Nutrition and wellness are two coexisting concepts that have become integral in my lifestyle, and I believe that understanding nutrition and the benefits of good eating is directly linked to overall wellness and health. As of late, the idea of wellness has become abstracted by corporations, mass media, and marketing, blowing up the simple word into an industry that people appear to buy into.
This issue was brought to my attention with the recent airing of Camille Rowe’s feature with British Vogue, “What on Earth is Wellness”. To be quite frank, the first episode of the feature really disappointed me after seeing the trailer and hyping myself up about what the show would do for me. I was much more pleased after this past week’s episode, which discussed the issue of eating disorders and nutritional wellness. This, I found far more interesting, and I felt as though Dr. Danyale McCurdy-McKinnon, who discussed orthorexia, had very interesting things to say. She discussed the dangers of elimination diets and how recent obsessions with strictly cutting out things like wheat, sugar, dairy, alcohol, and meat lead to malnutrition.
This is not the first time I’ve heard such a claim, but it is the first time I’ve heard about orthorexia. Michael Pollan’s book In Defence of Food sums up what I believe to be an excellent diet in a clear and concise manner: “Eat food, not too much, mostly plants”. That is a mantra to live by, and once in a while I will treat myself to wonderful things like cake, ice cream, delicious and creamy pasta…but the idea is to eat whole food items. Rowe’s feature documentary discusses the incomplete philosophy behind supplemental vitamins, stating that the contents of these pills can be easily found in good quality food and integrated into our diet. I don’t take vitamins regularly. They are called supplements, not substitutions. If I find myself deficient in some sort of nutrient, it’s easier to address what is lacking and see if I can wholly integrate it into my diet through food before I consider any pill.
This is where packaged foods become the problem. Pollan states in his book that foods with labels of health claims should not be considered real food items. I’ve noticed that this is especially an issue with granola bars, which boast claims such as “gluten free”, “high in iron”, “most amount of protein for the least amount of calories”. Sure, these statements may be veritable, but I cannot pronounce half the ingredients listed on the packaging. I’m slowly becoming disenchanted with any packaged foods that list ingredients; why should my food be disguised in such a manner that you need to dissect its components? What are you ensuring? The success of “convenience food” has resulted in a food market that would have been unrecognizable prior to World War I.
Working at a farmer’s market this past summer has taught me some valuable lessons. Eat what’s in season. Take advantage of each food season. Market fresh food tastes a thousand times better than the crap you get in grocery stores (not to claim that all grocery food is crap…I’m not that much of a snob. I only say this spitefully because I could visibly see and smell the difference between the fruit stand I worked at and the scentless produce isles at the grocery store. Cantaloupes, I’m talking about you guys). I’m an absolute fruit addict, and I’m going to find it so hard to get through the winter without any fresh, local fruit.
I’ve gone off on a tangent here. What I really wanted to focus on was the concept of treating yourself. And this is a concept I apply to fads like juicing. I would never advocate for anything I did not believe in and post about it on this blog. Or any social media platform, for that matter. I will admit, I do get sponsored posts and collaborate with various companies. However, I do my research. I ask questions: what is the company about? What do they provide? Does their mission support my values and opinions? It’s important not to collaborate just for the sake of it. I collaborate because I am open and willing to try something to see if it is great.
Juicing is a crazy industry on its own. Its benefits are, indeed, quite wonderful, and nothing entirely new. Having a glass of OJ with breakfast is a long-standing tradition in North America. Some may think it has gone out of control, inducing an extremity when it comes to “cleansing”. Cleansing used to be so simple, so exterior. Take a bath. A shower. Now, we’ve become bored, and found creative ways to cleanse our insides. I’m all for it. I love a good juice. But substituting it for a meal is something I shake my head at. I think it’s a great way to – and here I go back to an important aforementioned idea – incorporate additional nutrients into my diet, but as someone who exercises regularly, it can hardly sustain me and keep me satisfied for long. I’ve tried juicing for meals, and found myself reaching for chocolate, candy, and other quick appetite fixes.
I’m still a fan of juicing. But here’s an idea (and I guarantee it’s nothing original): grab a juice because it tastes wonderful. Treat yourself to that yummy fruit blend on a hot day (or even a cold). It’s refreshing! So when Glow Smoothies, a Montreal-based small company, contacted me about trying out their summer recipes, I was a little stuck at first. I loved juice, but not in a health-freak kind of way. I wanted to project a simpler idea for this juice company.
So I tried the yummiest looking fruit juices available, and my goodness, they tasted fantastic. Juice making, in my opinion, is akin to the cocktail mixologist profession; when interesting ingredients are mixed together, it tastes good, it’s a wonderful thing to have as a treat! And Glow Smoothies had a plethora of smoothies with intriguing ingredient combinations: mango, orange, ginger, and lemon; pineapple, avocado, spinach; cashew milk, salt, mangos, lemon; bananas, figs, psyllium husk…the list goes on. My favourite juice, “Antidote”, was infused with the taste of summer: watermelon, mint, strawberries, cucumber, and baobab. It was an interesting blend of really yummy things that tasted really freaking good.
I understand that my opinion of juicing is rather paradoxical. I love the taste of them, but think that sometimes it goes to far to become the main component of one’s diet. So don’t let it do that, but keep drinking juice because it’s the best thing on earth to have on a hot summer’s day. Besides ice cream, of course.
Check out other delicious looking Glow Smoothies here. They ship to Quebec and Ontario!