Food is a necessity for life. It fuels our body's basic functions, including internal organ operation, body movement and cell regeneration. Somewhere along the line, our culture's perception of food shifted away from one of just necessity.
Prior to the 1900's, food was a basic survival need. Most people could only afford the bare minimum and had few options, other than what they grew on their land. It was around 1920 when the food choices and eating habits began to shift. In 1921, the first fast food restaurant, White Castle, opened up in Wichita, Kansas. In the late 1920's, electricity allowed new gadgets like refrigerators and ovens to be invented and marketed to consumers. As decades passed, and options for groceries and fast food restaurants grew, the focus wasn't on the necessity of sustenance but instead on a WANT or DESIRE.
Food was now tied to FEELiNGS instead of needs. We wanted those candy bars, big macs, chocolate chip cookies, fried macaroni and cheese, potato chips and Frappuccinos. Our bodies didn't NEED those things but our brain told us we did.
Eat to Live not Live to Eat
How many of us can say we just eat to live?
Where do we cross the line from "eating to live" to "living to eat"?
Is "living to eat" a bad thing?
It's okay to LOVE what you eat. But there is a difference between loving food OBSESSIVELY and loving food MINDFULLY. Loving OBSESSIVELY is characterized by food addictions and mindLESS eating, i.e. eating quickly with little to no awareness of each bite. Loving MINDFULLY is bringing awareness to what you eat, eating slowly and noticing the texture, taste, smell and sound of each bite. Mindful eating slows down the eating process so you are more likely to make healthy choices and less likely to overindulge.
Think about the times we have eaten that piece of cake, cupcake, pie, or pastry at a party even though we were too full from dinner.
Think about the times we sat on the couch mindlessly eating potato chips because they were just there. How surprised were we when the bag was empty and we had no recollection of what we just consumed.
Think about the times we were talked into eating or drinking something, by well meaning friends, coworkers or family, that we really didn't want or need. We consumed it because we felt like we didn't want to disappoint or offend.
Our social world REVOLVES around food. Gatherings always seem to include some type of food. Meeting a friend for coffee and pastry at the local coffee shop, celebrating a family birthday at a restaurant, or bringing sweets to work because it's the thing to do.
When do we STOP and check-in with our bodies to see if we really NEED what we are eating?
Do we ever ask ourselves....
Am I really hungry?
Am I just filling time?
Will this be just mindless eating?
Am I eating because I'm bored, stressed or sad?
Am I mistaking thirst for hunger?
Is this food/drink beneficial to my body?
Mindful eating is to become reacquainted with the guidance of our internal nutritionist.
With so much available to us in this century, it is hard to ignore and deny ourselves the abundance of rich, decadent, and sinful options. We are ALWAYS surrounded by food!
But I beg the question, are we actually doing a disservice to ourselves? We do only have one body. Our bodies cannot be replaced like handbags, shoes, or clothes. One body, one life.
You've heard the phrase over and over again, "Health is Wealth". It's not just a cutesy phrase you see on Instagram, on a bumper sticker or on the wall at the doctors office. It's real and it's truth. You are rich beyond measure if you have your health.
Is it time to reflect on our eating patterns? Only you can decide. It's your body, your decision.
I recently posted the following quote to Facebook and I do believe in it's truth.
Eating poorly is like buying on credit. One day you will pay for it.
My intention with this blog is not meant to shame or lecture. My intention is to bring awareness to how we eat, what we eat and how it affects our physical and mental health. It's about making informed decisions about our OWN sustenance. It's also about slowing down and incorporating some mindful eating techniques to improve our eating habits. We've always wanted the best for ourselves so why not incorporate better practices for fueling our bodies.
Remember, one body, one life. Eat to live.