When I sat down to write this blog, I had it in mind to write a piece about a Superfood and the most delicious meals you could make with this said Superfood. However, I found myself pondering about what makes a ‘food’ a Superfood. This then further led to the thoughts of how food preparation would affect its Super properties and ultimately I thought of the weight of responsibility that lays upon our scales.
I can not remember the last time I ate a meal feeling totally guilt free. It was perhaps when I was a child being served by my mother and all the worry regarding my health was hers. I was blissfully unaware that there could be any possible health implications from the meals I was served, as to some extent I am sure my mother was as well. Now that we are well within our Knowledge Era and we are bombarded with new information daily, every bite taken seems to be tainted by knowledge. There are now so many factors to consider when putting a meal together that it is no wonder we search the internet for already ‘put together’ meal plans. Too much advice and too many options, please just tell me what to eat, at what time, how to prepare it and where to buy it. It is also no surprise to see companies popping up with ready-made healthy meals that are delivered daily or monthly.
So if I were to plan a meal plan for the day, what would I need to think about:
Then still more I need to think of;
• Shall I start the day with protein or fibre or both?
• Shall I have dairy or no dairy? Full cream or Fat-Free?
• Shall I have eggs? Are they organic? Do the chickens roam free? Are they full of hormones and things that they are not supposed to be full of?
• Shall I have a big breakfast or small breakfast?
• Can I drink coffee? Is it good for me or is not good for me?
• What do I use to replace sugar, sweetener, honey or just go without?
• Should I snack mid-morning?
• Shall I snack on protein, fats or fruit?
• What portion size is considered a snack?
• I will have some salad, what will be in my salad?
• May I use a salad dressing? What type of dressing? Is it better to make my own?
• What protein shall I have with my salad? Is it organic, free range and free from hormones etc?
• Shall I have carbohydrate? Which one?
• Same questions as mid-morning.
• What is the latest time that I may eat supper?
• Are my vegetables organic? Free of pesticides etc.?
• Again all the same questions about the meat I add.
• Shall I eat carbohydrates with my supper?
• Can I have pudding? Is there a healthy version that doesn’t consist of a medley of chemicals?
• How many cups of tea or coffee may I have, if any?
• May I snack later if I feel peckish?
It all gets too overwhelming and eventually we just pick products wearing the right labels. As we eat each bite, however, there is this tingling sensation brewing in our insides which is not indigestion. A little tingle referred to as Consumer Mistrust. Compound this with inadequate time to prepare our own meals along with the need to reward ourselves after a busy pressured filled day and we have the recipe for shame.
Well, I don’t know about you but I have grown tired of the taste of the Shame Pie. I will no longer serve this to myself, but now I have to wonder, how to from here?
Firstly, let me decide why I am eating and let me separate my superficial needs from my deeper needs. If I feel a physical pain in my stomach then I am physically hungry, should I feel I want to eat with an absence of physical symptoms then I am only mentally hungry. My friend Candice told me that with a mindfulness technique you can overcome mental hunger to which I very maturely replied “But I don’t wanna”. You can refer to her blog on mindfulness to assist you with this. Okay, so only eat when hungry, got it.
My superficial ‘want’ is to be thin but my deeper need is to be healthy, so I should choose a product for health over beauty, for example, honey, instead of sweetener. The sweetener may not have calories but it is full of alleged harmful chemicals. If my need for a calorie deficit is of such importance then I should rather just leave the sweetening altogether.
I want to go back to basics so I wonder to myself, what did Adam and Eve eat? Genesis 1.29; ‘Then God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food.’ Adam and Eve ate fruit and plant that grew naturally but then Adam and Eve were cast out of The Garden of Eden and had to start growing crop to feed themselves.Genesis 3 18-19; “It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field.19 By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return.” Then after the flood God gives man permission to eat animal meat. Genesis 3:2-3 “The fear of you and the terror of you will be on every beast of the earth and on every bird of the sky; with everything that creeps on the ground, and all the fish of the sea, into your hand they are given. 3″Every moving thing that is alive shall be food for you; I give all to you, as I gave the green plant.…”
This tells me that vegetables, fruit and meat should be on my menu. Despite all the information available to me, all the Pinterest recipes, you tube videos and healthy lifestyle websites, I still find it intimating to buy fresh produce and cook from scratch. I also find that I am not sure what to buy at a market and I purchase too much that ends up rotting before I have had a chance to use it. My solution to this is to find a basic course to attend (I will let you know how that goes) that will just assist with the basics and then to take the time to try, even when it flops, try again. It will take discipline to go to a market to buy fresh organic produce, not the local grocer and more so to take the time to learn how to prepare them correctly. It also takes time to reset the taste buds so that you enjoy your food in a more natural state. I grew up having sugar added to my pumpkin and white sauce over my cauliflower, I would never have imagined that I would learn to enjoy the taste of raw broccoli. I may never embrace the Brussel Sprout but I am finding that there are many other vegetables that are delicious. I only discovered this however once I kicked up sugar, old preparation methods and sweetened and processed foods. For example, I have never liked the taste of Paw Paw and in fact I did not count fruit as a treat at all. It was something healthy to add to your diet and treats would be in the form of chocolate and cake, rewarded to myself for eating so healthy. However, after going a few weeks without sugar and processed foods, I happen to have a bite of a Paw Paw. I was in love. I now thoroughly enjoy this fruit. So if I am going back to basics, It would seem that fruit should be my pudding and to be treated as such.
When it comes to the eating of meat, I waver in my feelings. My logical and emotional selves clash. I love a good medium rare steak and have one often. This is because my steak is just steak, I do not have to look the animal in the eye before my steak is prepared and I eat it. By going to the store and purchasing my meat it is easy to forget where it has come from. My dear Pastor preached a sermon one Sunday morning where he had some Kentucky Fried chicken on one table and a live chicken on another table. My heart sank as I thought, well, I probably won’t be eating chicken anymore after this but his message was not that at all. It was ‘Eat your chicken but don’t forget to be thankful to the animal that sacrificed its life in order for you to have a meal’. That is a very powerful message indeed as it can be applied to more than one aspect of life.
So far, I have established that I must enjoy fresh produce in the most natural of ways I can, I should treat fruit as my treats and that I must have a heart of gratitude when I am eating my meat. That can only have positive results on my health, mind and body surely. Until I have the ability to have my own veggie garden and chickens (for eggs mind, I could never eat my pets), maybe a cow for milking, I will take a day and find someone in my community that is established as such and find out if they are willing to supply some of their extras to me or a real organic market with reasonable pricing. I would love to be established as well one day and set up a bartering system in my community. How idealic it sounds to trade my excess tomatoes for handmade cheese and so on.
To take this process step by step, I will start there. I will implement the basics of my nutritional needs. I will then slowly start addressing the other supplements i.e. condiments, to my meals and factors of my daily life that have an overall effect on my life.
I am blessed and privileged with great health, why ruin it for the sake of convenience. 10 minutes of extra effort now could mean 10 minutes of extra quality of life later on.