Many people think they “eat healthy.” Or they make a New Year’s resolution to “eat healthier.” However in order to do that, it’s important to know what that really means.
A great way to start is by assessing what you really eat. Sometimes we eat automatically, chomping down handfuls of popcorn while watching a movie. Sometimes we eat processed foods that make certain claims on the front of the package but we never read the ingredients list or the Nutrition Facts label. Often we drink our calories, consuming sugary soda or specialty lattes or alcohol.
Try keeping a food diary for one week. Write down everything you eat and drink. Everything. There’s no need to cheat because you are the only one who will see this list. As you eat, drink and write, take time to think about why you eat what you do. Presumably what you eat tastes good to you. Maybe your diet is a result of your upbringing, your culture, what you have been taught is “good for you.” Maybe it’s just quick and easy. Maybe you’re upset, or bored, or it’s a habit to have snacks when you watch a movie. How much are you eating? Are you paying attention while you eat, or are you distracted and end up overfilling your stomach? Do you feel comfortable after eating, or bloated and heavy? Are you drinking plenty of water? Is your throat constantly dry? How about your eyes? Is your urine clear or dark yellow? Are you having bowel movements every day? Easily, or with a struggle?
Think about your goals for health. Do you want to sleep better, have more energy, be fit enough to play with your grandchildren, lose weight, reverse your diabetes, prevent cancer or heart disease? Seven out of the ten top causes of death in the US are strongly related to what you eat. Heart disease, cancer, Type 2 diabetes, kidney disease are all strongly linked to nutrition – or rather a lack of it. Scientific research has shown that these diseases can be prevented, stopped and even reversed with the right lifestyle. Are you willing to receive new information openly, without prejudice? It’s tough, because until someone challenges your beliefs you don’t realise how strongly you want to hold on to them. You have to be willing to unpack everything you ever thought, examine it, and consider if it is serving you. The benefits of choosing a Whole Food Plant Based lifestyle can include longer life expectancy, looking and feeling younger, having more energy, maintaining ideal weight, lowering cholesterol, preventing/reversing heart disease, lowering the risk of prostate, breast and other cancers, preserving eyesight, preventing and treating diabetes, avoiding surgery, decreasing the need for drugs. Medications attempt to remove symptoms – they rarely address the cause. The magic pill is not a pill at all. It is a change of lifestyle.
At the end of the week, look critically at your food diary. How often are you eating animal products? How often are you eating green vegetables? How often do you choose a whole food, brown rice for example, over a refined one, like white rice? Do you eat hearty wholewheat bread or bleached white bread? Are you eating a lot of fried food? How often are you choosing a piece of fruit rather than a sugary dessert?
What about drinks? Are you consuming alcohol every day? Soda? Cow’s milk? Plain water is the best option. Our bodies are about 60% water. We need sufficient hydration to keep our brain cells happy, keep our kidneys functioning and produce copious amounts of clear urine, keep our liver functioning to detoxify our bodies, keep our bowels happy and moving easily.
Today’s documentary recommendation is Fed Up, a revealing film on childhood obesity in the United States. It is not promoting the WFPD diet as such, but it demonstrates a very real problem – that people who are consuming processed foods often have no idea that this is causing their obesity, and worse, when told to eat more healthily simply switch out the usual junk for “low fat” junk. There needs to be a return to real food, cooked from simple ingredients in our own kitchens, not fake food wrapped in plastic.
Documentary: Fed Up (Netflix)