In my previous article, I set out how we can have unhealthy relationships with food and how this can make us unhappy and lead to various ailments, both physically and mentally. Here are some tactics that are useful for giving yourself only happiness when it comes to food. Remember, its not there to punish us, its there to nourish and be enjoyed by us!!
Happy Food Tactic 1:
Buying top quality
Eating excellent quality food is a good way to promote a happy food relationship. By eating tastier, cleaner, less sprayed and more nutritious food, we are able to feel the benefits of food more and the downsides less (or hopefully, not at all!). Buying organic food is a good start, preferably local too. Not only will you feel more knowledgeable about the food, you will also be giving your body a very good chance of increasing its healthy elements and reducing the elements that may make you feel ill or sub-par. Net happiness = substantially improved!
Happy Food Tactic 2:
This is probably the hardest bit of advice to follow in the whole list. Wheat and gluten are so ubiquitous in the modern diet that it is almost impossible to imagine life without them. We are told by governments and corporations that eating wheat based foods is essential, the cornerstone of every healthy meal*. However, to have optimum health and a fully positive relationship with food, they do have to go! Reducing wheat intake will result in far less sensitivity and bloating of the digestive area, getting rid of that horrible bloated sensation after a meal and the dreaded post lunch sleeps that afflict so many of us bread-munching civilians! Bread, cereals and pasta are big offenders, with millions of us munching one or more of these at meal times. Try and cut down, replacing these with different types of vegetables or fruit and take note of how you feel with those instead. Almost certainly, you will feel far less stuffed and slothful but still feel well fed and energetic. Trust your own observations and don’t believe the advertising that tells you wheaty foods give you “more energy” than other foods. Trust your own experiences.
Happy Food Tactic 3:
Drink Water. Lots of Water!
Don’t wince at this! The modern truism goes like this: “Water is the stuff that we put with other things so we can’t taste it”. This wonderful, energy giving, life sustaining solution is exactly what we need. Our species has been drinking water very happily for countless millennia but in the past 50 years or so, we have become fussy about it. Like a child with a particularly sweet tooth, we just can’t bear to enjoy unadulterated water. We LOVE pre-packaged sweetened drinks though! Give us coffee, give us tea, give us one lump of sugar or two, give us “sports” drinks, give us watermelon flavoured sugar water, give us “energy” drinks but please, please, please… don’t give us water!
I may seem a little heavy handed here but I really want to reinforce the absurdity of a species that has always drunk water completely remodelling its behaviour in less than half a century of marketing and saccharine flavours. Its mad! Water makes up 70% of our body mass and yet we quail at its intake. It improves skin quality, improves energy levels, increases our ability to focus and concentrate, helps our digestive system operate and reduces headaches and lethargy, as well as a huge number of other functions that keep you healthy, happy and functioning. Research constantly shows that we don’t drink enough water, with people routinely drinking less than the minimum water guidelines. Water will make your life happier and healthier. The closer you can get to pure, unadulterated water, the better for your mental and physical wellbeing.
Happy Food Tactic 4:
Avoid anything with a “health” claim on it!
Ok, this might seem a touch crazy but stick with me here. If anything claims to be healthy in a supermarket or on its packaging or if the adverts on television stress the “healthy” aspects of it, then it is almost always nasty and bad. This seems like strong criticism but these products often remove fats through nasty processes like homogenisation (which can often make healthy fats dangerous during the process!) and replace them with additives, sugar, corn syrups or “low calorie” sweeteners.
It has been estimated that the average American takes in 5lbs of additives, sweeteners and other rubbish in a single year. These unnatural things, that are supposedly so much healthier than naturally occurring fats, have increased considerably since the early 80’s, the beginning of the obesity boom that we are still living in. We have been told that these things are cholesterol fighters, heart helpers, that they assist “happy” bacteria in our bodies, improve our skin and a whole range of other lies and deception. We are eating less fat and consuming more of these “healthy foods” than ever, yet we grow increasingly obese and unhealthy. Make sense of that upside down logic if you can.
The bottom line is: if something is advertised as a “health food” and a company has gone to considerable expense to show you how “healthy” their low fat, low calorie, low cholesterol food can be, it is almost certainly unhealthy. No one advertises broccoli and yet that works just fine. Just because someone screams at you repeatedly doesn’t make them deserving of your time! Better to go with a high quality full fat product than a “slimming” product based on quack science and deceit.
OK, so this is just a small sample of the tactics you can employ to stop hating your interactions with food. I hope this has helped give you some perspective and that maybe these little tips have been of some small use to you. If you have any feedback, questions or comments, please feel free to ask them, its always greatly appreciated! Be happy and healthy and start enjoying your food like real humans should!
* These same corporations often have a big hand in designing inaccurate models like the Food Pyramid or Eatwell Plate that encourage us to get most of our daily food intake from wheat sources. They are usually the only major sponsors of food research. When a company that owns millions of acres of wheat funds a study on wheat, you are usually assured of positive results for the industry, without truth or quality science getting in the way too much!
@2014 Hillary Sapulveda