I’m in the throes of my week 2 adventure of learning how to eat with mind, body, and spirit. My focus this week is on QUALITY, which amounts to choosing foods with integrity: they come from the earth, they were grown or harvested with love, and have a positive story to tell.
Sounds great! I didn’t expect this week’s “mission” to be too big of a challenge because I’m already eating a high-quality diet. Admittedly, I don’t eat as many organic foods as I probably “should” be, but I do tend to choose foods in their whole, unprocessed form–and that’s a great start.
So, as I shared in my Week 1: Slow Down and Breathe post, here are the key things I’ve been keeping in mind this week:
- Unprocessed options are almost always nutritionally superior. This is obvious enough. If I can get my pineapple from a real pineapple, why buy pre-packaged cups? Good thing I prefer fresh foods and don’t mind the prep work involved in eating them.
- Food has a story. What? This is an interesting perspective. It’s something I’ve heard vegetarians talk about, mostly. The idea is that a fresh, organic cucumber plucked from my garden (if only I had a garden!) has a “better” story than a conventionally farmed, pesticide-laden, low wage worker-plucked cucumber that rode on a truck to reach the local WalMart. The cucumber itself has a genetic code, if you will, or an “energy” that gets passed over to me. Very spiritual, indeed! And I like it!
- Our brains are smart. Yeah. They know when we eat something that doesn’t provide nutrients and will tell us to “eat more” until we get said nutrients. Addictive food processing crap notwithstanding, no wonder I can eat a half a bag of Doritos and still not feel satisfied. (’cause I’m not!)
None of the insights Marc David presents in week 2 of The Slow Down Diet were hard for me to swallow. I enjoyed the chapter immensely, but as I said, I’ve already adopted most of the guidelines recommended. But doesn’t this bring me back to the reason I’m exploring all of this in the first place? If I already know that eating quality foods is really, really good for me, then why do I still struggle so much with overeating? If I DO chose quality foods most of the time, what’s tripping me up?
So Here’s the Good Stuff
Duhhhh. It’s so obvious! More obvious now than ever. I don’t have a “problem” with quality foods. That is, I rarely overeat them. They don’t make me “crazy.” It’s the non-quality foods–the processed, fake, non-food–foods that short-circuit my brain. That’s what they’re designed to do, and I fall for it time and time again, hook line and sinker!
But that’s what this journey is about.
It’s nice to have some science to back up my experience. To hear that there are mind-body reasons that certain foods (or non-foods) cause cravings and can completely mess with our feelings of satiety. For some reason, I’m more susceptible than most people to the effects of non-food.
Case in point: it’s amazing to me that some people can eat a serving of ice cream (like, 1/2 cup or whatever) and go on their merry way. I used to be one of those people, curiously. Because I’m a food addict, over time, I get more and more tied into the cycle of “more ice cream…more ice cream…more ice cream…” if I start with that 1/2 cup.
There are people who will argue with me over this ad nauseam, and I welcome that dialogue. These people may suggest that moderation is key. They may say that because I’m self-identifying as a food addict, I’m being dramatic and creating an issue that isn’t really an issue. All I can speak to is what MY experience has taught me: if I eat ice cream in any amount, it’s never enough.
Even if it’s “quality” ice cream. I’ve OD’d on Paleo bread. I can get a little too excited about a smoothie if it feels too much like ice cream.
Yesterday my family attended a picnic. I made standard food choices to see what would happen. The burger didn’t trigger me, and neither did the potato salad nor watermelon. They were delicious, sure, but I felt “normal” with them. On the other hand, the tasty, highly-processed hot dog and the greasy potato chips stuck the crazy chord in my brain and I was compelled to eat the kids’ hot dog leftovers and stole a few chips from my husband. (Overeating.)
Lesson learned. Again.
The Lesson of Week 1
Now I have more insight into WHY foods like these trigger me. What can I do going forward? I can pay more attention to quality and honor myself with better choices–and that means pick REAL food. And the people at the picnic who ate one hot dog and a bag of chips and didn’t think about it? I can’t let them bother me. I also have to stop thinking I’ll someday become one of them…because my body reacts differently to non-food food.
Thanks for reading, and watch out for next week’s post!