veggie toddler - a young child learning how to walk and eat vegetables, not necessarily a wobbly vegetarian.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Healthy Enough

In his book, Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell talks about how you don’t need to be the tallest person around to be a professional basket ball player, you simply need to be tall enough. The same is true for education, according to Gladwell. You don’t need to go to the best college in order to win a Pulitzer Prize; you simply have to go to a school that is good enough. Well I would say nutrition works in a similar manner. Sure there will always be someone who eats a more healthy diet than I do. But in order to live a healthy life, I don’t think I need to grow all of my own food and raise my own cows. I simply need to eat healthy enough.

Perhaps there is a threshold for nutrition just like Gladwell’s basket ball players and Pulitzer Prize winners. We need to strive to eat a healthy diet but not necessarily the most healthy diet possible. Striving to eat healthy “enough” means cutting ourselves some slack now and then. I do all I can to put nutritious food in front of my family, but we also need to live a little. And at the end of the day, that makes us a little more healthy. To be healthy, after all, has to do with not only what we eat but how we live as well. Eat well, exercise and don’t forget to indulge now and then and have fun.

Of course this begs the question, how healthy is healthy enough? I am sorry to say that I have no perfect formula for what constitutes healthy enough. Everyone has their own threshold that works for them and the particular needs of their family. All I can say is that as much as I believe in nutritious food, I also believe in moderation. Every now and then it’s good to stand back from the most recent toxic plastic scare or obesity statistic and say to myself, “you know what? I am doing a pretty good job of getting fresh food on the table for my family.” Although my family may not be the most organic farm fresh, marathon-running family on my block, chances are, we are healthy enough.

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