11/27/2006

The love for food

Have you ever felt as though food is your number one enemy? How can a person manage to be thin when there is so much good food out there in the world? Hot dogs, hamburgers, pizza, cookies, cakes, candies, potatoes, the list is endless and restaurants are always coming up with new ways to keep us in their take out lines after work.

From experience, I know how easy it is to fall in a deeply imbedded food trap. I used to go to work where I would snack all day on various foods that I would bring in or that my fellow co-workers would share, which would then lead to lunch usually at the closest fast food restaurant to be followed by more snacking, then going home to more fast food or the freezer section of my grocery store. There have been times that I know my body was screaming for more nutrition. I was ignoring the screams. What are the screams, you wonder? I will explain… (Please forgive the gross-out factor): constipation, diarrhea, excessive flatulence, dehydration, dark urine, fatigue (low-energy), indigestion, heart burn, the list goes on and on. These are simply the symptoms! Eating poorly for a good portion of your life can lead to high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, depression, weak immune system, this list also goes on. These food issues are not unique to people with excess weight. Chances are, you know several people who are of moderate weight that eat horribly. These people can be very frustrating to be around especially when their body does not seem to show signs of their bad habits! Truth be known, that these habits will probably creep up on them later on in life.

When I think about the relationship that a lot of Americans have with food, I think about a funny little story that I was recently told about a conversation between an Asian woman and an American woman:

American woman: orders soup or some other dish at an Asian-Inspired restaurant that has tofu in it-she begins to eat her food when she unknowingly tries a bit of tofu. She is very annoyed by it and asks the waitress what is it

Asian woman: kindly explains to her that it is tofu and explains the ingredients

American woman: tells the waitress that it tastes horrible and wonders why they would ever serve such an item

Asian woman: begins to explain to her that tofu is good for her

There have been points (currently and recently) in my life that I have had an over saturated palette. In order to taste good to me, my food needed to be drowning in grease, saturated in butter, rolled in sugar and heavily sprinkled with salt. I was suffering from the “but, it tastes good” syndrome which is one I am still trying to overcome. Eating well does not have to be a painful experience. I recently had a conversation with Josh (the boyfriend) about how thinking about eating well forever made me feel sad. Looking a little closer at this comment I made and he so kindly pointed out to me, showed that I was relating food to emotions instead of as a basic human need. What if food had no flavor and its only purpose was to nourish your body? That can open up a flood gate of responses and emotions for many people. Eating well is simply…well, simple! The fewer ingredients the better and the more nutrients you eat for fueling your body, the better. It sounds so elementary health-class to me, doesn’t it you? Let’s use the standard old car fuel as an example. If your car ran on food as fuel and you needed to make an eight hour drive would you fill your tank with donuts, candy, cakes, and fried items that would leave you on the side of the road within a couple of hours? Or would you fill your tank with whole grains, vegetables and proteins to get there?

Simply thinking about what is going into your body on a daily basis could be startling. I like to call poor eating “food overdrive” or “food autopilot” this is simply when eating becomes a hobby or an event and the only requirement is that it tastes good. No thought or hesitation only wondering when I would eat again and where it would come from. Turning off the food autopilot can be scary and uncomfortable. Think about what you ate over the past week or start writing down what you are eating (ugh the dreaded food recording!) regardless of what it is. How many times do you eat processed, high fat, low nutrient foods a week? My food inventory has gotten better in the last couple of months, but defiantly has much more needed improvement.

It may surprise you to know (it still surprises me!) that there are foods that you love that are very good for you. Today I will work on a list of foods that I love that are nutritious (when I say love, I mean on the same level that you love your favorite not-so-healthy foods.)

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2 Comments:

Anonymous renee said...

Hey,

You've been tagged :)

http://www.reneegetsfit.com/archives/2006/12/tagged_1.php

10:48 AM  
Anonymous hopefulloser said...

Well I'm lucky I'm a vegetarian and I love a lot of healthy foods. I have to battle with not eating too much of everything, good or bad.

It's funny that I've heard far too often from people that they are surprised that I'm vegetarian because every vegetarian they know are emaciated.

12:55 PM  

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