WE EAT WHEN WE CELEBRATE; WE EAT WHEN WE GATHER; WE EAT WHEN WE WORK; WE EAT AT SPORTING EVENTS; WE EAT AT MOVIES; WE EAT DURING INTERMISSION OF PLAYS AND CONCERTS; WE EAT WHEN WE PLAY CARDS; WE EAT WHEN WE WATCH TV; WE EAT AT MANY OF OUR MEETINGS, AND ON AND ON.
Today’s writing is a continuation from last week’s topic of Balance and Food Obsession, thanks to another blog follower’s feedback.
... I've been reading about, and struggling with, trying to not become obsessed with food as a consequence of trying to change habits and clean up our menu. For instance, I've learned that I can't track calories or the like because it consumes my attention. I truly couldn't focus on anything. It's an interesting study in balance between not thinking about food choices at all and thinking about nothing else.
Think about how we are inundated with advertisements about cookies, candy, sweetened drinks, pizza and every other kind of “fun food” that is generally made. These foods are appealing in taste, but they become even more appealing to us, with a marketer’s magic wand. The ads imply we will be hip, more ‘in’, more popular, and even more attractive, when we are consuming the particular products being promoted.
Who doesn’t want to be hip and attractive? So, we believe the hype and feel good while we are consuming the ‘fun foods and drinks’. The ‘fun foods’ are a staple at most of our events and activities - think M&M’s, soda, chips and dip, nacho’s, pizza. We often have the token veggie tray with dip - but at the end of the evening, veggies often still remain.
Usually, it doesn’t take long for remorse to settle in. Food comas, hangovers, bloated and lazy feelings pretty much always follow the ‘fun food’ binges.
“…balance between not thinking about food choices at all and thinking about nothing else…”
POSSIBLE LIFESTYLE CHANGES:
To help with replacing food as the main source of your pleasure and focus in your day -
Is there some activity, interest or project you like that does not involve eating?
Want more physical activity?
Who’s got the time?
One possible life adjustment - LESS TV? - besides freeing up some time, it can also help curb some of the temptations from the many food commercials we all are exposed to on television. Just a thought -
As I like to say, Take a BestYOU Break:)
WHY HAS OBESITY CLIMBED AND OUR STRUGGLES WITH HEALTH AND FOOD INCREASED, ESPECIALLY IN AMERICA?
Affluence in America has provided access to so much, and somehow we didn’t notice as the constant eating crept up on us and consumed our lives.
Along with our increased incomes, we changed our entire way of looking at food preparation and food consumption. My parents, who experienced the depression and actually knew what real hunger was like, quickly and happily accepted plentiful food portions and taught us to enjoy and cherish food.
Many times at our kitchen table, my brothers and I were scolded if we did not eat every bite of food on our plates.
“There are starving children in Biafra,” my mom would say.
We had no idea where Biafra was and pretty much, we wished we could send them our food so we didn’t have to eat what we didn’t like or as much as my mother thought we should eat:)
My parents, of course, were providing the best they could for their children, and they wanted to teach us appreciation of food and not wasting.
As my parents and millions of Americans were able to raise their standard of living, the whole prepared food market was embraced. Spending less time cooking in the kitchen, as our grandparents did, was seen as more modern and a sign of women having other interests besides cooking.
Increased consumption of meats, plus large portions were ‘signs of success and affluence’. Parents were admired for providing food abundantly for their families.
We seemed to forget that food producers, processors and yes, farmers; all are in business to sell foods. While they are providing a life sustaining service, they do sell products, just the same as a car salesman sells cars. They seek to make profits and also employ many people. They aren’t the villains. There are no villains from my perspective.
In reflection, our society over the past 50 years trusted producers and focused on the instant gratifications of our affluence and our tasty foods.
As a society, we put pressures on the food industry to produce more, tastier, faster, cheaper and with greater consistency. Our demands often pushed producers toward the paths they took.
We preferred bright, colorful and ‘fresh looking’ meats and produce. Little did I know or did we think about, what enhancements were needed for producers to provide such consistently plentiful and attractive looking food.
Marketers also cleverly increased portions - Biggie Sizing everything - and as Americans stomachs and appetites grew, repeat customers and ‘quantity consumers’ were the result.
The cost-benefit analysis of losing money on the huge portions showed the loss was more than offset by the repeat customers that increasingly ate and ordered more food. Adding sugars and flavorings that caused our appetites to ignite helped to keep customers coming back for more.
More recently, the food industry “answered” the cry of the American public’s relatively newfound interest in health and ingredients, by providing smaller portion size, and actually increasing their profits. The additives and sweeteners are still there, so while some people now eat smaller portions - many now order two or three of the smaller size portions to satisfy their hunger cravings!
Add to this, the hip, popular aura surrounding gatherings with plentiful and ‘fun foods’, and our consumption has gone way up.
Raising my own kids, I made sure to NOT insist on cleaning their plates, but packaged foods, fast foods, convenience foods were everywhere in our home. The marketers told us the foods were tasty and healthy, and we believed them. Few ingredients were listed on labels, as it wasn’t required.
Besides, Who had time to worry about what was in our foods?
We were busy people and getting busier each and every year.
I recall well the introduction of Market Day products - all processed foods, all pre-packaged and all very tasty PLUS for every product sold, a portion of the cost went to support our local schools and sometimes churches. Selling foods was a fund raiser that I bought into Big Time. I even volunteered to help with the distribution of the foods at the school.
I would never give anything unhealthy to my family, right? And I was a modern day woman who was very busy.
I thought I was right up there with Martha Stewart in the homemaking and food preparation category. I could whip up a great tasting meal with the help of Market Day in no time.
I mentioned high fructose corn syrup in last weeks blog and found this statement from an expert in nutrition.
“…....These two ingredients (high fructose corn syrup and hydrogenated soybean oil), either alone or in combination, can be found in virtually all processed foods, and one can make a compelling argument that the reliance on these two foods is a primary contributing factor for most of the degenerative diseases attacking Americans today."
Corn and Soybeans are two of America’s largest crops and Food Industry staples. They are also two of the most genetically modified food crops.
I and my family have been eating these ingredients our entire lives and not thinking twice about it, until recently.
HERE’S A RECAP -
Stop calorie counting
Stop weighing yourself
Stop saving “in case I get fat clothes”
For me, this food and balance issue is crucial.
What has all that processed food done to my body over time? It's something, I'm still trying to figure out?
Please let me know if you have comments or an issue you'd like me to write about. I am grateful to the follower who sent in the idea for this and last week's posts.
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