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How Important Is Nutrition to You?


Please take a minute to answer the question of how important nutrition is to you: not really, somewhat, or very. If your answer is not really or somewhat, before going all judgy on yourself that you should care more, just set aside judgment for a moment and grab your curiosity cap to try to understand your response.

Let’s roll back the clock to childhood and start there. I grew up in the 50s and 60s, a time when three meals a day and drinking milk were de rigueur and food allergies and sensitivities were, as far as I knew, barely heard of. Meals were mostly home cooked and fairly balanced in my house and going out to dinner was pretty much limited to Sunday nights or celebrations. Who even knew what an RD (registered dietitian) was back then? What I learned about nutrition happened decades later. 

Consider the following: How much did your parents or relatives value nutrition? How much did they know and talk about it? What were you taught about it at home, in school or elsewhere? When did you first start thinking about food as nutrients? Your answers are foundational to understanding how your attitude toward nutrition developed.

Many dysregulated eaters had dysfunctional childhoods at best and traumatic ones at worst. Maybe parents were focused on making a living or managing their own demons. Or nutrition was low on their priority list. Alternately, parents who chronically dieted and were hyper-focused on “eating healthy,” often pressured their children to eat nothing but nutritious foods. Some of their kids rebelled and purposely ignored the idea of food as nourishment, while others became nutrition obsessed and developed eating disorders.

More questions: How much do you know about nutrition facts? Where do you get your information from (please do not say Tik Tok or Woman’s World Magazine)? How often do you read books or listen to podcasts on nutrition by reputable authors like Michael Pollan or Marion Nestle? (There are others; I just don’t know them all.) Have you ever met with a registered dietitian—not just someone who calls themself a nutritionist? RDs have masters level training and state licensing like social workers.

Maybe you’re thinking that learning about nutrition is too overwhelming or that you don’t have time or interest in it. The truth is that it’s like any other subject. You could learn the basics or go deep into the weeds. The purpose of learning about nutrition is not to become an expert on the subject or to shun non-nutritious foods for the rest of your life. It’s to know what foods to put (and not put) into your body to be healthy and live long. It’s crucial information you truly cannot afford to live without.