/> a mother's heart » Blog Archive » chasing rainbows & unicorns

I read several “real food” blogs and note trends in nutrition and nutritional thinking.  I research and read and try to stay abreast of what the gurus of the “slow food” or “real food” movement are saying.

But sometimes when I read things I wonder if in a desire to have The Best, we don’t throw out The Good.  There are times when The Best simply isn’t attainable, for any number of reasons.  When that happens, are we satisfied with The Good, or do we throw the proverbial baby out with the bathwater?

Example:  Family G decides that they are going to move from store-bought white bread to store-bought whole wheat bread.  And then from there, they start making their own whole wheat bread (with pre-ground flour).  Baby steps towards greater health, right?  Eventually, the family begins to research grinding wheat and the debate over soaking or sprouting grains for reduction of phytic acid in the bread, etc.  But due to their hectic schedule, that’s just not something they can do – soaking/sprouting/grinding is just beyond their ability.  I think, “Okay, so do what you can.”  But Family G gets discouraged and throws out the entire breadmaking experience – because it’s not The Best option.  They neglect to remember that making your own bread is a good thing and that tremendous nutrients are encased in that unsprouted/unsoaked bread, but because it’s not The Best, they stop all bread-making activities and eschew bread entirely.

I know this is an extreme example, but sometimes I wonder if we’re not doing the exact same thing in other areas.  Nuts are crazy-healthy.  Would they be healthier if they were toasted (under the magical 118ºF number for raw foodists and enzyme advocates)?  Possibly they would.  But should you stop eating nuts if you can’t toast them?  Nuts are huge sources of healthy protein, heart-healthy fats, and are satisfying bits of food.  I say eat The Good if The Best isn’t available and savour what you have and do that’s beneficial to your body & health.

Some of this type of thinking (all-or-nothing or black-and-white) is rooted in perfectionism, but as my friend Erica once wisely advised, “Don’t be paralyzed by your choices and always remember that sometimes it’s degrees of improvement you’re shooting for.”  She probably doesn’t even remember saying that, but it stuck in my head.  Way back then, I was just learning about real butter, coconut oil, and making teeny, tiny changes.  Baking my own bread & grinding my own grain were not even remotely on my radar screen and if I had seen back then what I choose to do now, I likely would’ve run screaming in the other direction.

So how do we step back from the precipitous edge of perfectionism?  Another friend of mine, Laura, put this in her Facebook status yesterday:

“No prison is as endless as the prison of perfectionism. Her inmates find work but never find peace.”

I’m pretty sure Laura wasn’t talking about what I am here, but the truth is still relevant.  If we continually strive for The Best (perfectionism in nutrition), we’ll consistently skip over The Good and the benefits that Good Nutrition has for us and our families.  But I think it’s a conscious choice – one to ignore the siren call of Best, Perfect, and the ego-mania that can come with it (because, let’s be honest – that’s really what this is for many of us, me included) and to know that we are doing the best we can at any given time.

There will always be rainbows and unicorns to chase, completely with fictitious pots of gold.  They will never be caught, but we can spend our time trying to grasp them, anyhow.  Will you chase them, or will you choose to do your best and make the most of what you’ve been given?

I’m striving for The Good and will eschew The Best – because if I pursue The Best, I’ll be neglecting other areas of my life, trying to attain the unattainable, and that’s not a price I’m willing to pay..

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  • http://www.andanotherthing.typepad.com Betsie

    You have an uncanny knack for putting my thoughts into better words :o) I broke up with “perfect” a long time ago so that could more thoroughly pursue “good enough” because “good enough” is my dream date. Thanks for posting this!
    .-= Betsie´s last blog ..Fieldtrip back in time =-.

  • Carrie

    I’ve been thinking that the perfect is the enemy of the excellent. You’ll never be excellent at life if you try to be perfect.

    It’s true at work, in cooking, and in parenting too.

  • http://www.mamasheartblog.com sue

    to quote several at 2|42, Things That Are True, Carrie. ^^^