I don’t know about you, but I love food. There aren’t very many food items that I won’t eat. Over the course of my life, I’ve been skinny and I’ve been fat (it’s an ugly word, but it fits so I’m using it). I’m happy to say that, right now, I’m at a weight that is healthy for me. Here are the three simple rules I used to get there.
1. Eat Mindfully
Three times each day we have the opportunity to truly practice who we are and what we believe. All of us should ask ourselves a few questions about what we’re eating. Are whole foods healthier for me than processed foods? Am I bothered by what the overuse of pesticides and fertilizers is doing to our planet? Am I concerned with GMOs? Do I want to contribute to my local economy? You could probably think of many more profound questions to ponder… and I invite you to suggest them in the comment section.
2. Eat Just Enough
My beloved father passed away four years ago. When eating out, his favorite places to go were to “all you can eat” buffets. He was obese and suffered with Type 2 Diabetes. (I inherited my love of food from my dad.) I have come to realize that I am often compelled to eat for reasons other than hunger. I try really hard not to do that, although I have to admit that I fail every once in a while.
As I get older, I find that I am eating less. My metabolism has slowed down, so I don’t need as many calories. I feel better when I eat smaller meals; I suffer fewer bouts of heartburn and bloating. I’m not telling you to go hungry. I’m only suggesting that you eat just enough to feel satisfied.
3. Eat Mostly Plants
It’s a fact: eating meat contributes to heart disease, cancer, and a shortened life span. And I would be remiss if I didn’t point out that animals used for food are treated with abject cruelty. Many years ago in the time of the hunter/gatherer, there was a deep sense of gratitude, even reverence, offered to any animal that gave its life to the hunter; the sacrifice of the animal was recognized and appreciated. We’ve completely lost sight of that concept. Today, we do the slaughtering in hiding, and the practice is horrendous. A tiny bit of research will show you it’s true. Everyone who eats meat should take the time to really think about how that steak, that bacon, that fried chicken came to be on their plate.
Am I telling you to become vegetarian? Absolutely not. I eat meat. I just don’t eat it very often. And when I do, I do it mindfully.
Did you know that a plant-based diet can reverse heart disease? It’s true! Other great reasons to eat mostly plants:
· Most veggies have only 10 to 50 calories per cup, while 1 cup of cooked ground beef contains 340 calories with 44% saturated fat.
· Eating plants is better for the environment. It takes 15 pounds of grain to raise 1 pound of beef, and 5 pounds of grain to raise 1 pound of chicken. Animal products are the highest producers of greenhouse gases. I was astounded to read that it takes 460 gallons of water to produce one quarter-pound hamburger. Wow!
· It’s cheaper. The average “fast food” meal for a family of 4 costs an average of $24. Well, you can cook a whole pot of lentil soup and serve a fresh salad with a loaf of crusty, fresh-baked bread and the meal will cost right around $10 for that same family of 4.
I guess what I’m trying to do is get you to think before you eat. I am still a firm believer in the old adage “all things in moderation.” I still have a sweet tooth, and I work hard to get in my 10,000 steps per day, but if we practice more conscious living, all of us will be the better for it.
How do you feel about my 3 simple rules for how to eat? Are there any rules you would add?