Is Your Food Fulfilling ALL Your Needs?
So I recently received a phone call from my good friend Tiffany that started out with, “I just read an interview with Jada Pinkett Smith and it totally made me think of you.” Well you can imagine the kind of flattering, ego inflating statement I was anticipating. I mean any comparison to a fit, attractive Hollywood star has to be good, right? Nope. She continued, “I was reading about how Jada grew up in a family of bad cooks and that’s what made me think of you.” Ego successfully deflated. Not to mention I was a little pissed. Really? Is my cooking that bad she felt the need to share? She had more to add though, and it wasn’t that I was terrible cook (well at least that I know of, and in this case, ignorance is bliss, right?). Apparently growing up in a family of bad cooks created in this fit, famous Hollywood actress the mindset that food is first and foremost, nourishment, or fuel for the body. This is a belief I also hold, and it only continues to strengthen the more I continue to educate myself. Tiffany said I reminded her of Jada Pinkett Smith because I will eat things strictly for their health content. I quite often choose foods not based on their “yumminess” factor, but on how the food will nourish my body to look, feel and perform the way I want it to. Does that mean my tastes buds are less sensitive to others? No. I love and crave the tastes of sugary, salty and fatty foods just like everyone else. Our taste buds were designed that way so we would eat what we need, before the mass production of processed foods oversaturated with sugars, salts and trans-fats. My taste buds are no exception. The thing is, healthy eating is kind of like dating, or finding a life partner. What’s on the outside fades, and what’s on the inside is what will truly shape your relationship, or in the case of food, your body and your health. Is the thirty seconds of flavor worth the potential additional pounds or ill-health? I choose to vote no with my palate. Our bodies were designed to be vibrant, strong, powerful and to make us feel good, but they must have the right fuel in order for this to happen. Beauty as they say, is only skin deep and flavor, is only “taste bud” deep. If you choose a partner in a relationship based solely on his/her eye candy appeal, chances are your relationship, while momentarily fun, will leave a lot of emotional needs (or nourishment) unfulfilled. Same concept applies for food, if you choose your foods based mostly on flavor, then chances are your relationship with food isn’t creating the healthy and svelte body you are capable of having and your nutrient needs are going unfulfilled. You’re left with a lot of empty calories and your body still crying out for nourishment. But here’s the really awesome thing about learning to make food choices based more on nourishment factor rather than on the pumped up flavor factors that we are overly exposed to now – you begin to acclimate to real foods, and then you really begin to enjoy the flavor that they provide naturally. Much like Scarlett O’Hara who finally figured out that Rhett was the man for her, providing her with what she truly needed. But don’t be like her and discover it too late! When you start eating real, whole foods, you won’t be dependent on pumped up “filler” ingredients to make it tasty. My husband is the perfect example of this. He went from drinking heavily sugared coffee to finally believing me that the table sugar he was dumping by the spoonful in his coffee was a complete anti-nutrient (therefore destroying vitamins and minerals in his body instead of providing his body with vitamins and minerals). He quit using it and started sweetening it with honey instead. It’s a bit different flavor but he finally acclimated. Once he was used to the honey, he decided maybe he could even cut back that too, which he did gradually over time. He went from sugar-laden coffee to drinking his coffee without any sweetener at all. The really cool thing? Now he can actually taste and enjoy the flavor of the coffee itself. Of course, now he’s much pickier with his coffee since he can taste it so much better, guess I won’t try to fool him with the cheap stuff anymore ;).