When I sit with people and sift through all the bullshit food rules, one of the things I ask everyone is,

“What foods would you love to eat, but don’t because you feel as though they’re not “allowed” or bad?”

And while I hear things like dessert, chips, and pasta, one of the most common foods talked about are bagels, and the fact that most people avoid them like the plague.

Our dialogue goes something like this:

Me: “If you love bagels, how come you don’t eat them?”

Client: “Because they’re so high in carbs and empty calories.”

Me: “What do you know about carbs and empty calories?”

Client: Pause….“They’re fattening and bad for you.”

Me: “How do you know that’s true?”

Client: Pause…. “Because that’s what I read online.”

Whatever food belief, diet, nutrition fad, etc. comes up for each person, it’s important to break it down and look at the facts, so let’s try it with bagels:

Yes, they’re higher in carbs in comparison to other foods, but that doesn’t make them fattening or bad. And while bagels aren’t known for their nutrient profile, they can provide us with energy, fill our bellies, and believe it or not, offer some minerals. And, if you choose whole wheat or something seedy, you can get a pretty awesome dose of fiber and protein.

All calories are fuel

Whether they come from broccoli or chocolate. Yes, some foods contain more nutrients than others, but those that don’t contain as many doesn’t mean they need to be avoided.

Also, if bagels are something you love, you’re going to get a hell of a lot of satisfaction from eating them. And let me tell you, being satisfied when you eat is a critical component in helping you feel less obsessive and more in control and confident around food.

And for those of you who want to up the nutrients, you can always top your bagel with some avocado and tomato, cheese, an egg or two, or smear it with some peanut butter or cream cheese.

Society is obsessed with the idea that everything you eat has to be bursting with nutrients and that anything less needs to be avoided, and it’s just a bunch of crap. It also makes for obsessing and stressing about everything we eat, and I don’t know about you, but that’s not doing anything “healthy” for you.

Myth: Carbs are fattening

In terms of carbs being fattening, well, let’s just blame that on diet culture. This belief got started because carbs are easily broken down in our bodies and yes, in excess, can get stored in our fat cells.

We also know that certain types of carbs get broken down more quickly, however, that doesn’t mean that every carb you eat turns to fat; far from it.

Carbs are vital to our health and provide fuel for our bodies all day long. And if you start tuning into your own body, it’ll let you know how much it prefers to feel satisfied and energized.

One size does not fit all

Some of us do better with higher carbs, some with lower; just like some of us need more protein, sleep, or vitamin D than others. Point is, we don’t all fit into the same box, which is why each of us has to get to know our OWN bodies’ needs.

Some of you reading this may love bagels and find you feel better when you eat only half, cool. Others may not even consider the option of eating half a bagel because you’ve been so programmed to be all-or-nothing with everything you eat.

You’ve also been taught to believe that you have to rely on external factors to guide your food choices, never once tapping into your own body or consulting your own needs.

Pair that with a whole lotta crazy non-sense from the internet and social media and there’s no wonder people tell me that they have no idea how to eat anymore.

Bagels according to diet culture:

  • They’re full of “bad” carbs and empty calories
  • They’re “stripped” of nutrients
  • All those carbs are fattening
  • All that bread will turn to glue in your intestines
  • They trigger inflammation
  • They “zap” energy

Bagels according to my body:

  • Gosh, this tastes good and is so satisfying
  • I love how easily this digests in my belly
  • It leaves me feeling energized and content
  • Adding some cream cheese is a great way to round it out for breakfast
  • It holds me for hours

Here’s what else I know about my body:

  • It’s not hungry for at least a couple hours after waking up
  • It doesn’t like quinoa
  • It loves gluten
  • More than two cups of coffee makes it jittery
  • It doesn’t like high intensity movement
  • It loves lots of water and fiber

How about yours?