Sunday, April 25, 2010

The Food and Health Connection

Food is one of my favorite things on the planet. I love talking about food. I love learning about food. And I love eating food! Food is amazing. There are so many tastes, smells, colors, and textures. As a child, I would go over to my grandmother's house and help her in the kitchen as she baked biscuits, rolls, and oatmeal cakes during the holidays. I loved being in the kitchen with her and watching her fast hands at work. My grandmother has passed on now, but I still remember how much she enjoyed baking. I still love it too, and I love the memories I have of her, but as I am always pressed for time (my life tends to be busy) I don't bake as often as I used to. Except around the holidays. It just doesn't feel like Thanksgiving or Christmas without baking a delicious goodie from scratch...

Over the years, I have come to realize just how important food is to our health. This idea too came from the grandmother that loved to bake, but with her food was something that was... fearful. Or rather, she had a lot of fear about particular foods. She was always worried about her food, and she was concerned with how it would affect her body. Not so much in the sense that she was worried it would make her gain weight, but that she was fearful about sugars, synthetic additives, artificial flavors, and all the preservatives that are found in the typical American diet. In other words, she was fearful that her food would make her sick.

My mom had to grow-up with all of her mom's fear about food. My mother eats a very healthy diet, but it isn't out of fear that she chooses to eat healthy. She eats healthy because she feels better when she does. Plain and simple. She LOVES vegetables. I mean she really loves them! No meal is complete for her unless she has an assortment of at least 3 different vegetables on her plate. Her typical dinner consists of a salad (with tomatoes, avocados, green peppers, and cucumbers on top) her "vegetable medley" (steamed carrots, broccoli, and cauliflower) and a "squash symphony" (steamed yellow and green squashes). And don't even get me started on how much she loves potatoes...

So with an overly-fearful healthy grandmother, and mother that eats healthy because she likes to, I have grown-up on an array of healthy foods. I love vegetables and fruits, but I also have really strong sugar cravings. As in very strong sugar cravings. I've noticed, however, that if I am out of balance with another aspect of my life such as emotionally, then I will tend to crave sugar in a very extreme way. So I find a different way to get that "sweetness" in life that I am craving so much. For example, I'll take a walk with my husband, or spend some time reading, or take a bath. And I tend to do "processing" (it's an emotional release therapy session where we examine old belief systems and replace them with new ones) every so often, so that helps me feel great emotionally too. Or, if it's a really strong sugar craving, I am usually deficient in something nutritionally, such as minerals or protein, or greens. All of these things can manifest in my sugar cravings. This is not to say that sugar is "bad" it's just that sometimes what I'm really searching for is not sugar at all. It is something entirely different, and usually it's on an emotional level.

Food is actually very important to our health. I have a friend that I was talking to today, and she told me "We are what we eat. That's why I don't eat pigs." (lol) She doesn't eat cows, sheep, or chicken either (she's vegetarian) but her initial statement of "we are what we eat" really struck a chord with me today. I've heard that particular expression countless times, but for whatever reason I stopped to think about it. And I mean really think about it. Our bodies on a cellular level, are truly composed of whatever we shove into our mouths. When our body begins to break down the food we eat, it takes all the nutrients and utilizes them in our bodies at the cellular level. It breaks down the carbohydrates, the proteins, the sugars, and the fats, and puts these nutrients to work somewhere in the body. Then the things we don't use, or that the body doesn't know what to do with, either get stored as fat, stored as toxins, or eliminated. Our primary source of good health is in within the food that we choose to consume.

Many people realize that healthy food choices do contribute to better health. Yet all too often we as a society will turn to whatever is easy and convenient, and sometimes going through the drive-through at a fast-food joint is easier than going home and preparing a meal for your family. I do this too. For years I have understood the vital connection between health and food and I still struggle. I will slip into the "easy and convenient" method of choosing my foods. And it's ok, I'm not perfect, I'm human. The important thing is that I am trying.

So my goal for this year is to eat healthier. (I know, goal setting is supposed to be at the beginning of the year but for me, the beginning of the year is when it starts getting warm outside! I just sorta bundle up, close my eyes, and tune-out January, February, and March, and hope that when I wake-up it will be April!) I have set "eat healthy" goals in past such as no soda, and no pig meat of any kind. And I still am soda and pig free to this day. But this particular goal has a few different lifestyle changes:
1) Eat more green veggies
2) Prepare meals at home rather than dining out
3) Plan out my meals
4) Incorporate more raw foods and vegan foods into my meals

So there it is! I am excited to continue on my journey into the world of healthy cuisine.

In Good Health,

Lindsey Kae

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