The Secrets to Making Better Food Choices

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Think about the last time you perused the buffet table. Were you like a crouching tiger ready to pounce the salad made with marshmallows, whipped cream, and jello the color of pink taffy? Did you wrestle with knowing that you should fill your plate with the mixed green salad with a rainbow of chopped fresh vegetables? The emotional tug-of-war with food ensued. Three trips around the buffet table later and your desire to do a face dive in the pastel jello fluff escalates. You are hungry, but deep down you realize that if you give in and settle for the fluff, your hunger will not be satisfied.

After you lap up the last of the sugary wonder, you will leave the table feeling shame, resent, and guilty.

The reality is that you can conquer your battle with poor food choices and liberate yourself from guilt and shame. The lifestyle approach to healthy eating will empower you to make wise decisions about food without feeling deprived.

My friend shared with me that her supervisor brings in a box of Dunkin Donuts Munchkins several times during the week.  At this point in my friend’s problematic relationship with sugar, her boss may as well bring in a bottle of narcotics. Her workstation is so dangerously close to the break room that her co-worker could toss the glazed pellets directly into my friend’s mouth.

The dilemma for my friend deepens when she partners coffee with donuts. She rips open three packets of sugar followed by flavored creamer. She returns to her desk to drink her sugar cocktail, all before 9:00 am. The temptation is real. Not only is my friend addicted to sugar, but she recently tipped the scale that landed her into obesity.

Unveiling the Secrets to Making Better Food Choices

Make Peace With Yourself

We all struggle with making healthier food choices. When the dessert on your plate consistently resembles Mount Kilimanjaro, but the plant-based portions resemble the foliage of your neglected houseplant, you need to evaluate why.

First, come clean with the fact that you struggle with making wise food choices. Then, you can work on a solution that offers a balanced lifestyle approach to healthy eating. 

Women turn to food when they are not hungry because they are hungry for something they can’t name: a connection to what is beyond the concerns of daily life. Something deathless, something sacred. But replacing the hunger for divine connection with Double Stuf Oreos is like giving a glass of sand to a person dying of thirst. It creates more thirst, more panic. Geneen Roth

Creator Connection

Genuine Gratitude for Food- Connect your food to the Creator because everything he created is good. When we dismiss God’s involvement with food, we eat without gratitude or purpose. If you lose sight of the deep-rooted connection between spiritual food and physical, you feed a hungry heart. Click To Tweet

We spend a lifetime picking up our fork and mindlessly eat to fill a void. Devote some time reading about industrialized food, and you will begin to see just how far we’ve removed the Maker from our food.

We are to receive food with thanksgiving and not to forget the Lord’s provision, which reminds me of   theologian Norman Wirzba words about food, “God’s love made edible.”

Few people, especially women, in the US manage to escape the convoluted web of false nutritional promises from diet gurus promising the most for the least amount of effort (except your money). We tend to overlook the obvious, which is characteristic of a culture of affluence. A lifestyle food plan that consists of minimally processed foods as close to nature (as God designed) as possible, predominantly plants, “is decisively associated with health promotion and disease prevention.”

Move toward a Deeper Connection– when you constantly crave and salivate the fleeting pleasures of a Whopper, maybe it’s time to move deeper into your relationship with God who will satisfy and nourish your need for relationship, connection, affirmation, and acceptance.

Elicit Help to Make Better Food Choices

Thankfully, we have at our disposal resources that can help transform your attitude toward food. Health coaches like Dr. Tracy Davenport offer one-on-one programs that help you establish long-term healthy eating habits with lasting results.

My No-Fuss Healthy Eating Starter Kit provides an ebook with printables that will help you learn to make consistently better food choices, view food from a stewardship perspective, and dispose of diets, eating fads, and restrictive eating.

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Learn Combat Skills

  • Label reading– the more you educate yourself about what goes into your food, the easier it becomes to choose the right foods.
  • Join a community for support – join my Facebook or Instagram community and engage with people who are on the same food journey and share similar health goals.
  • Begin a food journal – find a quiet space to record food triggers and how you handle them, scribble down a meal plan that you follow or the recipes that you discover.
  • Accountability – find a comrade who travels the same road to healthy living but maybe a few steps ahead of you. This friend can serve as a mindful accountability partner.
  • Break up with your bathroom scale – that’s right, get rid of the bathroom appliance that wreaks havoc on your identity. You can’t allow three fluorescent digital numbers to define who you are.

 

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If you establish a lifestyle approach to healthy eating, then you won’t need a scale because your body will do as it is designed to do. Dr. David Katz, a practicing physician, and researcher at Yale University’s Prevention Research Center affirms that If you focus on real food, nutrients tend to take care of themselves.”

Rebuild a New Food Life

Complete one round of the Whole30 – this is a 30-day food program (NOT A DIET) designed to reset your health by eliminating certain foods and then intentionally reintroducing them back into your daily food plan.

Purge pantry and refrigerator – Use the pantry checklist to remove any processed foods from your kitchen.

Reinvent the way you shop for food – Your food bill will most likely increase because buying fresh produce and high-quality meats, like grass-fed, are more expensive. Processed foods are cheap to manufacture, and they contain minimal nutrients. When you fill your cart with real food, remember there is a story about a farm family behind every pound of produce you buy.

Learn to cook – New York Times food journalist and best selling author, Michael Pollan claims “the best way to take control of your meals is to cook. As soon as you start cooking, you begin to learn about ingredients, to care about their quality, and to develop your sense of taste.”

Remove any cookbook from your kitchen bookshelf with the word “lite,” “low-calorie,” diet,” “weight-loss,” low-fat” and replace them with cookbooks with titles that contain phrases like real food, clean eating, and whole food.

Become a food Renegade – Challenge the food status quo!

In the sea of trendy diets, food replacement programs (shakes), and long-term restrictive eating plans, you may feel like you are drowning in choices. Simplify your life by establishing a lifestyle of real food eating. Return to the basics of eating. Discover how easy it is to grind your grain, process your food, soak your beans, make kombucha and almond milk.

You don’t have to do all of these right away. Perhaps choose one new food renegade project a month.


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Saying Hello to Your New Food Life

Win your battle with poor food choices by pursuing a real food lifestyle approach to eating. Eating foods derived from nature eliminates the food guesswork inflicted on us by media. Spend most of your time shopping the perimeter of the supermarket, and camp out in the produce section. You will shell out more for real food because it is cheaper to make chemical food.

When my friend makes the connection that food is graciously gifted to us by the Creator for her good, then taking a pass on the munchkins won’t be so difficult. She may need a little hand-holding and encouragement early on in her real food journey, but there is no shame in that.

Once she sharpens her real food combat skills, she will enter the office break room with her platter of apple slices and almond butter snubbing the donuts without feeling deprived.

Where are you with your food choices? What has helped? What has hindered?

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