Alexandra Babcock, Dietetic Intern at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, is a guest writer and past intern of Robyn’s. Alexandra’s diverse interest in nutrition spans multidisciplinary experiences in clinical dietetic practice, sustainable food systems, innovation, and the psychology of motivation and behavior change. She shares her thoughts on our definition and pressure to “be healthy” in today’s Nutrition with Intention. Read on!
When I tell people that I work in nutrition, their first response is often: “You must be so healthy.”
“Healthy” appears to be a nuanced word. The food industry has captured the essence of healthy in green packaging and specific branding to drive sales of a product that may or may not be nutritious. The fitness world has used the word to describe a visibly muscular body type that belongs to some, but certainly not the majority of people. And the medical field has used the term to sum up a series of data points and laboratory results that the evidence directs us to conclude leads to a long life.
But none of those definitions demonstrate an exclusive view on the meaning of healthy. Nor do they illustrate the meaning of word to me or to you. So, what does healthy mean to me?
As a someone training in dietetic practice, I believe healthy means fueling your body with food that gives it energy and vitality. As someone passionate about environmental sustainability and justice, I believe healthy means food that we eat is grown in a way that promotes the environment and the people who touch our food. And, as someone educated in public health, I believe healthy means that you, your family, and your community practice behaviors that allow you to live well and full lives.
But, my definition of healthy isn’t the same as yours, nor should it be. I challenge you to think about National Nutrition Month as a month to “be healthy” in whatever way that means to you. Maybe that means being kind to yourself and your body – indulging in radical self-care. Maybe that means doing something for others – giving of your talents. Or, maybe that means eating well for you – nourishing your body and mind. You might find that being healthy is easier than you think.
Be well this month and always.