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Learn how to install a strategy for better food choices to manage your weight and improve your health.
(By Abby Eagle) How do you make the distinction between 'food' and 'not food'? How do you recognise something as good for health or bad for health? How do you decide what to eat?
Some people make a decision based upon what the food looks like. Others make the decision based upon taste or convenience. There is no thought about whether that food item may be good for long term health or not.
Do you want to learn how to make better food choices? Perhaps you want to lose weight? Maybe your weight is okay but you want to improve your health? Perhaps your health is okay but you want to become a super athlete? No matter, as long as you are motivated to improve your health in some way then just grab a pen and paper and focus in on what you are about to learn.
Watch the Video: Food Not Food
Take a piece of paper and across the top write the words, "What is food?" Then draw a line under that right across the page. Now draw a line down the centre of the page like so.
Now write, "Not food" at the top of the left column, and "Food" at the top of the right column. Okay are you ready?
Let's say we dig an organic potato out of the ground. Is it food or not food? For me it is food so I write it in the right column. Now we take a genetically modified potato, is it food or not food? For me GM is not food so I write it in the left column. What we have done is take a simple potato straight out of the ground and added one distinction. Some people do not consider whether a food item is GM or not. I am not here to tell you that GM is bad just that it is a distinction to consider.
Now we take the potato and mash it up with some butter, milk and salt to make mashed potatoes. Is it food or not food? Some people will just say that it is food but let's explore some of the additional ingredients.
The butter, is it from pasture fed cows? That is an important distinction for me. Is the butter organic? In some parts of the world where cows are raised in factory sheds this can be an important distinction. In addition are you allergic to dairy? If you are then it will be 'not food', otherwise there are more points to consider.
Milk? Once again what type of milk is it? Is it cow, goat, sheep milk? Is the milk fresh or is it UHT, ultra heat treated? Is it fresh or is it powdered milk? Is the milk raw or is it pasteurised? These are all important distinctions. The salt?
What type of salt is it? Is it the chemical sodium chloride that most people refer to when they think of salt or is it real salt in its complete form from the ocean? Is it Celtic Sea Salt? Is it Himalayan Rock Salt? What type of salt is it? Does the salt have any additives? Is the salt contaminated with heavy metals or radiation?
So is the mashed potatoes food or not food? Make that decision and write it on your list. For me I am assuming that we are talking about organic potatoes, butter and milk from pasture fed cows, and Celtic Sea salt. So for me this is food.
Now we take the potatoes and fry them up in oil. Is it food or not food? Before you answer too quickly we have to ask ourselves, what type of oil, what type of fat? Is it saflower oil, canola oil, cotton seed oil? For me these oils are way too high in omega 6. This is definitely not food for me. In my opinion none of the seed oils is a healthy oil.
But if the potatoes are fried up in good old fashioned fats like lard, beef fat, chicken fat, duck fat, coconut oil, palm kernel oil. Good old fashioned fats that nourished traditional groups for generations, then the chips would most definitely be food. But don't believe me. You are invited to do your own research and learn what makes a fat a good heart healthy fat. For the purposes of this exercise I am assumming the chips are fried in beef fat, so they go on my food list.
Now we take the potatoes and turn them into potato crisps. The English call them crisps but I think the American's call them potato chips. But we all recognise them by the bright colorful silvery bags. So are potato crisps food or not food? Once again it is going to come down to the list of ingredients. What fat was used to fry them? What spices, flavourings and chemicals have been added? What additives are not listed on the packet? For me potato crisps are not food. Now look at your list. Mine looks like this.
Making an informed decision on what to eat is now a matter of a number of binary choices, that is 'yes no' decisions. As you consider the ingredients in a food item, you just ask yourself, "Is this food or not food?" And as you weigh up the relative importance of each ingredient you arrive at a decision of whether to eat the food item or not. But there has to be a compelling reason why you do this. And that reason for me is that food is fuel for the body.
I don't care too much what food tastes like, looks like or what it is as long as it nourishes my body. If the food looks good, smells good and tastes good that is a bonus but for me food is like high octane petrol for a racing car. And you know what happens if you put sugar in a car's petrol tank? It seizes the motor. So why would you want to put junk food in your stomach? If you want to live a long health life; if you want to bring up strong healthy children; if you want to have a great sex life; if you want to be an Olympic athlete; if you want to be free from illness; if you want to succeed at the highest level in life, relationships, career or sport then you need to give your body the best food that you can possibly afford.
If you are still with me then the next step is to take the concept that you have in mind and muscle it into the body such that it becomes second nature to you. How do we do this?
Hold out both hands in front of you, palms facing up. Now look at your food list. For me the 'not food' items are on the left and the 'food' items are on the right. So now my left hand represents the 'not food' item and the right hand represents the 'food' item. You know when you weigh up a decision, how you might move the hands backwards and forwards or up and down? This is the process of taking the thoughts in mind and feeling it out, of weighing it up.
So now what you do is look at the list of food items and ask yourself the same questions as before but now you are going to feel that decision in your body.
We dig a potato out of the ground. Is it food or not food? Move your hands back and forth. Feel it out. Weigh up that decision. Is it food or not food? Feel that decision in your body.
We take the potato and turn it into mashed potatoes. Is it food or not food? Feel that answer in your whole body.
The potato crisps. Are they food or not food?
That is it. Now that you have the process muscled in when are you going to use it? When is going to be the first opportunity for you to make an informed food decision? When is your next meal, your next snack? As you think about your next meal see yourself running this procedure, hear yourself asking the question, "Is this food or not food?" Feel yourself lifting up both of your hands and weighing up that decision. If the answer in your mind is "food" then go ahead and eat it but if the answer is "not food" then say out loud, "This is not food! That is not going in my body." And then shift your mind to thoughts that will help you to achieve your most cherished desired outcomes. __ © Author Abby Eagle
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