We wanted to make this week’s blog nice and fun...
What better way to do that than to talk about iceberg lettuce???
Now you might be slightly confused, BUT stick with us for a bit and it will come clear what we’re getting at.
Let’s start first by asking what comes to mind when you think of iceberg lettuce.
What did you answer with?
There’s no wrong answer here!
When someone brings up iceberg lettuce to me, I immediately think back to all those times as a kid/teenager/young adult (I say as a grandma now...), when I was told to not order iceberg lettuce because there was no nutritional value to it. Instead, you need to be eating spring mix or spinach. It's almost like they're implying that if you're not eating spinach and kale, then you might as well be eating fast food.
Here’s the thing though that I can confidently saw as a grown ass woman who cooks and cleans for herself, pays the bills, runs a business, mom to two crazy cats, and works hours upon hours with clients on their own nutrition...
That statement is utter BS and iceberg lettuce is delicious.
I LOVE salads, especially those super healthy ones with all the spinach and "superfood" guru stuff on it.
Despite all that, nothing brings me more joy—salad-wise—when I order/make/think of a wedge salad...yup. With all the bacon, cherry tomatoes, blue cheese, ranch/blue cheese dressing, and *gasp* iceberg lettuce. Even now, I prefer iceberg lettuce over spring mix which seems to rot every second and spinach...and I’m pretty dang healthy and pretty knowledgeable on this subject matter.
I mean...truly... think about the idea that iceberg lettuce isn’t *good enough*. Think long and hard about it.
JUST because it’s not spinach, BUT IT’S STILL A VEGETABLE, it’s somehow not “healthy”. That if you're not "all in" on health by ordering the spinach and kale salads, then you're nothing and might as well just not try.
NO WONDER 90% of our incoming clients struggle with all or nothing mindsets...because this kind of mentality prevails and has prevailed our society for years!! To the point where we're shaming healthy foods because they're not "healthy enough".
This is where application of science, as a coach, becomes absolutely essential. This is especially where internet warriors of #science with no empirical evidence from working with real, live human beings will always fall short when telling someone what to eat.
Because here at Clar-e-ty, we do not tell you want to eat.
We guide you along a path that YOU are deciding on to help you reach your goals.
Let me paint a picture for you.
You have a mom of 4, who also works and generally speaking, runs the household (i.e. cleaning, keeping time, doing boss b**** things, etc.). Being that busy and to satisfy the hungry mouths of 4, she relies on fast food OR simply just ordering out, essentially not cooking meals from home. She isn’t hugely active, maybe works out a few times a week. And she’s finally ready to treat her body well and become her healthiest self for her kids and family.
Now you’ve likely been following me for some time and *hopefully* haven’t been living under a rock, so I would expect likely you know generally speaking what this lovely mom needs to do.
Exercise & move
Eat at home more & cook
Eat more protein & veggies
Now let’s say she’s on board with getting eventually (not at once!) to all of these things, but the eating at home & adding veggies is a bit of a barrier for her.
An internet, fitspo guru is going to tell her to make this yummy, nourishing, superfood salad, chock full of spinach, pomegranates, a homemade vinaigrette, etc.
A Clar-e-ty coach instead asks this mom, “what’s one way you can get something prepared at home?” and receives the answer “I could start with some salads at home, but the kids only like iceberg basic salads.”
Screw the healthier option. We’re going to choose something that (1) she can do almost effortlessly (because that iceberg salad will take less time and less money than a superfood salad) and (2) she likes and MOST importantly (3) her family likes. MAYBE over time, she tries the healthier salad and loves it. That’s fantastic, but we’re starting with the realistic option first.
Instead of attempting that unrealistic option (i.e. the healthy salad) and then burning out or giving up...then potentially viewing herself as a failure...we start with something realistic. She gets some wins. She sees results. She’s no longer eating out as much. She’s supporting her family. Her kids learn veggies can be good. Most importantly, she’s found a habit that sticks because it worked for her.
***Note this conversation would work the opposite!! I’m not just weirdly obsessed or sponsored by iceberg lettuce. If someone only liked spinach salads, we’d go there first!
Here’s the thing about “healthy foods”:
There is ALWAYS going to be a healthier alternative.
There are iceberg salads. Then there are spinach salads. Then there are salads without dressing. Then who knows what’s after that when you’re down to a few leaves.
There are fried chicken sandwiches. Then there are grilled chicken sandwiches. Then no bun/bread alternatives or salads then *see above*.
There is fast food. Then there is restaurant take out. Then there’s preparing meals at home. Then maybe paying someone to do it to your standard (??).
There’s ice cream. Then there’s coconut/non-dairy/protein ice cream. Then there’s frozen yogurt. Then sorbet. Then yogurt. Then yogurt and fruit without the yogurt...i.e. fruit.
There’s candy. Then there’s cookies/brownies. Then there’s the paleo/healthy versions. Then there’s something after that that’s likely healthier.
SO YES. There is a healthier, or better yet, more nutritionally dense alternative to iceberg lettuce.
But does that make iceberg lettuce "unhealthy"?? Absolutely not.
What if that iceberg lettuce salad prevents someone from buying fast food?
What if that’s the only vegetable someone is willing to eat?
What if it lets someone increase the volume of food they’re eating, so they get to the day without hunger or cravings and no longer needs to inhale all the ice cream?
JUST because it’s mostly water content, it somehow provides no benefit to you?
All of these things above sound pretty healthy to me...
IN FACT, here are some health benefits to iceberg lettuce salads:
It’s a base!! Meaning, you can ADD whatever healthy stuff you want to a salad. That’s what’s so great about them. You don’t need to JUST have bites of lettuce. You can throw all the veggies on them you want.
HELLO WATER! The argument that iceberg lettuce is mostly water content cracks me up...because it’s almost as if our bodies are almost 3/4 water anyways... Even if there’s not as much fiber or something,
It’s low calorie! It can be a great way to get more food in without the calories.
It has a low glycemic index. It’s not going to increase your insulin like a carbohydrate/sugar will, helping your body’s insulin sensitivity.
**A note on "healthier" alternatives to your favorite foods below:
When it comes to “healthier options” of things, I find that UNLESS you truly do love them, it’s not something that can be a realistic alternative for life. You're going to need some of the "good stuff" in there on occasion.
If you love ice cream, we firmly believe making sure you’re not controlled by that craving, feeding your body nutrients first, etc. BUT there will come a time where you just want some ice cream...not the weird guru healthier version...like real yummy cookie dough Ben & Jerry's ice cream. SO instead of wasting your time trying to "make it work" with the healthier alternative (that likely still has fats & carbs & sugar galore) & eventually give into the original craving to start, just have the ice cream & save yourself time, energy, and calories.
Coach Ashley has been working with a client on her hunger and cravings. A secret Clar-e-ty trick we love doing (and no longer secret I guess) is making our clients have whatever they’re craving. If it’s 10 Oreos, you’re either logging ahead of time or simply just planning to eat 10 Oreos. We do this until that craving is no longer there. When that happens, the stigma, the desire to rebel, the need to cope emotionally with that food, etc. is pretty much gone!!
Because the more that you crave something & deprive yourself of that craving, the more you're going to want it. The longer you go without it, usually the worse that binge is.
What truly matters is what YOU choose and want.
When there’s no stigma (i.e. no I can’t have ice cream because ____), then you’re more capable to rationally deciding whether you do or do not want that food.
SO for all those foods out there that don’t have enough nutrition content...
Yogurt (i.e. the not as protein-dominant Greek yogurt or Skyr as we’re seeing lately)
And so much more!!
I’m here to tell you IT’S OKAY to eat them.
And to enjoy them.
And not have the pressure to make them “healthier”.
And to know you can still see progress when eating them...even if they're not defined as "superfoods".
In fact, the obesity epidemic in the US is not because of too much iceberg lettuce or carrots.
Remember this as you head into the holidays when you're faced with foods you do enjoy.
Because we promise that you can enjoy the holidays & the food that comes with it & not be stuck eating spinach salads for days if you don't want to.
If you need this kind of guidance & coaching through the holiday season, follow the links below to get coached today & apply for a free consult call with a Clar-e-ty Coach.
Resources and Coaching:
Online Coaching here.
[Free] Nutrition Guide here.
Recipe & Macro Guide here.