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What Does "Healthy" Mean?

Several years ago I was invited to a Christmas party by a friend of an acquaintance of mine. At first, I was concerned about what I would eat. I was afraid that there would not be any food choices that would fit with my dietary requirements and I would be forced to "polite eat" things that I would not be comfortable with. When I expressed my concerns, she told me that she knew I would feel that way so she was making something healthy; she informed me she was making sweet potatoes with me in mind. I thought this was very thoughtful and agreed to attend. When I arrived at the party, I found a sweet potato casserole coved in marshmallows and brown sugar. I realized that day that people's definition of "healthy" varies dramatically.

These days we all know people eating vegetarian. To me, a grilled chicken breast would be a healthy choice but to a vegetarian this would not. A quick Google search of the word healthy reveal the definition of "promoting good health". Lets explore this a little further and delve into what is good health. Health is a state of complete emotional and physical well-being. According to the World Health Organization, "Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity." (1)

So what does this mean to us? It means that what is healthy for one person is not healthy for another. Healthy food choices have to not only provide our bodies with good nutrition but also make us feel good about the choices we make. If we are trying to lose weight for example some food choices normally considered healthy would not be because they are not contributing to our goal. Achieving this goal would ultimately improve our mental and social health along with our physical health by improving our self esteem among other things.  

So when you hear or read that some food is healthy, don't believe it. Judge for yourself and determine if this is something that fits the definition of healthy for you. 


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