Do you really think about what you eat everyday?
I am preparing for my next submission for Real Food and Health and researching for my article. I am going to throw out a piece of advice in there about purposeful eating. This isn’t a coined phrase or even something that scholars talk about, but it’s what I talk about. I have counseled many clients on intuitive eating and it always comes back to the question that I ask – are you thinking about everything you eat.
Perhaps this is an occupational hazard of being a dietitian, I think too much about food. With everything I ingest, I think about the nutrients, or lack of, that I will get from my food. Unless you have an extensive knowledge of food science, you may not know exactly what you are getting from foods. You may know the big macronutrients like fat, carbohydrate and protein, but do you know when you are getting omega 3s, or magnesium, or zinc? Probably not, and do you care?
Too many people rely on a multivitamin as their insurance policy for poor nutrition. Supplements, even vitamins, are just that – a supplement to something that is lacking in the diet. Pregnant women supplement their diet with iron and folic acid to support a growing baby and vegans may supplement with B-12 because it doesn’t occur naturally in plant foods.
Our world of fast information is a blessing and a curse. Everyone expects everything fast. They expect fast replies and ultra efficiency and it makes me go crazy sometimes with others’ expectations of me. We have information literally at our fingertips, but we are still claiming ignorance when it comes to nutrition. One of my favorite sayings is, “I don’t know what I don’t know”. Maybe individuals don’t know what to look for and if the answer can’t be found in mere seconds, it is often not worth the effort.
As a technological society, we are blessed with a wealth of information and we should use it. If you took only one food or ingredient each day, that you consumed, and googled it, you would start to build on your nutrition knowledge bank. Nutrition education is something that everyone should be interested in, young and old, with children or happily childless. Food is one thing that binds us all, we all eat.
Millions of dollars, euros, yen, you name it, are spent on nutrition research every year to help us understand how food affects the body, chronic disease, and overall health. Read it, use it, heed it.
Make your diet have a purpose. Whether you want to lose weight, eat clean, or become a vegetarian, be smart and learn about what you put in your body. Education is power and maybe you will become the talk of the office Christmas party with your witty comments about the dessert table.
Challenge yourself to learn what is in your food. Maybe you want to know how much vitamin C is in your avocado or maybe you’d like to know exactly what is in your pumpkin spice latte. It doesn’t mean you have to stop eating the foods you love, it just means that you are aware of your diet. The results may surprise you.