This week’s post includes some additional thoughts on last week’s topic, “What is ‘Healthy Eating’?”
On a podcast I was listening to the other day the guest made a very simple but valid point that resonated with me. Eating healthy, giving our bodies the nutritious fuel we need to live our lives, is not supposed to be a monumental task. Think about that for a second. Eating is not meant to be the daily ginormous physical and mental battle that is has become for so many. It really isn’t supposed to be this hard. So WHY is it and why do we guilt ourselves so badly about it??
If you asked most people what the first thing is that pops into their head when they hear the term “healthy eating” it’s likely not an energized sense of well-being. Maybe more along the lines of a guilty flashback to last night’s piece of chocolate cake. I think it’s something we’ve all experienced at least one time or another (if not all the time!). It might start with an internal groan followed by an excuse on why a “pass” is deserved (dare I say… again?) and maybe even a few tries at making yourself feel better about your current attempts to follow whatever you think or have been told equates to a healthy diet. And let’s be real, what’s considered “healthy” one day often changes by the next. Well, not quite that quickly, but you get my gist. Eating healthy can be time consuming, frustrating, expensive and downright overwhelming.
As to why, I think many cases could be made. The blessing of modern technology has brought with it an insane amount of added chemicals, hormones, preservatives and dyes that now make up a majority of the food in our grocery stores. We are bombarded with ads for these items everywhere we turn, from our local fast food favorites to commercials and ads on the television and internet. It’s literally in our face. All the time. And it is so easy. From the frozen dinners at the supermarket to the drive thru at McDonald’s, it’s not hard to see how these habits quickly creep into the lives of busy families and become a weekly staple. Then once they do, what happens? There are just as many ads enlightening us on how we can “redeem” ourselves. It can be quite the vicious cycle.
I can’t help but throw one more wrench in the works by adding another possible and all too common scenario as to why someone might be struggling with sticking to a chosen path. What about those that didn’t knowingly choose it? What if you HAD to eat – or not eat – a certain way due to health concerns? That doesn’t necessarily make it any easier to stick to. In some ways, it makes it even harder because unlike willingly choosing to try and eat a certain way, it wasn’t something you sought out. This is the perspective I come from. (Yet another topic for another time but one I think it’s important to cover sooner rather than later.)
Now I ask you, what if it wasn’t hard? What if when we feel we’ve slipped up or overindulged yet again, we didn’t beat ourselves over the head? What if we accepted it and moved on? This doesn’t mean you should be lackadaisical about it but there’s no sense in letting it ruin your day and everyone else’s. The age old adage “tomorrow is a new day” is wonderful, but you don’t need to wait until the following day. The next piece of food you put into your mouth has the potential to be a new beginning!
Many people have simply never been shown how easy, fun and delicious it can be to make their own nutrient dense meals with minimal but high quality ingredients. Sure, you can get elaborate if you want but when I’m hungry, I want to eat now and anything that takes a great deal of time is just not going to happen unless I’ve planned for it in advance – which is another great habit to get into it… but more on that another time.
I recently made a personal commitment to start eating more plant based meals. I’m picking up vegetables in the grocery store I’ve never ever bought and in some cases, have never even heard of before, and – with the help of God and Google – have been incorporating them into my meals. Who knew that eggplant was so good? Laugh at me if you will and rest assured, you don’t need to get all crazy. My point is, I’m finding that it’s really not that hard. Or time consuming. It just takes a little effort and practice. I am by no means a lifelong cook. It’s a new passion and the more I try, the more my confidence grows. Yours can too.
Recipes are a much needed guide to begin with (for me at least) but after some practice, you just might find yourself becoming a little daring and attempting some of your own inventive concoctions. Next week will see the launch of a series of blog post explaining my own back story and what put me on this path.