Healthy eating isn’t hard

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There’s a huge amount of hype at the moment about the "right" way to eat – and sometimes you can’t see the wood for the trees. Have we lost the simple, natural approach to the subject of eating?

Healthy eating is right on trend. Talk of countless diets and regimens, some of them extreme, is all over social media. Vegan, paleo, pegan, raw food, low carb, interval fasting: some swear by one of them, some – by the exact opposite. And everybody seems convinced that they’ve finally found the ideal solution. The passion for "correct" eating can sometimes look almost like a religion. Our ability to discuss the subject of eating so intensively shows just how well we’re doing: we have the time, energy and cash to spend on constantly improving the way we eat, and that’s a luxury reserved for a tiny minority of the people on the planet.

Eating "correctly" at any price?

And yet: if you have a job, a family and a full diary, you soon come up against your limits. Keeping yourself thoroughly informed, shopping right, taking the trouble to prepare healthy dishes – it’s asking a lot, and for many people it’s asking too much. They’re left feeling uncertain, with a bad conscience. But there’s no need. Healthy eating isn’t just for superheroes. It doesn’t have to be perfect, just simple and acceptable for every day. And it can look different for each and every one of us. As long as you're healthy and active, three simple principles are all you need to find your way through the maze.

3 rules for healthy eating

  • Avoid extremes.  The best food for you is probably balanced, varied and mixed. Eat everything, but in moderation. The traditional  food pyramid  shows what we should eat more and less of.
  • Back to nature.  Buy ingredients in the form that’s closest to nature, ideally fresh and in season. Check their quality and origin to the maximum extent that your budget allows. Tip: valuable nutrients are best preserved in food that’s eaten raw.
  • Enjoy food sensibly. Eating is more than just ingesting food! Enjoyment and good company are essential accompaniments to it. So make time for a worthwhile break, and relax. That’s also good for the digestion.

Listen to your gut

This third and final point is the one that matters most! Many of us habitually neglect our bodily needs. Stress particularly stops us feeling good. The head overrides the gut so that we can perform at our best. It’s a very important, useful mechanism – but it was designed for "emergencies", not for normal operation. Switch to this mode too often or stay in it too long, and one day it will put your health at risk. So starting today, just occasionally, pay conscious attention to signals like hunger, the feeling of fullness, thirst, fatigue, the urge to get some exercise. If you take them seriously, your body will soon feel better. You’ll be amazed that your gut can tell you so much. And it’s usually right!

The orthorexia eating disorder: pathologically healthy ...

If you stick to the three simple principles set out above, you’ll already be doing quite a lot right: you’ll enjoy a rational, balanced diet without taking all the pleasure out of eating. That’s important. Healthy foodstuffs, after all, don’t necessarily mean healthy eating. Even if your diet’s impeccable, your attitude to eating may still be uptight in the extreme.
A term has been invented for this exaggerated concern with healthy eating: orthorexia. The idea behind it is that any compulsive attitude to food is itself an eating disorder. This is what the  Eating Disorders Switzerland expert network has to say about it: "Whether orthorexia is a distinct syndrome or merely an excessive lifestyle is currently the subject of intensive discussion." The borders between healthy and ill are blurred, and assessing them externally is often difficult – because it’s what goes on inside the head that matters.

Does this sound like you?

Do you find it difficult to balance your diet? Or do you have yourself firmly under control when it comes to food? Whether you criminally neglect your body or monitor it too closely, professional nutritional advice can help. It’s time to do something about it. For the sake of your health.

Plenty of supplementary insurance policies pay part of the costs.  AXA supplementary policies,  for example, pay 75% of the cost of nutritional advice up to an annual maximum of CHF 300 (Health ACTIF) or CHF 500 (Health COMPLET). This is conditional on the advice coming from a qualified nutritional adviser. AXA also recognizes all the  specialists listed in the Empirical Medicine Register (EMR).

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