Actually, don’t eat me. I was being anthropomorphic, so to speak. It’s the carrot in your fridge talking, and it wants to get in your belly now. It’s suicidal and nutritious. So what are you waiting for? A doughnut to make a similar proposition?
Since we’ve already discussed what not to eat, you know the doughnut is an empty path to sadness and higher insulin levels. The carrot, in all its orange glory, is just what your body would like. There’s sugar, there’s fiber, there’s beta karotene. Delicious.
Now that I’ve gotten carried away selling you carrots, let’s make this easy. Eat the good stuff. Lots of colorful veggies and fruits, whole grains, meat with no hormones or antibiotics raised on a natural diet in a happy field of love, and other pure, wholesome, delicious goodness that is free of pesticides, preservatives and Red #40.
I can already hear you whining, “But I don’t like whole grains, and good meat is expensive, and I don’t eat tomatoes, or peppers, or anything that has flavor or any nutritional value. And I don’t have time to cook, because The Bachelor is on and it needs my full attention.” Tough. Your body wants nutrients, in fact, it needs them. You will not find those in a fast food burger. There might be some in a frozen meal, but not so much.
What I’m telling you is to eat and prepare your food fresh. Preferably organic, preferably healthy and natural, and expand your taste buds to appreciate all that your status as an omnivore allows. Studies show that it takes two weeks of eating something consistently, probably a bit everyday, and then all of a sudden you like it. Also, there are ways to prepare things that make them better. I don’t mean covering them in Velveeta, because that doesn’t qualify as an actual food. It’s en edible, yellow substance that tastes like cheese, but I wouldn’t actually call it cheese.
So where to start? The produce section at your market. Pick up 6 different colors – green, red, yellow, purple, orange and white, for instance – and make a salad. Each of those colors represents different nutrients, something your body will appreciate. Those should be half your plate. The other half is split between a carb and a protein. So head to the meat section and grab some goodness, or opt for beans or lentils. Then throw in potatoes, brown rice, quinoa, bulgur or millet. The last three are powerhouses when it comes to nutrients, and they’re easier to digest. You can also make a cream-of-wheat style porridge out of quinoa.
Then presto! You have a meal. I didn’t come up with this by myself, this is an actual eating philosophy that people advocate for cancer prevention, weight loss, and overall health. By the way, white and red wine count as “white” and “red” colors respectively, so take that for what it’s worth.
There are links to two awesome websites on the right hand side of this site that take healthy to all sorts of delicious and simple levels. But first, I recommend visiting 101cookbooks to learn about the specific kinds of grains, sweeteners, oils, etc that make up a natural pantry.
I will add that the word “natural” scares some people off as a bastion of hippy self-righteousness. All it means is that it’s devoid of preservatives and as close as it can be to how it occurs in nature. You can sub a lot of words for “natural”, such as “whole”, but I just prefer to call it food. The rest of it, and I will borrow this from Michael Pollan, are edible food-like substances.
Now that you know what is bad, and good, there are is a lot of eating to do. It might be more expensive (not compared to eating out, though), and more time consuming to eat well, but in the end, it’s a very rewarding experience to know that not only can you feed yourself, but you can also provide your body with what it craves. Even though it’s not easy making the change, with practice, everything becomes habit. It’s just a matter of interest.
Next week: Exercise and how it has nothing to do with losing weight.