The secret reason we crave and abuse food

October 31, 2021

Food, We all need it, we all crave it and we all abuse it.

It is one of the few things we need to live, add water, shelter and connection. 

The question is, if food is so important why do so many of us not understand it? I am not talking about micronutrients or macro dieting; I am talking about the simple concept of “Eat food, not too much, mostly plants” Michael Pollen.

How is it we have all missed this mark so much; obesity in Australia sits at 35.5% (according to the heart foundation 2015), malnutrition affecting 815 million people (10.7% of the world population), and people struggling with eating disorders.

How is it we have produced generational obesity or that there are now paid classes on how to make eggs. Let that sink in, people are paying, to learn, how to make an omelet, or scrambled eggs.

Let us start with the purpose, what is the purpose of the food we eat. It can be arguably said there are two main reasons we eat. 

Reason 1

Sustenance, a source of protein, carbohydrates, fiber, fat and essential vitamins. It gives our body energy to think, self regulate, excrete waste, repair, grow and reproduce. A lot of important things in there. You could probably go without food for 2-3 weeks, apparently, Gandhi went for 21 days; while it is possible I wouldn’t advise it.

Reason 2 

Culture, family, celebration, and love. These are the reasons we gather in small or large groups and enjoy a feast and time with others. This is a great purpose behind food especially in traditional preparation where there are wholesome, well-cooked, and planned meals.

If these are the reasons behind food, surely it shouldn’t be a problem in our lives?

This is where excuses, and falling into bad habits affect our food choices.

Excuses are nothing more than not taking accountability for the choices we make which sets us up for the bad habits we develop. The two most common are, I have not time, and eating healthy is expensive..

We all are given the exact amount of time, it is how we fill the minute of our day that counts. If you have time for Netflix, Instagram, this blog, or anything small task you have an accumulated amount of time to prep some food on a Sunday afternoon. 

The cost of food. A bag of potatoes, like a big fucking bag, 4kgs of them is about $5. A kilo of tofu is about $7. Green beans, kale, mushrooms are all under $10 a kilo. That is 8 kilos of food for under $50; and that is good food. Compare to, two burgers and two chips from your local burgers shop which is the same cost.

Good food doesn’t take long to prepare and is not expensive. If you avoid most of the middle isle in a shopping center, your food bill will surprise you.

To make it easy, I will give you my Five simple rules for food

  1. Look at your week - when you are trying to regulate what you eat, use the week as a window. This allows a little bit more flexibility but also more control. If you are going to eat our and get on the drinks on a Friday reduce the shitty food on Thursday and Saturday so you can enjoy your night out.
  1. Tell the media to fuck off - every year there is a new fad, new craze or new popular way of eating and dieting. Apple diets, potato diets, carnivore diets, fruit diets, raw diets, keto diets, the list goes on. Figure out why you want to change your food and if you are doing it long term and sustainably. If you jump from diet to diet, the problem may not be the plan you follow but your head behind it.
  1. Eat mainly plants - time and time again the Mediterranean diet proves to be the best for us. It includes whole foods, minimal animal proteins, good fats and is not constricting.
  1. Eat chocolate - This one is important, the most important I would say. It stands for, don’t be that asshole that brings scales to dinner. Unless you need to radically lose weight for a professional sport, competition, or urgent health-related reasons; you can eat your chocolate. Allow treats, small amounts of splurging makes your journey with food healthy and sustainable. 
  1. Buy local - go to the farmers markets, local fruit shops, or start your own little orchard. Try to eat in season, this will make sure your produce is actually fresh and not cold stored or shipped.

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