Everyone is talking about healthy eating at the moment. It seems that hardly a day goes by when experts are not telling us what foods we should eat. In fact, nutrition was also a big topic in my survey of 119 top CEOs that I carried out in the summer. The question is: Do the constant warnings about the need to eat ‘properly’ really make us healthy?
In summer 2016, I carried out a survey of 119 top CEOs in Switzerland on the subject of health and I presented the results at the Wolfsberg Health Forum organized by UBS in late October. I was especially interested in discovering when CEOs feel healthy and what they do to achieve this. One of the most surprising findings was the great importance that the 41 respondents (including many CEOs from SMI companies or other major firms) assigned to a healthy diet – which they prioritized second after sport and ranked even higher than family and sleep. I find that astonishing because CEOs lead extremely busy lives that allow them little time to enjoy a quiet meal. After all, many of the meals they eat are business lunches or dinners.
‘Drink a cactus from time to time’
These CEOs appear, however, to be right on trend with their views on food. I have the impression that the topic of ‘healthy eating’ has significantly increased in importance as an ingredient in the ‘what makes me healthy?’ mix. Almost every publication feels compelled to offer helpful tips on this subject. This trend is already resulting in what, in some case, seem like absurd titles. Here is just a small selection of the articles that I came across in recent weeks on the topic of nutrition:
‘Raspberries beat super goji berries’
‘Drink a cactus from time to time’
‘My yoga canteen’
‘Are my eating habits determined by my genes?’
‘Eating meat is the new smoking’
But fear not: This is NOT an article telling you what you should eat and drink to stay or become healthy. There are already enough of those – whether they give recommendations (or often rebukes) regarding the things that we absolutely must eat to stay fit and enjoy the longest possible life (such as super foods, minerals, omega fatty acids) or contain lists of foods that we should not consume because they are TOTALLY unhealthy (such as white sugar, which they say is terrible for us, or wheat, which can trigger allergies). It seems to me that nutrition has become THE hot topic for the health industry.
There are no limits to the imagination. One wholesaler even recently ran the advertising slogan: ‘Karma snacks – and you have the power’, explaining that they are creations that will ‘give your body and soul energy and happiness’. Really? So that means those of us who don’t eat karma snacks are worn out and devoid of happiness?
Healthy – but enjoyable!
I take a different approach: Naturally, I make sure that I get enough vitamins and don’t only eat white but also wholemeal bread. And I ensure that I have a balanced diet and drink enough water and tea. After all, I don’t want to have health problems because of a poor diet. Personally, I have also discovered that it does me good when I consume plenty of warm food and drinks. However, I am not preaching – that is what irritates me about most articles on nutrition.
Even more importantly: I am convinced that we are at our most healthy when we eat and drink the things that we really enjoy – including chocolate or a good glass of wine from time to time (both, in my case). Eating a piece of chocolate never hurt anyone – but devouring a large bar of it after struggling to give up chocolate for a while is not good for you. It is a case of enjoying everything with moderation – and without a bad conscience. On that note: Bon appetit!
© Claudia Kraaz