When was the last time you asked yourself what you want to eat? Was it this morning? Last night? Or was it in the far distance past?
You might have replaced this question with “What should I eat?” or “What is everyone else eating?”, having learned to look outside of yourself for an answer that really lies within you. Do you look to the latest pyramid or plate, or do you compare with those around you to see what foods and how much of them it’s “ok” to eat?
Eating is complicated. Gone are the days of cooking what you pulled from the ground that morning with some freshly baked bread, and whatever else you had on hand. Now we have the luxury of convenience. We can eat whenever and wherever we want. We can eat from when we rise to when we sleep (and don’t forget midnight snacks!). We can eat standing up, on the phone, in the car, or while watching TV. It’s all so convenient…
With this convenience, however, comes an added burden. We have to decipher labels, keep up on the latest research, and work overtime to ensure that we’re purchasing healthy food (when we actually need to be buying more food that doesn’t have a label on it). More than that, we are responsible for getting back to the garden and figuring out what food is. Many kids now think that food is specific brands of cereal or meals from a box or can. We don’t even know what the individual ingredients look like in their original form.
Food and eating have been put in their place. They are no longer a blessing that is celebrated; a time of family gathering; an appreciated fuel for the day’s activities. Food is feared; meals are skipped; and food that provides energy is shunned in favor of chemicals, powders, and dyes.
So, the decision of what to eat isn’t so simple. The signal between our mind and our body is garbled. We’re debating over whether to have a salad, but you feel like something a little more substantial, but you really need to lose weight, but you heard that salads can have as many calories as burgers, but but but.
My advice? Step out of the noise of your mind, of the confusing and misleading messages, and of the sterile environment surrounding food. Now ask yourself, “What do you want to eat?” Listen. Your body may be starving or it could still be full from breakfast. Were you aware of that? You might feel like French fries. Are you fighting that? Don’t let eating get so complicated or so convenient that you lose touch with your needs and wants. If you listen carefully, you’ll know exactly what to eat.