What, exactly, does "everything in moderation" mean? That literally everything we do is okay as long as it's in moderation? Hmmm, so, say, Russian Roulette is okay, as long as you play it in moderation? Or is Russian Roulette actually a version of trying to kill yourself in moderation, since there's only one chance in what, six, that you will? I realize that's a really extreme example, but you see where I'm going with this.
Let's relate that to things we put into our mouths. Poison in moderation? Petroleum in moderation? Excitotoxins that kill brain cells in moderation? Drugs in moderation? Pesticides in moderation? Anti-freeze in moderation? Think I'm getting carried away again here?? Well, you can find every single one of these things in processed foods on the grocery store shelf. Yep, you read that right. Artificial food dyes are petroleum products. There are pesticides in virtually everything and hormones and drugs in the animal products, like meat and milk. Monosodium glutamate is an excitotoxin (yes, toxin) that kills brain cells. It's put into your food not to enhance the actual product but to drug your tongue so that it tastes the food more acutely. It's basically hallucinogenic speed for your tongue (so that those nacho cheese Doritos taste like a lot more than they really are. Why else would you eat them??). Oh, yes, and propylene glycol in the ingredients list? Yep, that's antifreeze.
Now don't get me wrong -- I actually believe in the sentiment, but I'm very clear on what it means to me and it's not a convenient excuse to treat my body poorly. I believe that moderation in all GOOD things is a good idea. I don't think it's a good idea to eat the very same thing every day, day after day. Variety is good, too. But we all know that it's not good to eat too much sugar or too much fat or too much protein -- too much of anything, really, is not all that healthy for us. THAT is where the moderation should come in. I can eat all good things with moderation and be healthy. I don't have to eat salads every day all day to have a healthy body. And since I don't love salads, how happy am I going to be in my healthy body if that's all I eat?
I think moderation is really about balance. And I don't think you can be in balance when you're eating garbage. Garbage in = garbage out. You wouldn't scoop some garbage out of the compost pile and drop it into the soup pot, would you? Of course, not; the whole thing's garbage now. Well, it's the same principle. Garbage is garbage no matter what name you give it. And by the way, that compost is much healthier for your body than chemicals, drugs, and poisons. Think about it.
Do I eat sugar? Yes, I do. I eat it in small amounts, from high quality sources that are minimally processed, in combination with healthy proteins and fats. I don't eat it by itself and I don't eat it mindlessly until I'm stuffed. I enjoy every bite. Same thing goes for fats and proteins. I don't eat any of them by themselves and I eat them all in balance, in just the amounts my body needs. That's the important thing, not to avoid any actual food group. We need proteins, we need carbs, and we need fats, and we need them in the right balance with each other.
But I eat only real stuff; as "clean" as possible, meaning without chemicals and as little processing as possible. I eat organic as much as possible and especially for the things that matter most. I don't eat anything that's been altered in a lab, like hydrogenated fats or high-fructose corn syrup. If I have to eat out, I try to eat somewhere that uses real food, like Chipotle or the Whole Foods deli. And because I eat so clean, once in a while I enjoy a meal out at a regular restaurant (NOT fast food), but not very often, because I don't like the way I feel afterward. That's real balance, because it's not worth it to me to spend any more days feeling yucky, now that my body feels pretty darn good. Once you clear out the gunk, that junky food really doesn't have as much appeal any more. Maybe that's how you know you really ARE in balance.