Eat Yourself Well: Changing Eating Habits.
Healthy food doesn’t have to be boring, dull and flavourless. On the contrary, when your palette starts to become accustomed to flavours that aren’t artificially added, they become much more fulfilling than the temporary artificial sweetener fix or crisps overloaded with salt.
Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy a packet of crisps as much as the next carb-craving human (but everything in moderation, right?)
Strange fact: Did you know that artificial strawberry flavouring has never seen a strawberry in its life? Strawberry flavouring like the type we get in confectionary is usually made from Ethyl methylphenylglycidate (Try saying that five times fast!)
When our brainwaves are measured when eating a pizza as opposed to when eating some lettuce and cucumber, we can see that they are much more excited by the overly flavoured foodstuff. Food is psychological. We want the quick fix—something that is going to make us feel good, and junk food tends to fulfil this need. Let’s say you have just had an argument with your partner, you are feeling dejected and want something to make you feel a little better almost instantaneously. You are unlikely to reach for the bag of kale, and more likely to grab the Ben and Jerry’s cookie dough or the family size bag of bright orange crisps.
Hey, I’m not judging, I still do this from time to time with all the knowledge I have from my studies in Nutritional Therapy. BUT, I don’t allow it to become a habit, and that’s really what we are talking about—breaking habits.
There is never ever ever a quick fix to breaking old habits and cultivating health (sorry folks, I wish I could say there was a magic pill for this!) Think of how long it takes for people to give up smoking, drinking, or even relationship patterns. Most of the time it doesn’t happen overnight because our brain patterns remain the same for some time before they start to change. A lot of folks go into diets with the attitude:
‘I want to eat this nice unhealthy food, but I can’t.’
Immediately, we have made that donut a forbidden fruit, and what do we as humans want more than anything? We want what we can’t have of course. Perhaps a healthier attitude or affirmation to use would be:
‘I am increasing the health in my body every day.’
Allow yourself the unhealthy food, but decide on a reasonable ratio of healthy food to unhealthy food that still allows you to increase your health. This depends on your circumstances, and can change as you increase your health. For example, if 90% of your food intake is baked goods, fried foods, fizzy drinks, confectionary, and 10% is fruit and veg. You have a pretty big scope add onto the fruit and veg pile, and reduce the unhealthy foods pile. Just cutting out fizzy drinks and replacing with water will make a big difference to your health! If you don’t want to go cold turkey, you can start small.
Changing eating habits requires creating new neural pathways in our brains. This requires some dedication as we may be trying to undo eating habits that are 30, 40, 50 years old! The amazing thing about our brains is that we have something called Neuroplasticity. This means that we are able to rewire our brains, and eventually discard the old pathways of habit. Pretty neat eh?
Dedication and Repetition is the key to change
For example, Bob chooses to dedicate himself to preparing one heathy meal per day, he repeats this for six weeks. By six weeks, this has become the new habit. It is entirely possible to change long standing eating habits, I’m not saying it’s easy—but it is possible and it starts with the willingness to change.
Today’s healthy meal (pictured):
Mixed salad leaves
Add a dollop of hummus if you like!
2020 © Gemma Malak