The Neurotic Nutritionist
Good afternoon! It’s my potential new blog name and hopefully you agree that it’s got a catchier ring than RI Nutrition Housecalls. RI Nutrition Housecalls no longer applies to me as that is not what I do anymore. Moving forward with the times is crucial.
However, the reason I say potential is because a couple of people have kindly shared their opinion that it sounds too negative and may give people the wrong impression of me. I was glad to hear others’ viewpoints because I had thought it sounded funny and just liked the alliteration. I do want you to know I have a sense of humor! Although I take my nutrition very seriously (to the point of neuroticism?) I also live to laugh, have fun and do my best to enjoy this thing called life.
But is neurotic always a bad thing? NEUROTIC. Does the word conjure up thoughts of intense anxiety and emotional turmoil? Could there be a spectrum of neuroticism ranging from mild to severe where there may actually be some positive aspects to being mildly neurotic?
For Jung, a neurosis is not completely negative, despite, and even because of, its debilitating aspects. Interpreted positively, it has fundamental purpose for some people.
The reader will doubtless ask: What in the world is the value and meaning of a neurosis, this most useless and pestilent curse of humanity? To be neurotic – what good can that do? … I myself have known more than one person who owed his whole usefulness and reason for existence to a neurosis, which prevented all the worst follies in his life and forced him to a mode of living that developed his valuable potentialities. These might have been stifled had not the neurosis, with iron grip, held him to the place where he belonged (Jung, 1966: par. 68).
If I were not quite so neurotic about nutrition and were more ho-hum I don’t think that I would have the passion and drive that leads me to seek out nutritional truths and live by example the things I teach. Having mild neurotic traits actually equates to being highly conscientious, organized and dedicated to what I believe in.
Having a concern for what you eat is extremely important, however I really don’t think it’s necessary to be too neurotic about food. But you can’t be completely unaware either. I reflect back on my younger days when I munched on ju-ju candies and doritoes throughout long car trips, ordered take-out pizza without a second thought and obliviously doused my iceberg lettuce and chicken with ranch dressing. I guess my focus was on other things back then. Somewhere down the line I became a little obsessive about health. I now know that what goes into my mouth has a direct effect on how my body looks, functions and feels. That was something that never crossed my mind– but once it did there was no going back.
I would like to be a little more laid back, relaxed and carefree about life and it’s something I am working on. I am compulsive about reading ingredient lists on just about everything that I come across. I can become anxious at restaurants where I just don’t know for sure what exactly they are using back there in the kitchen. I can be a bit much but I get by and on some level I know that the occasional white flour, sugar, oil or artificial color is not going to be the death of me. But I still prefer to avoid them whenever I can. There’s a fine line between health-conscious and neurotic and I walk it.
Despite my mild neuroticism, I think that my personality fits nicely in sync with being a nutritionist/dietitian. Along with being healthy, helping others is at the top of my priority list. So, if I can help you be healthier– I am totally thrilled! Compassion for all people, animals and the earth is definitely one of my strong points. While I may be on the neurotic side when it comes to health, I also know that it’s important to strike a balance between eating well and maintaining sanity. Yes, it can be done. This is what I strive to do at work and here on my blog.
I believe that deep down everybody knows how to eat right. We’re only human and once upon a time there were no food processing facilities. We used to have to find our own foods with our instincts. And guess what those foods were? They were real, recognizable foods– not the concoctions of sugar and refined wheat that are so ubiquitous. Those foods were the things that we could pick, gather, grow, harvest, and perhaps, if so inclined, stab and kill. What do we have now? Some of those things are available to buy in stores but a lot of it has dramatically changed. Produce is transported all over the world and available for our convenience at the local market. This has pluses and minuses, a topic for another day. We don’t have to do anything but go out and pay for it. We should be extremely grateful for this luxury rather than take it for granted. Nobody has to hunt for their meat– most animals raised for food are kept in concentration camp-like conditions, slaughtered, cleaned up and neatly packaged in plastic and styrofoam for you to purchase at the store. You don’t have to think about it if you choose not to but it’s really happening. I encourage everyone to not turn a blind eye to where your animal products come from. Educate yourself and then make informed decisions. You don’t have to go vegan but you can decide to make more ethical choices. We have become so far removed from our food system that it’s no wonder we think we have no clue what to eat. There are packaged foods out there that contain natural foods so radically altered from their original state into something barely recognizable as food that whether we should even be eating them is up for debate. You know what I’m talking about. Take a packaged product from the grocery store shelf and look at the ingredient list. I’ll bet you don’t even know what half of that stuff is. Ask yourself if that’s something you consider food. Start paying attention. Maybe even be a little neurotic about what you eat. Because it matters.
Get back in your own kitchen. Learn how to make a few basics. It’s not difficult; it may just be something new if you aren’t used to it. Start small. Buy a head of broccoli and steam it. Cook up a pot of brown rice. Stock some bananas, apples, and oranges on your counter. Have fewer bags of chips, cookies, crackers, cans, and boxes in the pantry. Fill your fridge’s produce bins with onions, carrots, mushrooms, and greens. Listen to your body and pay attention to how real food makes you feel. You’ll know what to do.
Am I the Neurotic Nutritionist? Do you have a better idea for a blog name? Should I even continue doing a blog?