Our relationship with food says a lot. The food choices we make, how often we eat, and the things we drink truly tell a lot about ourselves. People use food for many reasons. To celebrate, to mourn, to cope, to escape. Sound familiar? How many birthday parties, weddings, baby showers, bridal showers, graduations, and funerals have you been to where food is a big deal. I mean, let’s be honest. The wrong menu can ruin a birthday party. The terrible preparation of a dish can ruin a wedding. And someone bringing unwelcomed and unsolicited potato salad to the family cookout is definitely a cause for commotion!
But, let’s be even more honest and talk about the kinds of foods that we are eating. Are we making healthy food choices that feed our bodies what they need to thrive? Or are we choosing unhealthy foods that we know are not good for us? What is your relationship with food like? Are you an emotional eater? Is food your body’s friend or enemy?
I wanted to talk about this topic for many reasons. The number of people that are overweight with health concerns and issues, in this country especially, is astounding. The rate that people are dying from obesity and it’s complications, such as heart disease and diabetes, is breathtaking. And these are things we can control. Genetics play a huge part in what we may be predisposed to. But let’s keep it honest: our food choices and lifestyle choices play a huge part, too.
I was also once overweight and unhappy in my body, but I was able to change my relationship with food and therefore lose all my unwanted weight. I learned an overall healthier lifestyle and I want to share some of the things I learned with you all.
I’ll start by saying that I believe the easiest way to start eating healthier is by choosing your top three favorite foods, and switching them out for whole grain or veggie based versions. I found that this was not only the easiest, but it covered a lot of my food choices. Once I swapped out whole wheat bread in one recipe, it was easy to swap it out in every recipe. Once I tried vegetable based tortillas in one recipe, it was easy to use them in every recipe.
The next tip I want to share revolves around drink choices. Specifically, sugary drink choices. Did you know that too much sugar leads to cravings? Crazy, right? But, it’s true. The more sugars we consume the more unhealthy food cravings we have. Stop drinking soda pop right now. No excuses, just stop. If you’re a fan of coffee and like to add sugar to it, leave the refined sugar alone and use turbinado sugar or agave syrup instead. Even try making a simple syrup for coffee and tea. Do this using equal parts turbinado sugar and water, bring it to a boil until sugar is fully dissolved, and sweeten your drinks this way. The juice cocktails: leave them alone, too. If you like juice, only choose juices that are labeled 100% juice. Those juice cocktails often have 10% or less of actual fruit juice in them.
The third and final tip I’ll share today is about raw foods. It’s especially important to remember to incorporate more raw fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and herbs into our daily diets. It is recommended by the United States Department of Agriculture, the USDA, that half of our plates at meal time be 50% fruits and vegetables. And of that, two thirds should be vegetables. Keeping it honest, of course: how many of us eat this way if we are not totally vegan or plant based?
Eating more raw fruits and vegetables is an easy and natural way to lose weight, fight cancer, prevent heart disease, lower cholesterol and blood pressure, prevent and treat diabetes, boost energy and mood, and so much more!
Food can definitely be our friend or our enemy. But it’s all about our choices and how we decide to look at food. Is food our friend in the sense that we eat what we know is healthy for our brains and bodies? Or is food something we turn to for comfort and emotional support? Do we make unhealthy food choices based on our emotions and make food our body’s enemy? Or do we avoid food altogether because we lack knowledge?
What do you think about food? Is it your friend or your enemy? Please leave a comment below and let me know more about your relationship with food and why you think that is. And stay tuned for part two!