One of the most confusing phenomenons in this world is the fact that almost a billion people do not have enough food to eat, while hundreds of thousands of people in this country die from obesity-related illnesses every year.
However, once you start looking around, it’s not so confusing.
I drive from Iowa to Wisconsin on a regular basis and I always stop at the same gas station for a quick break. When I look around at the assortment of “food” available, it makes me cringe. Doughnuts, candy, sodas, and all sorts of other processed junk is available in abundance. The only healthy option is a basket of sad-looking, conventional fruit.
What would you choose? I can tell you I’ve ended up with Milk Duds more often than bananas.
The past couple of months, I’ve eaten out a lot more due to travel. I’ve gained four pounds. Just like that. And I try to be careful!
Think about the last meal you ate out. Was it just right or too much? How did you feel afterwards? Did you eat more than you intended?
According to the book, The End of Overeating, the food industry carefully engineers and prepares our food in such a way as to encourage overeating. The author talks about our restaurant food being “pre-chewed,” in a figurative sense. Those who make our food add sugar and fat and salt to make us want more and more. In fact, I’ve been thinking lately that the conventional food industry is the premier drug dealer of our times.
I myself am addicted to sugar. I crave sweets. Every day. We’re not meant to eat refined sugar every day. Or even at all, maybe. I’ve read several books lately that link sugar addiction to everything from ADHD to criminal behavior. It’s poison for our bodies. Yet I continue to consume it.
We need to recognize and embrace the fact that food is fuel for our bodies. Eating (along with sleeping) is the most important thing we do every day. What we eat becomes part of us. What is more intimate than that?
So, easier said than done, right? Maybe. I think there are a few key steps to take to go in the right direction:
Eat Whole Foods
If you can look at food and recognize it, you’re in good shape. Whole foods also contain fiber that help us feel full – the way nature intended. Learning to cook this way may take some time, but there are a lot of great resources out there. I like Whole Life Nutrition, but beware that it is very much focused on gluten-free cooking.
We tend to eat more junk when we’re in emergency mode. Pack trail mixes and sandwiches when you know you’re going to be out and about. (Yeah, this one is a reminder to myself!)
Eat at Home
You’ll save money and your waistline. This doesn’t mean you should never eat out. I mean, it’s fun and a nice break! But if you do, choose local restaurants that serve local, seasonal food and care about you (and not just selling you their drugs).
As a society, we’re chronically dehydrated, which can result in feeling hungry. Drink 6-8 glasses of water every day. Start your day with a big glass of water. It has a great cleansing effect. Buy a good water bottle that can go with you everywhere, so you don’t end up paying a fortune for bottled water. (It’s better for the environment too!)
A lot of eating happens due to boredom or feeling blue. Call a friend, take a walk, or play an instrument until the craving dissipates.
I write this because I need to remember these tips myself. Not because I want to be ultra thin, but because I want to eat only my share. We are bombarded with food that kills us. It’s hard to resist. But I will never feel fully good about myself knowing that I’ve eaten more than I need. It just adds to the confusion.
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