We have a relationship with food.
It’s emotional. We all know that. We’re going to save the “relationship talk” for later on, but today? We’re going to discover foods that love us back and why.
I love to eat. And I love to graze, so, basically, that means I just love to eat all the time. I’m not saying this is right or wrong, it’s just a fact. So learning to distinguish nutrient dense vs calorie dense foods was monumental for me as I began addressing my health and waistline.
Like most of us (99.999%,) I struggled with how to get down to a size I felt confident as while not obsessing over food. I counted calories, I weighed my food, I tried all the different diet fads and every time I found that all I could think about was food. And that’s ridiculous. I don’t want food taking over my life, I want to live it! And I want to feel good, not hungry, not guilty, not in a food coma haze. I want freedom and health and to be the size I feel most “me” at.
Going plant based was my answer. And here’s why.
When you’re consuming whole (minimally- or unprocessed) foods, you’re getting the most bang for your buck nutritionally. When in it’s natural state food is packed with fiber which feeds our gut bacteria and helps us digest in a healthy manner. Much of that fiber is undigestible to our systems, but necessary for a healthy gut biome. Since that fiber can’t be fully broken down and utilized as fuel, those particular “calories” pass through our system unprocessed. It’s like “free” food -you ate it but it’s not sticking around on your hips, being stored for later. Who doesn’t what that?!
Then there are water and fiber-rich foods, our fruits and veggies. You get the bulk -the large servings- without the bulge. The equivalent amount of calories from a massive plate of steamed veggies (which you probably won’t be able to finish) would be a quarter of that burger you’re thinking about. Maybe less. So would you rather eat 1/4 of a hamburger -or- a heaping pile of colorful, steamed vegetables with a large side of rice? Or potatoes? Or beans?
You get so much more bang for your buck even just considering the calorie density of your food when you eat minimally or unprocessed plant based foods.
What’s Considered Processed?
Foods that love you back don’t have anything good taken away and don’t have anything bad added to them.
Thanks to science and technology, we’ve been able to take what naturally occurs -and what we as humans had been eating for thousands and thousands of years- and turn it into food-like substances that are hyper palatable (meaning they’re like crack to our tastebuds.) We are created to seek out foods that are sweet, salty and calorie dense because when we ate from nature (for 99.999999999999% of human history) we needed to get as many calories as we could find. Now we have the opposite problem. We’re overeating and eating the wrong kinds of foods to such a point that we’re killing ourselves. Hyper palatable foods do not love us back. At all. They’re like a bad boyfriend. So bad, yet so goooood. I’m here to be that voice of your mother who says, “Respect yourself, Honey! You don’t need to take his sh*t. Treat yourself better.”
Example: 3 feet of sugarcane is required to make 1 tsp of refined sugar. There are 4g of sugar in 1 tsp of refined sugar. There are 5 tsp of refined sugar in 1 Snickers bar. That would mean you’d need to eat 15 feet of sugarcane……you get the picture.
When found in their natural state, food is pretty much perfect. It’s fiber, water and nutrient dense, which means we can eat our fill and it will love us back. When we eat foods that our bodies are meant to digest we find balance. And health.
We know that a huge salad is both filling and good for our bodies. The trick is to retrain our palates from being used to these science-made food-like substances and get back to the way we were meant to enjoy our food. Whole, simple and delicious.