You are what you eat

CONCEPT ONE OF: How to kill yourself by living

This is a pretty simple concept.  You are what you eat.  One of the best ways to feel better and get yourself into a better state of being is to modify your diet.  Too often we turn to “convenience” foods, which are actually quite inconvenient to our wallets, our health, and even our time!  When shopping, use a basket instead of a cart.  Shop more often, get FRESH ingredients.  More and more, processed foods are being found everywhere, and most have little nutritional value.

After two months of living in China, I lost 20 pounds.  Sure, I was walking more, but it was mainly a change in my diet.  I could not read the boxes here, so I had little or no clue what they contained.  I could, however, recognize a carrot.  I found myself at the market daily, picking up fresh food for only a day or two, instead of opening the fridge and staring, or worse, opening a cupboard and seeing what I could microwave so I didn’t miss any TV.  Daily shopping may not conducive for you, but trust me, buying fresh is the best way to increase your energy, lower your spending, and even get the whole family involved.  Bring your kids, have them pick something fresh and cook it with them.  Visit a farm sometime (many farmers that sell produce would be happy to let you see how they grow) and maybe you will start appreciating the process.

Try to buy local

I remember back in Canada, staring at a couple heads of lettuce.  One was local, organic and looked phenomenal.  The other was imported from California, and probably had been out of the ground for at least a week before it showed up on the shelf.  The dilemma, however, was that the local lettuce was an extra dollar.  When it is written, it seems ridiculous that a dollar would weigh so heavily on what should have been an obvious decision… but it did.  Funny how I had no problem the day before spending almost $10 at McDonald’s for “food” that, when left out, isn’t even touched by insects…  I also had no problem spending five bucks on the latte I was holding while deliberating about lettuce.

If it’s in a box, DON’T EAT IT!

This is a bit of a sweeping statement, but makes sense for the most part.  Almost everything in a box or can has been processed, had colouring and preservatives added, and really won’t do you much good.

Fat is a drug

There have been many studies that say eating fatty, salty foods will make you crave MORE fatty salty foods.  Bet you can’t eat just one… true.  I found many times where I would “slip” and eat chips, pizza etc. and my body would want more the next day.  It’s a cycle that can be broken.  Eat fresh for a week, and your body will crave salad.  Seriously.

Eat your veggies

Fruit and Vegetables are the most important things we can eat, yet we look at them as “side” dishes.  Eat your veggies!  A good way to get more is to snack on them during the day (which will help you decrease your portion sizes too) and try splitting that chicken breast or steak between two people, and fill up on veggies.

Incorporate more fish

Most of the world eats a lot of fish.  Why don’t we?

Learn about your food

We take WAY too much for granted.  We think that if something is being sold, it must be ok, because why would they sell something that would harm people.  Ummm…  THEY STILL SELL CIGARETTES!  There is a ton of information out there about food and nutrition.  You don’t have to become a calorie Nazi or anything, but the more you learn about the horrific things corporations and governments are doing to our food industry, the more you will veer away from your old favorites.

There are more recipes than can be counted on the internet.  Search some out.  You can get ideas from them, you don’t have to do things exactly as they say… there won’t be a test.  You can just search the ingredients, you’ll be amazed what you find (i.e. “chicken” “mushrooms” ) and Google will do the rest.

Have fun

Food is a necessity, but it is also a way to connect with your family or friends.  Cooking, tasting, sharing are all wonderful ways to get closer to those you enjoy spending time with, and can strengthen your family’s bond.  Learn some stuff, eat some good, and make sure there’s wine!

Photo credit: Carl Warner.  Check out his collection of foodscapes, they’re awesome!