There are lots of theories about healthy eating that usually revolve around what’s good to eat and what’s not. There are also healthy eating schemes that are based on the best times of the day to eat, how often per day, when in relation to exercise and whether to focus on raw, cooked or cultured foods and in what proportion. It can all get confusing and is often fuelled by food companies desires to sell their products. I’ve got a different proposal for you to consider.
Healthy Eating – another perspective
Here’s the plan I’d like to propose (and explain below);
- Eat as little as possible
- When you do eat, concentrate on raw, organic, whole foods
- Never eat alone, except when you feel the need for sustenance
- Never eat food from single use plastic packaging
Let me explain what I mean by each of these points.
1. Eat as little as possible
This is one of the keys to health. Eating food kills us. That might sound like a bold sentence, but just consider what you hear in the news all the time – we’re always being told that something we thought was good for us can actually cause problems. In the developed world, it’s clear that people generally eat too much and we have record levels of obesity, hypertension, diabetes, heart disease and cancer all as a result. In my article of a couple of years ago – Food – the essence of life, or something else? – I talked about experiments with mice and calorie restriction. There’s very good evidence that eating less makes us live longer. One of the best contemporary investigations into this topic came from the BBC and I reviewed it here – Eat, Fast and Live Longer.
2. When you do eat, concentrate on raw, organic, whole foods
Everything our bodies need to be healthy is provided by nature. If it wasn’t, how would life ever have begun? If you’re eating something that had to be processed by a company, passing it through a factory, and putting it in colourful fancy packaging, then ask yourself “why?”. It’s almost guaranteed that this type of processed food is worse for you, but good for the food companies profits. Whenever possible, eating simple fruits and vegetables, just as nature has prepared them, will be the healthiest way to go.
3. Never eat alone, except when you feel the need for sustenance
There’s no doubt that eating is heavily used as a social activity in our “advanced” societies. Just consider what we do when we want to socialise, we invite people round for dinner, we go out to a restaurant, we go for a picnic. Socialising almost always revolves around food. Even for social occasions like going to the movies, there’s always the popcorn and sweets to buy before you go in.
Socialising with others is a good thing though, so please don’t avoid it. Certainly partake in the common practice of socialising around food and have nice meals with your friends, but just eat as little as you can get away with (without being rude) in these occasions.
Now, if you find yourself alone and wanting to eat, you need to ask yourself why. Does your body feel like it needs sustenance? If so, then sure, feed it something to provide that sustenance. Do you feel like eating because you’re bored, upset, miserable, nervous or depressed? If so, take care of yourself, love yourself, meditate, talk to some friends or family, but don’t compound things by putting unnecessary food into your body.
4. Never eat food from single-use plastic packaging
This is an interesting one. It doesn’t sound like it’s directly related to our health because it appears to be mostly motivated by reducing the pollution that’s strangling our planet, but it is also related to health. Firstly, so much so-called food is processed in a factory and sealed in single-use plastic packaging. None of this “food” is necessary for our health and if we have a rule to never eat anything in single-use plastic packaging, then we’re eliminating a lot of dangerous (and often the easiest) poor food choices from our lives. That’s good. There’s also the danger of chemicals leaching from the plastic packaging and into the “food” item that’s also good to avoid.
Here’s my final thought for you in this article. If we approached eating with the thought of eating as little as possible in every circumstance, wouldn’t that be a huge change? Instead of accepting that the meal we’re preparing is the right portion size for one person, we actually ask ourselves how much of it we need. Instead of happily eating a bag of crisps because it makes us feel better, we ask ourselves if we actually need it for sustenance. Instead of having another chocolate because the first one tasted so nice, we realise we didn’t even need the first one. Instead of finishing everything on our plate because that’s how we were brought up, we look at our plate and decide what we really need to eat and what we can leave. When we see food advertising we actually see a corporation hoping to make profits from us and we are not fooled. The changes in our outlook would be almost endless, and I’m sure our bodies would be very happy with our new approach.
Now that would really be healthy eating.
These four points sound simple, but they certainly aren’t. I’m sure this is a much better formula for healthy eating but it’s not easy to follow. I struggle with it every day and believe it’s worth the fight.