Perfect is the Enemy of Good

- POSTED ON: Sep 29, 2012

 

Most people sometimes feel a strong inner drive to be “perfect” despite the fact that perfection is an impossible and often self-defeating goal.

Just like in every area of life, whatever diet, food plan, or way-of-eating, that one chooses can never be followed perfectly. Each of us makes many independent daily food choices based on what we feel best fits with our own lifestyle and personal eating philosophy. We aren’t all the same, and I believe that we shouldn’t try to be. However, there are a few helpful things that we might want to keep in mind while making those daily food choices.

Perfect is the Enemy of Good.

Everywhere we read conflicting information about what foods we should eat, which micronutrient or chemical contained in food should-we-choose-to-eat-or-not-eat to make us normal weight, and keep us from illness or death (i.e. healthy).

Our modern world will never be perfectly free of contaminants.

Okay, it’s the collective fault of society, but there is no going back. Also, life-spans here in the modern world are longer and more disease free … overall for more people … than life-spans were in our recorded past. So since we can't have perfectly pure food, the operative question in the real world is: Which of the available food choices are acceptable for me to realistically consume in my own life? What won’t make me fat, sick, or kill me?

Risks outside our control tend to get exaggerated.

We are frequently told that we should not eat this or that food substance, AND we are frequently told that we should eat these specific food substances.

People tend to get very worked up over what is perceived as the latest “chemical threat” in our food. Instead, we need to focus on the large risks that are within our control, … like focusing on the AMOUNTS of the readily available food that we eat … rather than exaggerating the smaller threats of what specific foods contain, just because the way that these micronutrients or other chemicals are handled often appear to be outside of our personal control.

New in the news is not new in the world.

When the news media highlights a “chemical threat” the tendency is to think the threat itself is new; that the consequences are unknown, and in the future. But if some chemical in foods does actually contribute to the risk of disease, it’s been doing so for years. That risk isn’t something looming in our future, it’s already in the present, and already part of the life we now live.

Perfectly pure food is not available on this planet. Instead of focusing on the latest news media hype, we need to do the best we can with the food supply we've got.

So lets focus on eating readily-available food in ways that will provide us with a personally satisfying lifestyle while understanding that EVERY person cannot achieve a slim, shapely, fit and toned body; that most diseases are simply a risk of life; that our bodies are designed to wear out; and that death will eventually arrive for everyone.


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Existing Comments:

On Sep 29, 2012 wrote:
Absolutely correct. Personally I have given up on all the fad diets used in the past and just eat what tastes good to me while remaining true to my daily calorie count. I don't believe people should pay attention to this study and that study unless there is a global epidemic going on and people are actually becoming ill. My first questions when I hear a 'new' claim about any food is,who conducted the study, who paid for the study and what group reaps financial benefit from the study. Just taking it a week at a time and doing the best I can.


On Sep 29, 2012 Dr. Collins wrote:
             Hi John, sounds like your plan is based on a thoughtful decision. I look forward to watching you succeed again.


On Oct 05, 2012 rroush wrote:
Boy do I get frustrated over hearing about all these chemical threats. Here's some of the things I've heard that lead to this frustration: Because of pesticides, you should only buy organic of certain fruits and vegetables (make sure you always have that list handy). Because of cancer and migraine/seizure risks, you shouldn't drink diet soda or anything containing aspartame. Because of growth hormone, you shouldn't eat meat or chicken. Because of high fructose corn syrup causing obesity, you shouldn't eat...well...a billion things that contain HFCS. Quite frankly, it's exhausting. Not much else left to eat if you focus on everything that is printed in the media as being bad. You make a great point about moderation! If you are eating smaller portions, you will be exposed to less of whatever the proverbial "They" say is bad for you without making any other changes. :-)


On Oct 05, 2012 Dr. Collins wrote:
             Hi Rebecca. One day the media says coffee or tea is bad for you, and then you soon hear it's good for you. We were told not to eat saturated fat or eggs to prevent heart diseased, and now we learn those things are totally unconnected. I've reached the point that if I enjoy eating it, and can fit it into my daily calorie allotment, I'll eat any food substance that I desire.

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