Saturday, July 26, 2014
Below is an excerpt from the introductory pages of The Health Promoting Cookbook by Alan Goldhamer, D.C. I just had to share because it is helping me realize that if I am going to be successful in eating healthy, I also need to create an environment that will support and make things a bit easier to make that transition to eating better foods and to resist those things that I know are not good for me, especially in the quantities that I am eating.
Why do we find it so difficult to eat what we should eat and avoid what we shouldn’t?
Part of it is genetics-we are programmed to eat concentrated foods when they are available. That is an important survival trait. In a natural setting, there are no chocolate chip trees, candy vines, or burger bushes. But today, surrounded by unlimited access to concentrated foods, we must overcome our instincts with our intellect.
To eat well, we have to understand the factors that drive us to eat so poorly. Very often we eat for the wrong reasons. We might eat because we are emotionally distraught. We might feel fatigued and eat for stimulation. But when we are tired, we should sleep.
Fear of being different is another factor that drives us to make poor food choices. “Friends” can experience a lot of cognitive dissonance. “You’re no fun anymore.” “It’s not healthy to be a fanatic!” “You’re so thin!” “Don’t you think you’re carrying this a little too far!” “I made this just for you!” “A little won’t hurt.”
We all live in the real world, with its temptations and seductions. Unfortunately, many things that taste good do not promote health. They have been designed to appeal to our inborn (and socially conditioned?) preferences for sweet, salt, and fat. In a natural setting, these substances are scarce, but in our industrial society we have access to virtually unlimited rich, stimulating foods.
To be successful in dietary transition, you must create your own natural environment as much as possible. The most important place to start is your home. Don’t bring fats, oils, salt, and sugar, processed foods or animal products into your home—not even “just for company.” If you have these temptations around you, you will either succumb to them or spend so much energy trying to resist them that you will become exhausted.
It is important for each person to develop his or her own set of strategies to support a healthful lifestyle. It is also important to review these strategies as well as your reasons for wanting to live healthfully. Cultivate friends who value their health and happiness. Pursue activities and interests that give you a feeling of productivity and emotional nourishment rather than looking solely to food to make you feel good.
Remember, food is fuel. Eat to live; don’t live to eat.
From the beginning pages of The Health Promoting Cookbook by Alan Goldhamer, D.C.