m also really happy to burst your bubble and let you know that that simply isn’t the case.

A healthy diet is as exciting and flavourful as you want to make it. Booyah!

Becoming a healthy foodie has been one of the most rewarding shifts in my lifestyle because it’s actually introduced me to a ton of variety! Years later, I’m still discovering new and interesting foods and recipes. And I promise that it can be exactly the same for you!

While it’s always handy to have a few quick and easy meal staples up your sleeve (like a salad – which you can totally spice up, I promise), the options available to you are as endless as your imagination.

Need help getting started? Here are some awesome recipes bursting with flavour:

1. Sweet And Sour Sweet Potato Noodles Recipe

2. This Chickpea Flour Flatbread Recipe Will Blow Your Mind

3. Mouthwatering, Savoury Mini Gluten Free, Vegan Potato Pancakes

4. Sweet and Sour Miso Veggie Stir Fry

5. Eating Well Is Not Too Much Work

Are These Healthy Eating Myths Holding You Back? | Need some healthy eating motivation but feeling totally uninspired because healthy diets sound so boring? I hear ya! Which is why we're busting some healthy eating myths. And loading up on a ton of healthy recipes too. Get all the deets and a free Healthy Dessert Recipe E-Book right here... #healthyeating #healthydiet #healthylifestyle

So maybe there’s a little bit of truth in this healthy eating myth. Eating well can certainly be more work sometimes. But there are tons of ways to work around that!

You just need to take a note from the good ol’ Boy Scouts and be prepared.

Enter Meal Prep.

If you’re a busy little bee, meal planning and prep can be your healthy eating best friend. Putting together a few freezer meals or having veggies chopped and ready in the fridge for a quick soup, salad or stir fry are a couple of super simple examples. And total lifesavers!

Meal planning and prep are speedy ways to simplify healthy eating. And, my favourite part, you can take it as far as you’d like!

Some people simply prep little things like veggies and other ingredients they can easily to toss into meals throughout the week (I’m one of them!) While others prep entire dishes for every meal. There’s no one right way – it’s all about what works best for you and your schedule.

Related: How to Meal Prep to Create a Healthy Diet with Kelli Magrath

But what about those days when you want something quick, easy and fresh?

You guessed it  – healthy eating can make that work too! Just make sure that you have the right staples waiting for you in your cupboard and you’re golden.

Need a few ideas?

  • Keeping nutritious broths on hand, like Pacific Foods, allows you to throw a soup together in minutes.
  • Noodles, quinoa and rice are awesomely flexible and can easily be made into a ton of delicious meals like pasta, soups or stir fries.
  • And, contrary to what past Sara used to think, salads can be amazing when you toss in the right ingredients.
  • Super bonus, if you have veggies chopped and ready in the fridges, all of these easy ideas come together pretty quickly.

Is it possible to spend hours creating a meal? Absolutely! But, ultimately, the time and effort involved are up to you. You can eat well without living in the kitchen, I promise!

Here are a few links to some easy go tos:

1. Hearty Sweet Potato Salad with Maple Vinaigrette

2. Crispy Baked Potato Wedges With Maple Mustard Sauce

3. 2 Healthy, Easy Smoothie Recipes That Taste Like Ice Cream

4. Chocolate Peanut Butter Overnight Oats

6. A Healthy Diet is Not Way Too Expensive

Are These Healthy Eating Myths Holding You Back? | Need some healthy eating motivation but feeling totally uninspired because healthy diets sound so boring? I hear ya! Which is why we're busting some healthy eating myths. And loading up on a ton of healthy recipes too. Get all the deets and a free Healthy Dessert Recipe E-Book right here... #healthyeating #healthydiet #healthylifestyle

Food can be crazy expensive, healthy or otherwise. And, while I can’t speak for you, I know I’m definitely not in the position to make it rain every time I go to the grocery store.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. If you want to eat healthy and save moolah you have so many options available.

  • Buy staples in bulk. Bulk stores offer sweet deals on a variety of nutritional products. Stock up on some of your favourite staples. Even better, when you stock up on bulk foods you end up with shorter future shopping lists and a ton of goodness for awesome meals!
  • Shop local and in season when possible. Farmers sell their products at a fraction of grocery store prices when you buy from them directly. Support them and save by shopping at your local farmer’s market.
  • Make friends with fruits and veggies – they are far less expensive than processed or boxed foods (even the healthy varieties) and you can use them to make a ton of delicious meals.
  • Get creative with your leftovers. Don’t throw them away. It’s so easy to transform them into fresh new meals (or heat them up and love them as they are).
  • Cut down on restaurants. It’s super fun to go out to eat every once and a while! But goodness, can those restaurant bills ever hit hard. Treat yourself to a night out sometimes, of course, but try and limit it to something that works for your budget. Make your kitchen the best hot spot. Diving into cookbooks, trying new recipes, romantic dinners for two, potlucks and dinner parties are all awesome options that can be super fun and less expensive at home.

There are tons of ways to make sure that your healthy diet doesn’t break the bank. What tips would you add to the list?

7. Eating Healthy IS Important

Are These Healthy Eating Myths Holding You Back? | Need some healthy eating motivation but feeling totally uninspired because healthy diets sound so boring? I hear ya! Which is why we're busting some healthy eating myths. And loading up on a ton of healthy recipes too. Get all the deets and a free Healthy Dessert Recipe E-Book right here... #healthyeating #healthydiet #healthylifestyle

There was a time when I thought that what I ate didn’t really matter as long as I exercised semi-regularly. But life with autoimmunity has taught me that what you eat can have an incredibly powerful effect on your health. It’s honestly life changing!

I’ve come to realize that food is our fuel and I love my body enough to provide it with the best possible fuel I can so that it can function optimally.

What you eat plays a GIANT role in your health, both physically and mentally. It’s one of the few things that you can actively influence positively on a regular basis.

Creating a healthy diet that works for me helped me achieve remission and feel better than I ever have in my life.

Even the smarties at Harvard want us to know that food quality matters:

“For chronic disease prevention, though, the quality and food sources of these nutrients [fat, protein and carbs] matters more than their relative quantity in the diet.” (source)

It’s all about that quality baby!

Does that mean that you should create this “perfect” healthy diet and fear anything that doesn’t fit into that standard? No! Like I said earlier, that’s an unsustainable and unfulfilling prison. But finding a healthy balance is so incredibly important and your health will absolutely thank you!

Final Thoughts

There’s no such thing as the perfect diet. And trying to create one isn’t good for our well-being either. But loading up on more goodness and generally feeding ourselves with kindness can go a heck of a long way.

Now it’s your turn – what healthy eating myths would you add to the list? Did any of these myths hold you back too? Share your thoughts and experiences with us in the comments.

Health and love,

sara-signature

Thought of the day: I love myself and I feed myself with kindness. 

Don’t Forget Your Copy of the Free Healthy Dessert Recipe E-Book 😉

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Sara | Ms. Health-Esteem

Sara Flanagan is a wellness writer and the creator of www.mshealthesteem.com, where she shares her story of being diagnosed with Graves Disease, a chronic autoimmune disease, and empowering herself to do everything she can to thrive in spite of her diagnosis. She writes articles on self-love, acceptance, wellness and nutrition. Join the Health-Esteem Family today and share in the journey.

30 Comments

  1. Reply

    Hannah

    January 16, 2019

    Love how you talk about healthy eating is a lifestyle that is lifelong rather than a crash diet.

    • Reply

      Sara

      January 24, 2019

      Thank you Hannah! I think that shifting our perspective like that is so important. And truly allows us to build something more balanced, lasting and fulfilling. <3

  2. Reply

    Nicole

    January 16, 2019

    I have never liked the phrase “going on a diet” much either. Instead I prefer to say things like: I’m trying to make better choices so I can feel and look like my best self 😊 I love all of your tips, especially about eating seasonally…its usually tastes better and is better for your packet book. Winning! ❤

    • Reply

      Sara

      January 24, 2019

      Yass! Glad you feel the same way. Seriously makes me cringe. And sadly I see it a lot on places like Instagram :(. Along with a ton of “cleansing” and appetite suppressing junk. Cringe city!

      I love, love, love the way you worded it. Making good choices is a much better perspective. It’s so important we’re kind and gentle with ourselves. And allow ourselves the freedom to create something unique, fulfilling and balanced. If it isn’t right for us than it’s not worth forcing ourselves to pursue. Even when it’s food related xD.

      I love seasonal food. It’s a cold winter wonderland here at the moment. And I’m enjoying the snow (albeit it not so much the cold haha). But I always look forward to spring and summer when the farmers have tons and tons of fresh veggies. And fruit! Oh the berries. I dream of them! Eating fresh, local and in season when you can is totally delicious :).

  3. Reply

    Patti Burkett

    January 16, 2019

    I think many people make it sound harder than it really is because they just don’t want to.

    • Reply

      Sara

      January 24, 2019

      Hiya Patti! I’m sure that that’s a factor sometimes. But I think our society really over-complicates things too. Diet culture has made things so convoluted. And, of course, food is more than just nourishment. It’s cultural, social, nostalgic…

      Without the right encouragement and mindset it can seem really difficult to approach a healthier diet. Which is why I think it’s so important that we have more conversations like this. Discussing the importance of balance and creating something that works for you. Healthy is delicious and fulfilling and not at all restrictive (if you don’t take things like allergies, intolerance and sensitivities into consideration of course). But the general idea is often that it’s very different from that.

      My hope is that by talking about it, and moving past diet-culture as much as possible, we can make sure that people feel comfortable creating something healthy, unique and fulfilling. Those are the types of lifestyle changes that last and make us feel awesome :).

  4. Reply

    megforitcom

    January 17, 2019

    exactly! it’s about a lifestyle change – living your best

    • Reply

      Sara

      January 24, 2019

      Heck yes it is! Couldn’t agree more Meg :). We all need to find the right balance and create something that makes us feel awesome. It should be as beautiful and unique as we are <3

  5. Reply

    Shirley

    January 17, 2019

    I admit, I have a love-hate relationship with my eating habits. While Keto is the only thing that has worked for me to lose extra weight, I get tired of it quickly. Your tips have me rethinking my food lifestyle and eating habits. Excellent article!

    • Reply

      Sara

      January 24, 2019

      Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and experiences with us Shirley! I absolutely don’t think you’re alone. So many of us struggle to find the right balance for us. I hope that these tips help a ton. Sending you tons of love and well-wishes <3.

  6. Reply

    Paige McEachren

    January 21, 2019

    So many good points! We all need to load up on more goodness!

    • Reply

      Sara

      January 24, 2019

      We totally do Paige! You can’t go wrong with that. More goodness is always wonderful <3.

  7. Reply

    Miranda

    January 21, 2019

    I totally agree with you. I hate the word diet as well. I do believe paleo and keto have a place and can be helpful but also need to be treated as a lifestyle if they fit your health needs.

    • Reply

      Sara

      January 24, 2019

      Glad I’m not alone Miranda! Sometimes diets can certainly be helpful.

      I’ve had to do elimination diets for my health in the past. And I know that a special version of Paleo, called Autoimmune Paleo, has been really helpful for some people with autoimmune diseases (I’ve never personally tried it but have some friends who are thriving on it). And keto has been helpful to people with epilepsy too! So they absolutely have their time and place :).

      It’s just so important that we have the freedom, support and space we need to create something that best supports our health and needs, whatever that may be. Our lifestyle needs to be as beautiful and unique as we are, after all. And should grow and change with us. <3

  8. Reply

    Deborah Hunter Kells

    January 21, 2019

    Ooh – such a good and informative post. Thank you – love the photography choices too – make me hungry. Send for your dessert eBook… always looking for healthy recipes to make = Thank You!

    • Reply

      Sara

      January 24, 2019

      Aww thank you Deborah! You’re the sweetest <3. I'm so happy to hear that! I hope you enjoy the desserts. I harbour a pretty serious sweet tooth, so I had so much fun making it. 🙂 Let me know your thoughts. Sending tons of love your way!

  9. Reply

    Jamie

    January 22, 2019

    This is all so true. I used to diet all the time. I’d go on one fad, fall off the wagon, gain all the weight and more back until the next healthy eating (or obsessive exercising) kick began. Now, I don’t diet. I eat what I want within my food sensitivities and pay attention to my body. If I want to eat nothing but candy all day…I do it and know that my body will repay me- which is why it doesn’t happen often. And, fresh foods are so much cheaper than packaged and so much more filling. I still have my cereal and gluten free bread but I enjoy it in moderation and I feel better for it! Great post ❤️ Jamie

    • Reply

      Sara

      January 24, 2019

      Hello again gorgeous! I hope your blogging break has been awesome? And super restful! I’ve missed you <3

      I'm really glad that you've found your way to intuitive eating instead. It's so much better for us, mentally and physically. And I also feel you with the sensitivities. I have a few to work around too <3. But it's so worth it when you can create that balance that makes you feel good (and tastes delicious ;)). That's the most important thing (and there's room for cereal and GF bread and all the good stuff ^^).

      Sending tons of love your way hun! xox

  10. Reply

    Sarah Dean // More Than Greens

    January 23, 2019

    I completely agree with everything you’ve said here. I personally don’t do “diets” as they just don’t work for me – I find them too restrictive and not something I can keep up long term. However a “healthy diet” is something I try to maintain (“try” being the operative word…).

    Great post and love all the positive encouragement and advice. xx

    • Reply

      Sara

      January 24, 2019

      That’s super awesome Sarah! I couldn’t agree more – I wouldn’t want to feel limited and restricted that way long term. I’ve had to do elimination diets for my health in the past, which was fine since it made me feel so much better and had an end date. But otherwise I like to be intuitive.

      And hey, it’s ok if you’re just trying. I feel like it’s more of a journey than a destination. Since we are constantly growing and changing and our health does the same our diets kind of need to grow and adjust with us. Listening to our bodies and making sure we feel fulfilling and balanced is wonderful :). That’s winning!

  11. Reply

    Kate werth

    January 23, 2019

    I love that you’re more than just eat raw diets or no sugars like I’ve been seeing so much of lately. So many healthy eating habits these days are centered around smoothie bowls and hipster nonsense foods that I always wonder how truly good they are. I’m just trying to cut out more salt and fats, starting small so that it does become a lifestyle change instead if a fad. Thanks for the encouragement!

    • Reply

      Sara

      January 24, 2019

      Thank you Kate! I think there’s too much of that too. Especially all the “cleanses” and appetite suppresants I see floating around. Breaks my heart!

      It’s all about creating a healthy balance that makes us feel awesome. And I think that needs to be unique to all of us. We’re all so different after all :). What matters is we feel well, both mentally and physically. I wish you well as you work to find that balance <3.

      On a side note, never underestimate the power of good fats (unless you have a medical condition that makes them all bad news bears for you). Avocado, nuts and seeds, dark chocolate, they're all awesome... and now I'm hungry ;). Sending tons of love your way!

  12. Reply

    Kalyan Panja

    January 23, 2019

    I loved you healthy eating ideas and clearing many of the misconceptions around food.

    • Reply

      Sara

      January 24, 2019

      I’m so happy to hear that Kalyan! Thank you! I think it’s so important that we have more conversations like this. So we can hopefully collectively move away from diet culture and instead start making peace with our plates. Creating something that makes us feel awesome and works for us is so important :). I’m glad to hear that you think so too! <3

  13. Reply

    The Simple Chocolatier

    February 17, 2019

    Great information. I notice when I skip breakfast or eat a poor one, I get brain fog and feel fatigued- so I try to eat a nutritious breakfast every morning to fuel me for the early part of the day

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I’m a wellness writer, Graves Disease thriver and self-love advocate.

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