You walk into the grocery store looking for a tomato but instead of going to the smallest part of the store, the fresh produce section, you go to isle 10. There you find 20 different varieties of tomatoes in a can...paste, diced, stewed. How about some corn...you can get that in cans as well or chips or tortillas but don’t forget about all the cereal forms of corn. You get my point.
We are talking about real food that has been turned into some form of another “food” and can sit on a shelf for months if not years. Some of these shelf foods aren’t even attempting to be a real food. They have been manufactured in a factory after being formulated by a team of scientists all with the goal of getting you to eat more and make more money for the company.
Think of the foods you can’t get enough of? What I mean is you start eating them and it’s hard to stop, like chips! Have you heard the slogan, “once you pop you can’t stop?” Those are Pringles. They are crunchy, salty, and fatty. The trifecta of addictive foods that big food companies are trying to perfect.
If they can override your satiety mechanism a.k.a. your body’s natural response to being full, then you will eat more, buy more and ultimately generate more money for the company. Let’s face it, General Mills, Coca-Cola, or any big company is not trying to make you healthy, they are trying to make more money at the expense of your health. That means it’s up to us to make a different decision. When we are in the grocery store let’s choose mainly whole foods, let’s focus on foods that are produced with sustainable farming like local veggies and animal products that are not only good for us but good for the environment. Support businesses like local coops and farms, take the time to go to farmer’s markets and use the convenience of services that deliver grass fed meats, local veggies and truly organic foods. It’s not easy, in fact it’s like anything that is different in your life and routine, it takes thought, planning, and multiple steps to take different actions before it becomes part of your routine to get ready for the week and invest in your future health.
I realize this is going to take all of us making different decisions to change how our food system works, but that is the beauty of it. As we get ready to vote in this year's election we feel empowered, we feel heard in the world. We have to take that same mindset and apply it to our food system. Once the cereals and chips aren’t getting purchased by the thousands, then they won’t take up an entire isle in the grocery store. Those foods will start to become the minority of foods purchased and the foods we are demanding will start to fill up the grocery store. Image if the produce, dairy, and meat sections were the biggest parts of the grocery store. What if there was only 4-5 isle in the middle of the store and 1-2 of those were household products and greeting cards. I know this sounds altruistic. Our current mindset is dictated by relentless advertising from these big companies telling us that packaged, processed foods cost less and are good for you because they are fortified with vitamins and made from organic sugars. Allowing ourselves to be brainwashed into thinking that is true will only keep us on this downward spiral of metabolic disease and a broken healthcare system. We need to change our mindset in order to facilitate change.
I’m not saying it’s going to be easy because we are a society of instant gratification and we want results now...but the challenge of a good habit is in the present. We have to give up the hyperpalatable foods and instant endorphin rush now to be healthy in the future. If we don’t change now, the cost of our bad habits that are perpetuating the processed food industry is in our future in the form of lost topsoil, cardiovascular problems, a collapsed healthcare system, diabetes, and metabolic dysfunction. Well...how do we do this? We have to bring those future benefits into the present and highlight the long term consequences of supporting processed foods companies today!
Go to a farmer’s market and meet some of the real people growing these foods, ask them how business is going and what else you can do to help. Use your family and friends as accountability buddies by committing to making a new whole food recipe each week and sitting down as a family to eat it. You could post that recipe and a picture of your family to social media and put your new routine in a public statement to get accountability from your friends. My point is don’t over complicate it, don’t try to do too many things at once. Start small and make it achievable so you can stick to it and make it a habit or a family tradition. Then and only then should you add another challenge that will move you towards your goal of eating whole foods and improving our food system.
Does this sound too challenging? Do you have doubts you can do it alone? Let the guidance of a trusted nutrition coach shape your behavior change. We have done it before and our system works. If you're interested let’s talk on a free discovery zoom call. Your future is closer than you think and what you do now will shape who you are in the future.