Food for Fuel

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photo source: Internet

Why do you eat? Why do you eat what you eat? Do you have a thought process before eating certain foods? Do you feel like your relationship with food could improve?

Food is essential for life. Without food or some form of it, we would not be able to live. Yet in these modern times, food is the cause of so much illness, poor health, sometimes even death. Why is that? Why is it that something that is designed to keep us alive, kills so many?

I think the reason why is because too many have lost contact with food’s primary purpose: FUEL. Then, nutrition.

Food is fuel for our bodies. Just like we need to put gas in our cars regularly, we need to put food in our bodies regularly. The highest quality gas will allow your car to run optimally. The right amount of radiator fluid and good oil, have the same purpose: to help your car to function properly. Too much or too little of these things will make it that your car will either overflow and not know what to do with all the extra liquid, or won’t be able to get you to where you want to go because of insufficient energy. While our bodies are much more amazing and intricate and complicated than a car, the basics are very similar. We need the proper kind of fuel to move optimally. The wrong kind of gas will break your car just like the wrong foods can create illness and poor health. Treat your body as you would your car, fill the tank with the right kind of fuel when it is empty, stop filling when it is full, give it the right kind of oil and at the right time.

Isn’t that great news? I think it is, because it really is THAT simple.

Too many people have lost touch with the simplicity of feeding one’s body and that is where eating disorders, obesity, poor health, etc…. arises. I don’t believe many foods to be truly evil. As a matter of fact, other than being a strict vegetarian, there is nothing I absolutely won’t eat. (Don’t quote me on this I might change my mind later). What I do believe in though, is eating the right foods at the right time. How do you do that? Well just think about what you are trying to accomplish. If all you are interested in is the pleasure of awakening your senses with delicious foods, then by all means, go for it, because, let’s not be hypocrites here, eating food for pleasure can be quite delightful. (Have you seen some of the recipes on my blog??) Even then though, I would suggest to be mindful about this. Do you eat for pleasure every time you eat? If that’s the case, I would suggest you make sure that what you find pleasurable also has a double purpose of properly fueling your body with nutritious ingredients. If it doesn’t, then maybe it’s time to revisit your relationship with food. If you are interested in being healthy and having your body work properly, then I suggest you start thinking about your meals and what you are going to be eating according to what your activities following that meal are. Are you going to be exercising? Are you going to be sitting at your desk for several hours? Are you going out dancing? Are you going to the park to play with your kids? Are you sitting on the couch watching a movie? Depending on what you will be doing, your body will require different forms of fuel. The foods I choose before an afternoon at the park running around, often are different than the foods I choose once the kids are in bed and I am reading a book or watching a movie. With this mindset I rarely feel deprived. If I MUST have a cupcake or ice cream or pizza or croissant, or which ever other foods that are not optimal for my body’s wellbeing, then at least I can make sure to eat those things at a time where my body can use those foods as energy instead of storing them as fat.

Subsequently, choosing the proper nutrition for your fuel will have an even greater positive impact on your health. I mentioned pizza, cupcake and such, and while I believe it is fine to let myself eat those things at times, it is rarely what I will choose to FUEL or FEED my body with when I have health in mind. Using the proper fuel will ensure optimal body function. While eating pizza at lunch when I will be going for a run later is much better than pizza at dinner when I will just be sitting and watching a movie, no pizza is best. So do not let yourself get trapped in the “FUEL” mindset, meaning you are using the fact that you will be using what you just ate as fuel for exercise as a reason to feed your body junk regularly. Combining proper fuel with proper nutrition is where it’s at if you are looking for optimal health. While a cookie might be lower in calories than some dried fruit and nuts, the benefits you will get from the latter outweigh the benefits you would be getting from a cookie. Wether you are burning off the calories or not.

I believe that the quality of your calories are far more important than the quantity of those calories, I will also argue that at which time you choose to consume those calories are almost equally as important than the calories you are choosing to consume.

It might take some practice at first but eventually this will be second nature. Reaching for a cookie at bedtime, or going to the gym on an empty stomach won’t make any sense to you. Having a big carb loaded lunch will sound awful if you know you are returning to the office to sit at your desk for several hours. By thinking of food this way you are bringing back your intuition to what feels best. Because in the end, isn’t that what we all want? To feel good? And I can guarantee you that the momentary “good” feeling you get from eating a “treat” is nothing compared the long lasting bliss that comes with eating a clean, nutrient rich diet.

So next time you reach for something to eat, ask yourself, “What am I trying to accomplish for my body with this food?”

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Loose weight the healthy way

What if I told you there was a better way to loose weight than by counting calories? Hang on for a minute. Let me explain my point of view here. I believe calorie counting to be very effective for weight loss. And if that is all you care about, weight management, than you might not think that there is a reason to do it differently. But here is where I get frustrated with calorie counting: it is solely based on numbers. Now, if you really care about your health, you might be one of the few who does calorie counting well and only eats very wholesome, nutritious foods. But again, why count calories if what you are eating is so nutritious? I mean, I would rather eat 200 calories of a delicious, nutritious piece of raw pie, than 100 calories coming from an energy bar or a candy bar. For many reasons, one of them being that the energy bar doesn’t necessarily feed your body quality ingredients, nor will it leave you feeling as full as long as nuts and seeds and dates, possibly vegetables, healthy fats and sugars would.

Here is the deal, instead of limiting yourself to say, a 1500 calorie a day diet, why not allow yourself to eat abundantly on a 0 chemical a day diet? If your food contains wholesome nutritionally dense ingredients, you will not need to eat as much of them, you will not feel hungry as often, your body will be able to break it down much more easily making it less likely that you are storing unwanted nutrients in unwanted places.

Start looking at the foods you buy, read the labels. Chemicals come in all kinds of sneaky ways. They are all over non organic produce, in conventional dairy, in store bought breads disguised as “dough conditioners”. Food additives and dyes. Most store bought sugar free sweets and low fat dairy. All those things have chemicals in them.

With that said, I am not saying go out and eat plates full of homemade pastas, or litters of apple juice because they are chemical free. My point here is being, if you are someone who spends a lot of time counting calories, I suggest you start looking at the quality of those calories, and if what you are eating doesn’t follow my 0 chemical a day rule, why not replace what you are about to eat with something equal in calories, and wholesome? Eventually, you will realize where the pitfalls are, and you will be able to make more conscientious decisions with your food, eating only things that feed you not fill you. Eventually, the foods you are consuming will make you feel so much better than the Jenny Craig frozen dinners, and all you will want to be eating will be real food.

I’ve struggled with weight in my life, and more than once (3 times actually) have I wanted to find a figure that I am happy with after having a child, and never have I counted calories. I’ve always relied on real food. Cutting the crap out of my diet and being honest with what goes into my body is the only way I have been able to loose weight and keep it off. Instead of looking at how many calories I am eating, I look at the quality of those calories. While I am still loosely aware of calories, they do not dictate what goes into my body.

I would rather live a life filled with delicious, nutritious calories, than one filled with empty chemically ridden foods.