Isn’t it true, how growing up as a kid, we were tempted by food hoardings and media advertisements that promoted food to be Yummy, Delicious, and Tasty; deliberately using slogans that are perfect to trigger happiness over a desire to go for it. Good food meant all about sumptuous, lip-smacking, aromatic, and texture. The phrase “Healthy Eating” faintly echoed in our minds.
Small to giant companies, this has been a strategy for all!
“Utterly Butterly Delicious – Amul, “Kwality Wall’s – Pleasure Up!”, “Taste Mein Best – Mummy aur Everest”, “Cadbury Dairymilk Silk – How far will you go for Love?”, “McDonald’s – I’m Lovin’ it” and many more.
The mind has learned these slogans so well that it’s no longer easy to break that temptation in real life.
This is an unfortunate story of how unhealthy eating habits became our tradition – a way of spreading love in family, friends, and society – a tradition that needs strong awareness to be demoted down.
Let’s do a checklist!
Have you ever seen a birthday, unexcitedly celebrated without a Cake?
Enjoying festivals without unboxing loads of sugar and trans-fat-filled Sweets?
Been out for a hangout without relishing high-calorie Ice-Creams?
Or visited someone, avoiding a cup of Chai or Coffee over the conversation?
Well, that’s the typical food culture thriving everywhere — “Running behind taste than after nutrition”.
But, Wait! Think for a while!
Running on this track, who suffers eventually?
The answer is, not “some unfortunate ones”. It’s everyone in one way or the other.
There’s no wild escape from the impact of your own bad choices of living.
Why I’m saying this is because I truly believe in Statistics more than the word of mouth.
According to a study, India just stands shoulder apart from China in the first place, for deaths caused due to poor diet. Despite increasing income, such statistics sound horrifying.
Not that the people can’t afford healthy food; it’s the bad food culture, lack of awareness, the rise of capitalism, and people’s ignorance that stand as evils down the lane.
So, consider this choice! It’s either now or never, to commit your well-being.
Don’t pay for that “Poison on your Plate”, rather gift yourself with knowledge about Healthy Eating, that’ll draw a huge return investment. A healthy, long life will give fulfillment — long-term happiness over petty small pleasures. It makes a strong reason for others to envy the quality of your life and not the sumptuous palate or restaurant that you tag on social media.
Healthy eating starts with healthy food choices. Nurturing others begins with nurturing ourselves first — Self Love. You don’t need to be an expert nutritionist for making healthy choices, a common man with awareness can create that shift.
Get familiar with Healthy Eating facts
You might have heard it countless times “Food is for stomach filling”, “We earn for our stomach”.
Well No! These notions are misleading.
Food is not for filling up the stomach. Our body is not a sack!
Food is a vital resource that runs the body, replenishes it in terms of repair, safeguard’s it from potential harm, and creates harmony in the body.
Also, No! we don’t earn for our stomach; we earn for a living – a better living – a happy and healthy one.
Remember: Food is for longevity. Food is for vitality.
Look at food as Carbohydrates, Fats, Proteins, and Vitamins.
Carbohydrates — the quality matters
are the main sources of energy, providing 45 – 60 % of your total daily calories for the body’s regular functionality i.e. energy for the brain cells and other tissues.
What you need to understand is the type of carbohydrate intake is more important than the amount consumed, because some sources are healthier than others.
Power-up your day with healthy, unrefined, complex carbohydrates such as whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds; rather than unhealthy, refined, processed, simple carbohydrates such as baked eatables made of refined flour, high-sugar foods, polished grains (white rice and more), highly processed food (snacks, ready-to-eat and instant-cook meals).
Protein — the growth formula
A popular word circumnavigating a lot around the fitness circle, and recommended by experts for muscle tone and repair. But, there’s more to protein than you might know.
You heard it right, water sums up to 70 % of the body. Excluding water and fat, the rest of our body is made of protein. It is the building block for our muscles, organs, bones, skin, hair, and nails.
Protein is the body’s essential macronutrient that does not get stored, unlike carbs and fat which are the real offenders of obesity; but it contributes to the daily energy level like the other two, yet also takes care of the mood and cognitive functions (helping to learn and focus).
Sources of protein are many, like the plethora of cheese and other dairy products, processed meat, etc in the stores; but are all sources of protein healthy?
Many protein foods consist of trans fat (an unnatural-dangerous fat) which often gets ignored by buyers, even though the label has it mentioned. Alternatively, there are a variety of plant-based sources of protein that when added to our diet can ensure all the benefits.
Fat — Not all fat makes you fat
Fat gets a bad reputation even though it’s a macronutrient important for a balanced diet. Understanding that not all fats are the same, and some are healthier than others, is the key to achieve health goals.
Some fats create havoc in our life – increasing cholesterol, weight gain, and a myriad of other problems; on the contrary, good fats such as unsaturated fats do the opposite.
One such healthy fat called omega-3, takes care of mental health conditions very well.
How to develop healthy eating habits?
Not only, in reality, but this has also been a question for many, especially those struggling to shed some weight, “how to develop healthy eating habits?”.
Understand this, habits are more or less achievable, only when you’re consistent, not striving too hard to achieve them all at once. Especially healthy eating habits must be dealt with gently.
Since food enhances your mood, it isn’t easy to give up all at once on your unhealthy dietary habits. For example, dark chocolates had been my fantasy during mood swings, and giving up those for cutting down on trans fats was like heart bleeding.
Being too hard on yourself can create anxiety, which only leads to giving up on your new goals.
A better approach is to associate healthy eating habits with Self-Love. When you associate habits with a strong purpose, the results are more likely to be visible in a shorter period.
Remind yourself why you took up the habit, every time when there’s an evil urge towards savoring tasty food.
And while you resist that urge, rejoice in every action been taken for not choosing a toxic diet otherwise.
Plan small, taking manageable steps -like adding a nutrient-dense salad once a day.
As your small goals become a habit, continue adding more healthy choices one by one.
Guidelines to achieve healthy eating habits
- Read the labels: shopping consciously
A healthy eating habit begins with a smarter purchase, looking at where you invest and how you invest your money.
Buying food blindly means you do not care about what goes in your body, so check labels on every food been packaged. Don’t go by all the claims made by manufacturers as your food guide. Plenty of claims turn out to be faulty for marketing purposes.
- Enjoying a wide variety: healthy shopping
Locally grown staple crops, legumes, fruits, vegetables, and herbs have a lot to offer — they are nutrients dense.
Enjoying a wide variety will supply the necessary vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants, your body needs to be healthy.
- Self-cooking is healthy
Home food is far better than paying bills at outside eateries in exchange for unhealthy food.
Preparing your own meal will help you take charge of your dietary intake.
This way you’ll eat fewer calories; avoid chemical pesticides, preservatives, and others; go sugar-free; eliminate trans-fats which are a life savior to processed food.
- Eating consciously
- Portion control: watch your meal size
- Maintain food timing
- Not skipping meals
- Take your time: embrace the change
- Build awareness: stay motivated
Understanding your Relationship with Food
You might not even be aware of how your relationship with food is? That’s simply because not many people pay attention to it. The food you swallow and the way you feel about it, impact your life. If you do not understand how that food works or behaves in your body, it means you have a vague relationship with food. As with any relationship, a vague relationship has a bleak future, without long-term fulfillment.
You might as well have noticed, how eating something without knowledge made you feel uncomfortable or ultimately ruined your day.
For example, eating a heavy piece of cake alone and felt like puking after that?
Or eating an inappropriate amount of chickpea that caused you bloating with gastric cramps after that?
Earlier, I often developed Ulcers eating chilly-based sauces most commonly used in East-Asian curries and also inculcated a poor sleeping pattern due to coffee consumptions; without knowing what these foods do to my body and how much of what I should be eating.
On the contrary, if you spend time cooking food that you understand well and later eat consciously, your body will respond profoundly to it. Relationships build with understanding, so learn much about food and your body’s response towards it. This will result in a happier, healthier version of you.
Do you have a healthy relationship with food or an ugly one?
Your relationship with food turns ugly when you rely on food as a coping mechanism to deal with busy, stressful life. This pretty much explains why unhealthy eating is unbearably related to today’s society. Not only is this creating a hole in your heart (a metaphor referring to multiple heart diseases), but also in your pockets.