It's not what you eat, it's how you eat.
It’s not what you eat, it’s also how you eat.
We’re told we need to eat more… and … and… avoid… and … to stay healthy. The idea now is that we need to eat a more Blue Zone diet, or a Mediterranean diet. So, most people are picking up salads, grilled meats, and so on.
The problem is, we are basically consuming our macros and not our micros the way most of us Americans shop and eat. Let me explain. Here most people shop bulk (think Costco/Sams/ Walmart) for their groceries a few times a month or even once a month. We buy our meats pre-cooked, or frozen. Produce pre-washed, cut, bagged, etc. You see when you get your food days, weeks or even months later the nutrients of the food- the micros (vitamins and minerals) have already begun to diminish. Some foods like winter squash can last- but once it is cut and bagged the flesh being exposed is already in the decomposition state. Things like broccoli lose up to 80% of their nutrients 24 hours after being picked. We have altered the taste of produce from bitter and astringent (higher in polyphenols, glucosinolates) to more mild and palatable flavors. We have increased the size and sugar content of foods. We have injected and altered the natural state of foods to bring in higher yields- again this is for another topic.
The Blue Zones and Mediterranean diets focus on eating fresh, local, seasonal ingredients. Most of these people eat from their gardens or a local farmer’s food. They eat meat from local butchers where meat is fresh and not frozen and transported across the globe. The time from when a plant or animal has been processed to when it enters the human body is not a long time for these areas. You then take life-style into factor that they are eating as a community, at a table, taking time to prepare these foods. All these factors matter.
Eating a salad bowl from a bag of pre-cut/washed veggies from a bulk store with some frozen and microwaved grilled chicken while at work or while driving is not the same. Our American life-style of bigger, cheaper, more, faster, cheaper, and easy is what is killing us. We have to admit this, we have to take ownership that we prioritize our life-styles and entertainment over our health. We focus on the appearance of things.
The slow food movement that began in Italy in 1989 was a result of Italians realizing they were losing their heritage and connection to tradition. It was a realization that the fast life was taking away from their culture and how these choices impact the world.
If you look at foods from all over the world, traditional foods, these take time. These take many ingredients, often fresh and local, and they take work and hours to create. We can go into a whole sidebar discussion of women and how it marginalized us from the work force and all of it is true, but let’s not go into that right now. This is history, we don’t need to go back there, we need to recognize and decide what actions we are going to take for our future, the future of our children, the future of global health as people and as a planet. These are far more serious and humbling topics that we must have.
The tik-tok generation has created more content on food being made in simple steps at home. This has in general had a positive effect on people wanting to cook more at home. Some just for content and viewership, but for a lot of people it has opened the door to new foods and flavors. But let’s now take that and create awareness that food has more to do with just eating something simple and delicious; that food is responsible for our long-term health. Food is the key to healing our planet, and healing our body. Food is the answer.
Circling back to my point of ‘it’s not what you eat, it’s how you eat,’ we can see that yes what you eat matters; but how this food is grown, how this food is cooked, how this food is consumed, how and where we get this food from, and how we think about food matters. Our consciousness must shift from the individual to a more collective state. If we take into account each other, the planet, all life, we can create a more holistic mindset for our actions. This alone will help us make choices for our own personal health. The ‘what’ is all about us- me, mine, ego; the ‘how’ is us- the planet, the community, the whole.
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