I’m not sure if any topic has been written about more, at least in the last 30 years, than nutrition and dieting.
If you go back to your elementary school days it was a topic covered in great detail. I’m sure you can remember the charts and food groups.
Yet, we struggle with proper nutrition as a society, why is that?
I did this the other night with my boys (they are 11), we had some leftovers from the weekend and I was also making dinner that night. Now don’t be jealous, but I was preparing grilled pork chops with a side of applesauce (organic both of them) and sautéed green beans (organic). I placed that meal on one plate and then heated up the leftovers of which were meatball pizza and a pasta and vegetable salad. I showed the boys both of them and asked them which plate was more healthy and nutritious and why.
Hands down, without hesitation they chose the pork chops and green beans, as I’m sure you all did. And when I asked why, they said the pizza and pasta salad combo was not as healthy and had a lot of extra calories. I asked if the pizza and pasta salad combo had any good things in it and they answered yes, the cheese and sauce on the pizza and the vegetables in the pasta salad. Then I asked what was not nutritious in the pizza and pasta salad and they answered the crust and the pasta. Now, we switched to the pork chops and green beans. I asked why that was nutritious and they said it was real food, you know the kind you grow.
So, fascinating right. Good, solid answers with an understanding of what is healthy and what is not given the simple nature of the questions. So clearly the education system and guidance at home has taught them what is healthy and not. Also, I believe that this would happen in the majority of the households in America, for both adults and children.
So, why is it that we eat less nutritious food (we had pizza and pasta salad in our refrigerator!) and as a society struggle with weight??
My belief: affluence, abundance and choice.
We have the money to buy what we want, when we want it. We simply lack the discipline to eat how we should and know.
My grandmother use to talk about the “Great Depression”, and I was fascinated at the austerity they dealt with, yet she said they always had enough to eat. They grew or raised everything: chickens, eggs, pork, beef, milk, vegetables, fruit, grains and traded for what they didn’t raise on the farm. They ate their three squares a day of the four food groups (now a days it is five, fruits, vegetables, dairy, grain, protein foods). The three squares a day is getting a bad rap of late, but humans like routine and it does help plan your day. We need to only adopt this simple plan or one like it that involves healthy choices and we would well be on the way to correct the many ills that are affecting our society from a health standpoint.
Somehow we have gotten so far away from sensible eating we need to right books about “diets” that were the norm in a less confused time. The Paleo Diet is a perfect example.
So, discipline is the key. Eat the five food groups from reputable sources, prepare them in a way that preserves their natural flavors, control the portions and hold yourself accountable. Do that and then when you stray, which everyone does and should, you can manage it with little repercussions. Imagine not spending every waking minute consumed with what you are going to eat next! I know you do, because I hear it all day long!
Trust the knowledge you have, be realistic in your vision, and enjoy food, real food!