World Health Day 2023

By Maggie Hensley, RDN | Registered Dietitian

It’s finally springtime! For a lot of us that usually comes with some form of spring cleaning. Culturally, spring cleaning has deep roots in Jewish traditions around Passover, Iranian celebrations of Nowruz, Chinese Lunar New Year, Thailand’s Songkran Festival, and many others. Along with the themes of renewal and cleansing, these traditions have another thing in common: food!

As a dietitian I often think about how food connects to the rest of our lives in interesting ways. In light of World Health Day and spring cleaning, I wanted to explore what we can do to “clean up” our relationship with food.

Let’s Start by Dusting Off Our Big Book of Food Rules

Do you notice that you have specific rules around certain foods? Like restricting “junk foods”, only eating at home or during specific times of day or having to exercise more to “earn” foods or “burn off” foods? Do these sound familiar or remind you of any of your own food rules? Some research shows that restricting certain foods can contribute to eventually binging. So, as we clean house, are there any food rules that we are ready to toss out?

Now Let’s Head to the Basement of “Bad” Foods

We often hear a lot of negative talk around calories and carbohydrates which can lead us to thinking of some foods as “good” and some as “bad.” The truth is that food, like people, are more complex than that. Foods are not good or bad, they just do different things. Some give us quick energy, some longer lasting energy, but they all have complex vitamin and mineral profiles. Some can also comfort our grief, soothe our broken hearts, and reconnect us to treasured memories. What steps can we take today to throw away our focus on the good food/bad food fight, and to start making peace with all foods?

The Last Place We’ll Tidy Today is the Attic

This is where all our preconceived ideas about health, weight, and body size live (amidst a lot of other things). A common misconception is that our weight determines our health. It does not. People in lower weight bodies get the same chronic conditions that those in higher weight bodies get. If we fed every single person the exact same diet our heights, weights, shapes, and health would still be very different. I think it’s time to get rid of those notions and instead celebrate how beautiful our diversity is!

If any of these spaces sound familiar and you would like someone to help you tidy your relationship with food, please schedule an appointment (free if your primary care doctor is a NOAH provider) with one of our Registered Dietitians. They are experts in the science of nutrition and exploring relationships with food, they are also conveniently located in person or through telehealth at all of our NOAH clinics.