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Why Your Friend Should Not Be Your Nutritionist

You can thank your best friend for always giving you the honest truth, for making time for you even when busy and for making even an ordinary moment extraordinary. Still, friendships should have boundaries, and it is important that your friend stays in the friendship role. Just because your friend is doing something, it does not make it the right thing for you. Take fad diets like paleo, gluten-free and others for example. In a Plex-obsessed culture with immense peer pressure to be “healthy,” it is important to keep in mind that your friend is not your nutritionist.

Generally speaking, the people that you choose to spend time with will influence the choices you make whether you realize it or not. Mindfulness can be important in such circumstances, so it is important to check in with yourself and make sure that you are doing what you want to do. Friends can easily influence dining habits, too, and with all the fad diets currently in circulation, you may find yourself making some peculiar meal decisions.

Anna Petrinec / Gavel Media

Anna Petrinec / Gavel Media

Cutting out an entire food group is never a good diet plan. Different macromolecules and vitamins are needed for a variety of biological processes. Eliminating a food group will only have negative effects on the body. Throwing your body out of equilibrium will undoubtedly lead to fatigue and/or digestive problems in the short-term. Fad diets will also often lead to altered metabolism and nutritional deficiencies in the long run.

It makes a lot of sense for your lactose--intolerant pal to avoid milk and cheese. It is also logical for your friend with Celiac to cut out gluten. Celiac is an autoimmune disease. Giving up gluten is not a healthier way to live unless it is medically required. Grains that are sources of gluten also offer fiber, B vitamins and folate, which are all important parts of a well-rounded diet. Misconceptions about certain foods and the reasons that people choose to have these foods or avoid them can have significant effects.

Selly Sallah / Gavel Media

Selly Sallah / Gavel Media

Take the egg, for example. Weekends in Lower consist of mobs of people lining up for their egg white omelets until well into the afternoon. Fats and cholesterol have a bad reputation just due to word of mouth when, in fact, these are important parts of every diet. It is a common misconception that the egg is better for you without the yolk, but the yolk is where the majority of nutrients are stored. Egg yolks are one of the richest sources of choline, which is associated with higher neurological function and happiness. They also offer riboflavin and carotenoids, which protect vision. If it is cholesterol that you are worried about, fear not. Scientific evidence has shown that eating eggs increases HDL, the so-called “good” cholesterol.

The bottom line is that you should choose meals that are proper for you rather than for anyone else. Maybe your friend eats three bags of chips a day, but that does not mean that you have to join. Maybe your friend won’t touch chips, but that does not mean that you have to stop. Like most things, each food is good for you in moderation. Give yourself exactly what you need and reap the mental and physical benefits.

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I'll pack my favorite red slippers when I become an astronaut. Colored pencil enthusiast, mother of parasites, part-time pilot. Runs in large circles and obsesses over dogs.