06/06/2013 08:23 EDT | Updated 08/06/2013 05:12 EDT

Does "Everything in Moderation" Really Work?

Does "all things in moderation" work? I haven't seen it work yet.

Just because we eat or do or use something in smaller amounts, or less frequently, doesn't always make it OK. As our own Eco-Expert Lisa Borden puts it, there are things that really need to fall into the "not ever" category.

For example, if we know that tartrazine, found in many yellow-coloured processed foods including Chef Boyardee, Mountain Dew, Kool Aid, Doritos, Corn Flakes and also some vitamins and even medications, can cause an aggravation of asthmatic symptoms, and behavioural problems like hyperactivity disorders, we probably should not consume this. Not even in moderation. This ingredient is a toxin. No matter how infrequently it is administered, it is still chemically toxic.

We love to rationalize our own behaviour as being OK in moderation. We go for manicures and get our hair dyed, and think it's OK because we're only doing it every few weeks, not everyday. Those chemicals being used are too toxic to go down the drain. It's well documented that these ingredients are potential carcinogens and that manicurists and hair stylists, as a demographic, have higher than normal rates of cancer. Is moderation still OK when better options are available?

Social smoking is smoking in moderation. Guess what? It still involves inhaling cancer-causing-toxic-waste-chemical-stink-sticks.

A common approach to healthy living is to follow the 80/20 rule -- where you can eat healthy and live well for 80 per cent of the time and then do whatever you want for the rest of the time. I wonder how well this works -- once you are informed on what that other 20 per cent is made of.

You don't need to be perfect 100 per cent of the time, day in and day out. If you have read UnDiet, you know that is certainly not my stance. But what about not giving yourself an excuse to ignore everything you know? That is a disservice to yourself and you deserve the best!

Eating well 80 per cent of the time doesn't balance out with getting that Big Mac at the drive through to reward yourself for eating organic salad all week. It doesn't mean that if you ride your bike 80 per cent of the time then you can leave your car idling for 20 minutes and call it even. This also doesn't mean that you can make your meals from scratch all week and reward yourself for being 'good' by going out binge drinking come Friday night and follow that up with a few slices of GMO wheat flour-crusted pizza with MSG-laden processed pepperoni flavoured disks of animal fat.


Is this making sense? If we know better, why wouldn't we want to do better? Or truly do our very best at any given time?

When we get it, when we truly make the connection, it's no longer about 80/20 and moderation. It becomes about making decisions that honour ourselves, our family, our community and our environment. It means taking the time to be informed about the choices we make. It means being clear on what the "never ever" things are and committing to that as best we can. Every choice truly counts. 

The simplest approach, the UnDiet approach, is really simple.

  • Do your research.
  • Read labels and ask questions.
  • Make informed decisions.
  • Set a standard that makes sense and is achievable by you.
  • Know that every choice counts.

What if we all start today to do as we intend to continue? What if we plunge forth not with the allowance of all things in moderation, but instead to truly try our best, to do our best with the knowledge we have, and the resources available to us?

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