I got thinking about how easy it is to fall into the habit of mindless eating. We all do it – some more than others. I could talk about the psychology of food choices; the physiology of hunger; the potential nutritional consequences of mindless eating and the impact on your waistline, but really I want to inspire you to stand back and think about how you could become more connected with the food you are eating.
Just to clarify, when I say mindless eating, I’m not just talking about sitting in front of the tv/computer knocking back chocolate biscuits – that’s obviously not good for your body. But even healthy choices can become mindless when you make the same food choices day in/day out. I have improved my diet a lot over the years but I notice that many of my food choices are made on virtual auto pilot. Here’s an example – although I eat, what I consider to be a healthy breakfast (porridge, almond milk and milled nuts/seeds), I eat the same thing every day. More than that, it seems to set me up for a day of fixed routine eating. So, even though I am eating good foods most of the time, I am relying on a narrow range of foods – I’m so busy eating apples, blueberries, strawberries and watermelon – that grapes, plums, pears and many other fruits never get a look in. The same goes for veg – no problems on my intakes of onions, garlic, carrots, sweetcorn, butternut squash, brocolli, spinach & kale – but I rarely eat radish, cauliflower, cabbage, bok choy and serveral other veg. I love all fish/seafood but all I ever seem to eat is salmon, tuna and prawns. And don’t get me started on all those herbs and spices that never seem to make it near my food.
I realise that with our increasingly busy lives, it’s easier if we don’t have to think about what we are eating – we can dash around the supermarket quickly and get on with our lives. But I believe that when we eat mindlessly, we are disconnected with the deeper role of food in our lives. It’s not just fuel to keep us going – any source of calories will do that in the short to medium term. How we eat is an expression of our self worth and its a means through which we can show our families how much we care for them. Change doesn’t have to happen over night – I am still on my journey and there are still foods in our home that I plan to phase out and other foods that I haven’t managed to phase in yet.
So, here are the words I wrote down to inspire me to become more connected with what I eat. I hope that they inspire you too:
VARIETY FLAVOUR COLOUR HERBS SPICES FRUITS NUTS SEEDS PLANT FOODS WHOLEGRAINS PULSES
NUTRITION ENERGY VIBRANT REAL FOOD NOURISH FIBRE WATER ANTIOXIDANTS
SEASONAL CLOSE TO SOURCE FOOD MILES DE-TOXIFY CLEANSE VITALITY SUPER FOODS
NATURAL UN-PROCESSED MINIMALLY PROCESSED FREE RANGE LISTEN TO YOUR BODY ORGANIC
I encourage you to write your own list and to start to become more connected with what you are eating. It may just be small changes – like switching from white to whole grains but it’s a step towards better health and becoming more mindful about what you eat. Your list may be very different to mine – better health starts one change at a time so it doesn’t need to be a long list.
Wishing you all the best on your journey to better health