Lately I have been paying more attention to the quality of the food I’ve been eating. Every week, I make it a point to watch another documentary or TED talk regarding some aspect of health or nutrition, especially if it relates to obesity. One of these documentaries, Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead was the one that got me thinking and perhaps made the biggest impression – it prompted me to embark on my personal Healthy Holiday Challenge. I decided to eat a gluten free plant based diet from November 1 until January 1, 2014. This means that since 11/1, I have consumed no meat, no dairy, no wheat, no sugar, and no processed food.
I have learned several things in the process of making this change. First of all, eating a plant based diet can actually be very satisfying. Second, that there are many delicious healthy carbs – quinoa, black rice, sweet potatoes, black beans, and others. Third, that even though they are healthy carbs, I can still eat too much of them because they taste good. For me, a person that enjoys the taste and experience of food – I can’t trust my appetite to say stop early enough. I still have to tell my appetite when it has had enough.
I have also been paying more attention to finding foods that are organically grown and not genetically modified (non-GMO). I must confess, I used to think that people who were all into organic and plant-based eating were “different.” They seemed uptight, germophobic, and overly self-concerned. Oh for heaven sakes, shut up and eat a cheeseburger, I would think.
Now, I would like to apologize for judging anyone and everyone who learned long before I did that the quality of our food is actually quite poor. Whether it is food manufactured to behave like an addictive drug, or fruits, vegetables, and grains that have been genetically modified, grown in pesticide, or meat injected with hormones and antibiotics, remaining ignorant is not a good option. Poor food quality exposes us to things we would not likely choose for ourselves if we were simply more aware.
I have always been resistant to anything that requires more attention and effort than reward. I am all about finding the easiest way to get something done. Unfortunately, the way food manufacturing has evolved, and the impact of the average American diet on the average American’s health (mine and yours), ignorance is no longer an option. I must make the effort to find my “new normal” routine. As I explore the way to navigate to my new “normal” in terms of my cleaner eating habits, I will be looking for ways to help you do the same, and inviting you to join me!
What is your biggest challenge with your eating habits?
Stay tuned for part two! I will be talking about this challenge through the lens of Christianity.