To lose a few pounds? To look better at the pool this summer? Because Dr. Oz, Michelle Obama, or Glamour is telling you to? Basically the world is telling you to pay attention to nutrition. And while the reasons above may very well be true, there are much deeper reasons to start caring about your food.
Let’s start with the very basics – we need food to live. Eating has become so integrated into our everyday lives that we rarely stop to think about why we do it. We actually need those carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, minerals, and so on for our bodies to function on a chemical level. Somewhere along the way, I think our concept of food got terribly twisted. On one end of the spectrum, we may focus on the minimal amount of calories possible or “low fat” or banning an entire food group from our diets! The other end of the spectrum is deep frying everything from ice cream to butter, creating potato chips flavored like cappuccinos, or getting the most possible food for the least amout of money. We don’t often think about food for what it is meant to do – to nourish our bodies and allow us to live a fulfilling life. Unfortunately, many of us are poisoning ourselves with the foods we choose to eat.
Not that I’m saying that potato chips are poison. I like chips sometimes. I am saying that eating them everyday combined with pizza and a Mountain Dew is a dangerous habit. It is these habits that lead to a lifetime of declining health. It seems that our society has accepted this health disparity as somewhat of a social norm. It is not uncommon for us to enter our old age with high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and diabetes. However, I have to tell you… these diseases are preventable. Of course, genetics does play it’s part, but we can’t deny that food has a huge, huge, huge impact on disease. Some of you may be thinking, “I’m fine. I don’t need to worry about what I’m eating now. I’m perfectly healthy.” Key word to that sentence is “now.” I can just about promise that the decisions you make about your health today will influence you tomorrow. Sadly, this element that we need for survival has become a deadly component. We are using food to kill us rather than keep us alive. Okay, let’s switch gears. We realize how scary it can be when we turn a blind eye to nutrition; so let’s talk about how AMAZING food really can be. I’m not going to bore you with every phytochemical and antioxidant in the book, but let’s just take a moment to appreciate the enormity of food. Our lives kind of revolve around eating food. We spend a significant amount of time shopping for it, cooking it, eating it, and generally, just thinking about it. Food surrounds us constantly! So why aren’t we paying more attention to it? It’s amazing that food enables us to read this sentence, walk to our mailboxes, or run a marathon. The energy from food gets us out of bed in the morning and empowers us to do whatever the heck we want to do with our lives – and I think that’s pretty great. So please, the next time you see a food label or hear advice from your Doc about nutrition, don’t pretend that it doesn’t apply to you. Food is the one thing that connects each and every one of us on this earth. I encourage you to think for yourself, ask questions, and make educated decisions. Whether you choose to acknowledge it or not, nutrition is a big part of your life.