Food. We are surrounded by it. We rely on it for energy, for strength, nourishment, immunity and so on. How can something that is so vital to our very own existence have become something that has such a negative connotation these days? The unhealthy “love-hate” relationship with food in todays’ society is real. A relationship which once was well balanced and uncomplicated has turned into one that is challenged and even unforgiving. There are fingers being pointed at the food industry just as much as the consumers. Despite the blame game, I think what is more important is taking the steps to get back to our roots and rekindle this burnt-out flame we have with food.
My solution? It’s more simple than you think.
Eat REAL food, eat it MINDFULLY, and eat a little bit of everything in MODERATION.
My favorite words of wisdom from Michael Pollan; “Eat food. Mostly plants, not too much”.
The majority of food being served or sold at the restaurants and grocery stores these days have lengthy lists of “ingredients” that most of us can’t even pronounce or spell without assistance. What’s more concerning is that consumers don’t seem to notice or care! My advice is stick to buying packaged foods with five ingredients or less. If you can’t pronounce the ingredient, look it up and reconsider if it’s something that may do more harm than good for your body.
After reading the ingredients list, make sure to glance over the nutrition label. Here are my five main points to focus on; calories per serving, types of fat, sodium value, fiber, and added sugar content. Restaurants and food companies cook with absurd amounts of sodium for flavor and preservation. People see the sodium value on labels but question “how can that be so? I can’t taste all that salt.” Well, that’s because to mask the flavor of the salt, they just add sugar and fat. The combination of this added sugar and fat with sodium is what has expanded America’s waistlines over the years. My best advice is to eat whole fresh foods, or cook at home. However, I understand that life is busy and that can be difficult to accomplish. If you must buy packaged foods aim for; lower calories per serving, limit saturated fat to less than 10% of your daily calorie intake, reduce sodium intake to 1500mg per day, increase fiber rich foods with >3g per 100 calories, and strive for foods with little to NO added sugars.
It takes only a few extra seconds to glance over the label of the product you purchase but may have a lifetime affect when you put it into your body. Take the time to change your relationship with food into a positive healthy one. Take the time to go to a farmers’ market, buy fresh produce or plant it yourself, buy your own groceries, question where the food you are eating comes from, sit down at the table to eat a home cooked meal. Most importantly, take the time to eat it mindfully. Savor your food, nourish your soul.