Tuesday, May 4, 2010

On Thoughtful Food Choices

I've talked about being "thoughtful" when making food choices before. Thoughtful having a dual meaning or process. The first is about being aware of why you are eating, the mind body connection. This is especially important for people, like me, with emotional eating issues. But now I want to talk about the second reason why making thoughtful food choices is so crucial.

There is a disconnect in this country about how food impacts our health. When Anthelme Brillat-Savarin wrote in 1826, "Tell me what you eat and I will tell you what you are" he was talking about how the food we consume has a direct effect on the health of our bodies. The notion is more timely today as it ever was.

Making good choices now can help repair the damage that has been done by eating processed junk food and can go a long way to help prevent future disease. There is no wonder why hypertension, high cholesterol, type 2 Diabetes and some cancers are all becoming known as "lifestyle diseases." I understand that heredity and ethnicity can play a role, but if making better food choices can help prevent even just one of those diseases, why not try?

I'm not saying it's easy what with the bombardment of advertising Big Food assaults us with every single day trying to get us to eat their processed junk. With how easy they make it to just drive up in the car and get something hot and tasty to stave off hunger with no other thought than whether to super size it. But at what cost? Have you ever wondered why we don't see advertisements for the humble turnip green?

I want you to think, really think, about how you feel. And then I want you to think about what you are eating. I have learned that they are so deeply connected. Whole unprocessed foods in a variety of bright colors really helps me feel my energetic best. There is no doubt in my mind that I am what I eat.

The following is taken from an article written by Dr. Joseph Mercola that I read this morning. It seemed to sum up everything that I had wanted to talk about today so I have republished it here with permission as given on Dr. Mercola's website. If you want to read the full article please click here.

Opt Not to Play Along – Choose Health!

If you want to optimize your health, you simply must return to the basics of healthy food choices. And try as they may, industry lobbyists still cannot force you to buy these types of junk foods. The choice is entirely yours, and consumer demand will always win eventually, so the more people demand healthy, unadulterated foods, the more they must produce, one way or another.

I encourage you to support the small family farms in your area. You’ll receive nutritious food from a source that you can trust, and you’ll not only be supporting the health of your own family but the health of your entire community.

However, there is still much confusion about what is healthy – and in some cases, whether or not something is actually food. The easiest way to get confused and be led astray by misleading advertising is by focusing on individual ingredients or nutrients rather than the food as a whole.

In a nutshell, the easiest way back toward health is to focus on WHOLE, unadulterated foods; foods that have not been processed or altered from their original state. Food that has been grown or raised as nature intended, without the use of chemical additives, pesticides and fertilizers.

Whole, especially organic, foods contain so many nutrients that work together synergistically, making them superior to anything that contains only the active ingredient (and frequently as a synthetic version at that).

Now, if you don’t’ know what’s implied by “as nature intended,” then that should be a sign that you have gotten too disconnected from the natural world, and a refresher course in natural farming practices may be called for. (For example, corn is not, and has never been, a natural part of any cow’s diet. You will never see a cow nibbling on a corn stalk when out to pasture, no matter how much corn is growing nearby.)

Eating a diet of processed foods while popping vitamins and supplements, thinking you’re getting everything you need for health, is a reckless miscalculation that will extract its true cost in the form of chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and cancer.

Remember, any amount of time and money you save today by stopping at a fast food restaurant, you’re bound to repay later when you’re too ill to lead an active life.


  1. Amen! I'm picking up my first CSA box next week, fresh milk and grass fed beef this afternoon, and have home made bread at home.

  2. Good for you Shannon! If you haven't already, pick up a copy of Michael Pollan's The Omnivore's Dilemma. I'm reading it now and will be reviewing as soon as I finish. It will make your grass fed beef choice hit home even harder.

  3. I'm reading it now, too! In Defense of Food was eye opening enough. Now, the Omnivore's Dilemma is really exploring the details of the whole political/big business agenda. Very interesting reading. It's frustrating to me that marketing and lack of education have forced this information "underground". People look at me like I have three eyes when I start to talk about it.

  4. I'll look you right in your three eyes and talk about it with you anytime!