Mindful Eating

How many times have you heard “You are what you eat”?
How many times have you thought, “I deserve this cookie.”

How many times have you told yourself, “I’ll eat better tomorrow. Monday, I’ll go on that cleanse.”
Fighting back and fourth between “Treat Yo Self” and “My body is a temple”.

I cannot tell you how much guilt and shame encompasses something so powerful and nurturing as food. We have grown up being told what to eat, how much to eat, what to avoid, what not to avoid, and yet- most of it was a lie.

We have walked away from intuitive and mindful eating because whatever we want is now at our fingertips. We can literally order from most restaurants and have it DELIVERED to our homes without having to leave our couch. It’s no wonder we are so sick!

Hunters and gatherers consumed food based on seasons. They consumed food that they had to work for, that they cherished, that they even prayed over. Their food was from the land. Natural and untouched. Food was nutrient rich and grew in the sunlight with pure air and water. Women used more and more natural resources to create and amplify the richness in their meats and berries. Men took every useable piece they could from their kill to pay respects and remain resourceful because they knew how important it was.

Disease did not exist like it does today. There were no such epidemics like obesity, ADD or allergies. Throughout the years man kind had it’s ups and downs with their resources and therefore nutrition suffered. Now, having more people than we can sustain, we have turned to science to feed the masses.

 

So it’s no wonder our nutrition is failing. Our food is no longer pure and our choices are made upon money. If you want something nutrient rich and untouched, it’s going to cost you. If you want to feed your family and are on limited income, your health will suffer. Although food is looked at as a necessary resource AND something most of us can grab quickly, it is also killing us.

Imagine a fish tank. It’s clean, clear, and filled with life swimming all around inside. The fish are vibrant. The plants are rich in nutrients and the water cycling through the pipes is fresh and filled with oxygen. Everything is working swimmingly (heh…) and you rarely need to clean it because everything has it’s purpose and is working well with one another.

Now in that fish tank, you introduce a cheap fish food. It says fish food so why wouldn’t the fish like it? Turns out it consists of chemicals, fibers, and foreign ingredients that fish have never eaten before. Once consumed, the fish start to get sick. Their PH is off in their feces, therefore it begins to kill the plants and the water starts to turn. When the water starts to become filled with bacteria, algae begins to grow. The glass starts to get a little green and the cleaner fish can’t keep up because they're not used to this type of algae nor does it taste good. Over time, the tank becomes polluted, pipes clog, fish die, and the once beautiful cycle of fresh water is stagnant. Sound familiar?

Food doesn’t always have to cost you. Making better choices and substituting your favorite go-to’s can be easy with the right research. If you begin to groan thinking about creating a new habit of eating healthy, would you rather groan about your hefty medical bill as well? Food has the ability to heal or harm you. Eating clean, rich, non-inflammatory foods is the health preventative we all need. Supplements, education, information, and learning how our body works is the criteria to live a better life. Eat mindfully. Slow down. One tiny little choice at a time. Changing your eating habits will not happen over night. So don’t freak out. Just give it a little more thought and see the bigger picture of what you are doing to your body. And remember, you are supposed to feel WELL. So EAT well. SLEEP well. LOVE well. I assure you over time, your body will TREAT you WELL.

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The hidden ingredient which could be wreaking havoc on your health

Photo courtesy of celiac.org

Photo courtesy of celiac.org

Gaining weight or having a hard time shedding pounds? Do you feel you eat pretty consciously yet you're still not reaching your health goals? You may want to consider the amount of sugar you're consuming daily. Many advertised "health foods" tend to be full of hidden sugar, which causes a number of health issues!

A longterm increased consumption of sugar doesn't just add to our waistlines, it can also cause some pretty serious health complications. High sugar intake is linked to diseases including diabetes, obesity, heart disease, certain cancers, Alzheimer's, and premature aging (And let's be honest, we all want to delay wrinkles setting in!). Sadly, sugar is considered to be the most addictive substances on the planet. Try quitting - you'll understand. 

So how much should you consume per day? The American Heart Association recommends the following:

  • Women: 100 calories per day (25 grams or 6 teaspoons)
  • Men: 150 calories per day (37.5 grams or 9 teaspoons)

To give some perspective, one can of soda has about 39 grams or just over 9 teaspoons of sugar! That means that just one soda will set you over the limit here! Yet the average American consumes 82 grams or 19.5 teaspoons per day! No wonder more than a third of our country suffers from obesity!

I always thought of myself as a pretty enlightened consumer when it came to knowing what exactly I was eating. I've read food labels since I was a teenager. But to be completely honest, I was mostly checking to make sure foods were gluten free and not full of chemicals or "food-like" ingredients. Turns out, I was completely skipping over the fact that sugar seems to be in most of the things I was eating!

It was during my time in acupuncture school when I was receiving a treatment in the school clinic, that a fellow student asked what my sugar intake was like. He thought that perhaps some of the imbalances going on in my body could be resolved my decreasing my sugar intake. He said to me "believe it or not, sugar is found in just about everything." At that time I thought, "I think I'd know if I was over-consuming sugar." Typical response from someone in the health field right? We always think we know everything. Needless to say, I went home and started to assess the foods I was consuming day to day. Sure enough, I was finding sugar everywhere! In my almond milk, marinara sauce, salad dressings, protein bars, you name it! This was the beginning of a totally new way of thinking for me.

I quickly started to realize that there were many other names for sugar, which is the very reason I was missing it.  I suggest reading labels on food packaging to determine whether or not there is sugar added. Unfortunately, you're unlikely to find the word "sugar" in the ingredients list. There are over 60 different names for sugar! Some of the more common names you'll find on labels are:

  • Cane juice
  • Corn syrup/High fructose corn syrup
  • Dehydrated cane juice
  • Dextrin
  • Dextrose (anything with '-ose' behind it!)
  • Fruit juice/Fruit juice concentrate
  • Granulated sugar
  • Maltodextrin
  • Maltose
  • Rice syrup
  • Sucrose
  • Evaporated cane juice

Some foods that are typically high in sugar include cereals, sauces/salad dressings, soups, granola bars, breads and juices (I suggest avoiding fruit juices all together if you can). Just about anything that is prepackaged and more highly processed is more likely to have sugar in it, not to mention other ingredients that I'm amazed pass as edible. It's never a bad idea to consume more whole foods. You can easily accomplish this by avoiding the aisles in the center of the grocery store and sticking to the produce and meat departments. When you can recognize a food in its original form - you're doing it right! And I promise, your body will thank you!