Monday, February 15, 2010

The A B C 's of nutrition.

Always Be in Control! matter how "busy" you are, or how "stressed" you are or even despite the fact that you have to keep some unhealthy foods in your home for your kids or spouse. These reasons are not reasons to eat unwisely, but instead they could be considered proof of your lack of knowledge. Being "in control" can mean so many different things, but in order to gain control of your decisions pertaining to nutrition, you have to have a reason to stay away from certaing things, you must have knowledge on the consequenses of eating unwisely, and have the guts to admit that you may not be eating enough of the right things and too much of the wrong.
Getting "in control" is dynamic! And once you grasp it, it will be with you forever! Our foods serve a purpose; fuel. Fuel makes things go. With out food, we would die. So with this concept, lets think of the quality of different types of fuel. Let's put aside the price factor, and just focus on the efficiency factor. When we choose foods, it's usually because we are hungry. After you eat a food, you should feel good, like you've accomplished something. You have fueled your body. You are in control of your body. Yet, sometimes, you eat a food, and you feel horrible after eating it. Whether it's emotional guilt or physical discomfort, you have lost control of your body, you are allowing that food and it's power (appeal), to control you.
Being controlled by foods is done subconciously. Our brains create connections with foods and the way it makes us feel. Then it continually reinforces that connection, creating a habit. Good or bad. The science behind nutrition and our psyche is quite profound, and we should never underestimate the power behind it. Slowly but surely, everyday of our lives, we are reinforcing some sort of nutritional habit, good or bad. Everyday the things we chose to eat, for whatever reasons we chose to eat them, define our habits. Anyone that knows me understands the depth of my addiction to chocolate chip cookies and brownies. Unfortunately I allow this. And unfortunately, sometimes, most times, I let that emotional surge of pleasure control my actions that steer me towards the cookie jars. We all have our favorite foods, and some enjoy them in a healthy way. However, when you find your self feeling sad after eating certain foods, or emotional for long periods of time. Step back to reconsider if the short pleasure phase is worth the set backs these foods put on your body. Break a week down into 7 days, and everyday acknowledge your eating habits for that particular day. For example, "Every Monday I eat two salads and a bowl of cereal. Every Tuesday I have a burger and pancakes, and usually a soda." When you verbally and visually acknowledge the things you consume, you accept responsibility. This gives you control. Try grouping together foods. For example processed or unprocessed, or animal fat or vegatable fat, artificially sweetened and naturally sweetened. If you have to, keep a little journal, but simply acknowledging the types of food you put into your body will help you constructively evaluate your eating habits. Once you group them, try realize how much processed foods you eat in comparison to whole foods, figure out how much artificial sweetners you consume incomparison to plant derived sweetners such as honey and stevia. Calculate how much animal fat is in your diet, how much plant fat is in your diet, how much water and alcohol is in your diet. Realize how many carbs you consume derived from artificial sugar or high fructose sugar. And last but not least, acknowledge how you feel after you eat. Acknowledge if there is a difference in your energy or attitude, try to recognize if you feel gassy, bloated, tired, or if you have immediate bowel movements, immediate urination, or nausea.Critique critique critique!
Notice I didn't say food groups, but instead I used the word "type". Presently, our foods have gone way beyond the food group boundaries. We now have some pretty technical science that goes into creating our foods, drinks and supplements. This could be looked at in both a positive and negative light. On the unfortunate side, we have artificial ingredients that make up our foods today. Many components are not broken down by our bodies and are creating tumors, acne, rashes, cancers, mood swings, liver and kidney disorder, blood disorders, heart complications, birth defects, etc. I'm sure some of you are saying "Oh well, only in large doses over time." However, all we have is time and I like my time. Artificial sweetners are popular because of the low/no calorie marketing, yet not many basic consumers have been sufficiently educated on what exactly makes up that sweetner, to allow them to make a more educated decision on weather this product is beneficial or harmful. The standards set forth to regulate our food and drinks are not as strict as they should be. The human body is quite resilient, which is possiby why many foods and drinks hit the supermarket shelves, yet every year a new research comes out highlighting that something that we love to eat daily may cause cancer, or birth defects or heart disease. So in a preventitive manner, i seek to enlighten as many as I can on the possible consequeses of eating certain "types" of foods. To allow you to group together certain foods (soda and "light"yogurts, or ritz crackers and cereal) to regulate how much of that food type you consume on a weekly and daily basis.
On a brighter note, thanks to our crafty scientist we are now able to supplement many neccessary minerals and vitamins. With ease, we can read a label and drink a shake and taa daa..we have all of our vitimains and minerals for the day. Wonderful! We can regulate and detoxify our digestion systems with a simple drink, we can cleanse our blood, our colons, and our minds knowing that for every area we wish to become more regulated on, we can find a drink, bar or pill that does the job. Science and nutrition are a great team! Unfortunately, our best interest is not aways the top priority. We live in a capatalistic society! Everything has a market. Ever realize how some of the most affordable foods are sometime the least healthy? Fortunately, we all have brains that like to process new info, so this should motivate us to go out and research the foods that we eat most, and see if they are harmful, in any dose.