Most of us have some idea about what is good to eat and what’s not. So if that’s the case HOW do we go about eating better and is it really possible.
Well, listen in and we’ll chat about this concept and cover:
- Find and access healthy food
- Identifying Healthy Food
- Skill power
- Nurturing and care
Hello it’s Jedha here and welcome back to the GFE Podcast. Here we are for episode 77 and I am so grateful that you hve taken time out of your busy schedule to listen to this podcast. Or maybe you haven’t taken time out of your busy schedule, perhaps you’ve slotted me in your ears while you’re driving, walking, cooking or cleaning. I know I do that with podcasts I listen to because I always love to be learning and listening is a great way to learn, right?
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That’s what these weekly podcasts are all about as well, sharing great info to help you feel fantastic. So today we’re digging deep to explore an interesting question: HOW do we really eat better?
Many of us know we want to eat better? Many of us try? But wanting and trying don’t necessarily mean it is going to happen. We try, we fail. We start, we stop. Or maybe we just don’t know how to get started, where to get started?
I mean, HOW on earth do we really eat better anyway? Is it even possible?
It’s an interesting question and the inspiration for this episode cam from an article I was reading called ‘How to eat well’ by David Katz.
WHAT to eat
The first part to eating better is knowing WHAT to eat. There is so much confusion about what is and isn’t good for you that many people are still left wondering exactly WHAT is good for them in the first place. There are so much fad diet nonsense and deeply ingrained dogma about food. But even given these things I think we are mostly clear on what is good and wht isn’t. Even if we don’t get it 100% right I’m sure most of us will agree that things like McDonalds fast food or twinkies are not good for us, while eating more fresh veggies and fresh food is good for us.
There is a very profitable food industry out there, there is a very profitable weight loss industry out there, and lots of that ‘stuff’ clouds our better judgement. We opt for the quick fix solution, we get blinded by shiny objects, we get sucked into some fast food fix. And as a society this doesn’t do any of us justice because it keeps this debate about what’s good and what’s not going around in circles. Let’s just agree that most of us at least have some knowledge about WHAT we should eat. We don’t have to get it perfect but if we are shoveling packaged junk food, candy and crisps into our mouths then we know that is wrong, none of us can really debate that right?
So if we know the what, we can stop chasing things and focus our energy where it counts, on the HOW.
As David Katz says in his article:
HOW requires being able to find, access, identify, afford, care, prepare, and share. There are challenges in every case, but those challenges can be overcome.
It’s true, at every point of the journey there are obstacles we face but likewise there is always a solution. So let’s talk about a few of these concepts.
Find and access healthy food
In most places we are able to find and access at least some fresh produce and if it is our truest desire to have more of it, we could even grow our own little garden. Though that is not likely to happen for most of us but even in tiny little corner stores you can still get at least a few pieces of fruit. Being able to find and access healthy food is going to depend on location but where there is a will there is a way and though your diet might not look like someone else’s who has access to loads of fresh produce I believe any effort in the right direction is still better than no effort at all.
Identifying Healthy Food
Well it’s true that not everyone can identify healthy food and one of the biggest obstacles to that is the fact that we are exposed to thousands of packaged items on supermarket shelves. As consumers we are very gullible, most of us don’t read food labels and fall for front of pack labeling tactics. To me it seems strange that people wouldn’t want to know the ingredients in something, I know that’s one thing that’s always driven my partner mad since we met. He was always saying: Do you have to read every single food label?
Well the answer from me was Yes but research shows most people don’t. And in my experience with working with people, many people just buy the things they like the taste of or perhaps the things that are on special. So our first step with getting past all this stuff is to read every food label. If you don’t know how you can learn. Buy things with less than 5 ingredients if you can, or at least items where you can identify all the ingredients. Even the practice of starting to read more food labels will start making you more aware of what you’re eating.
Then there’s a concept that the author of the article mentioned that I thought was a brilliant idea. He mentioned how public health organizations are trying to get food companies to trading up the nutritional quality of groceries. They do this be encouraging them to modify the ingredients in their food items in some way because across the board this could reduce the impact of health concerns for the whole population.
But I love this idea as a personal strategy and have started working on a list of how you can trade up your choices. For example: If you struggle to eat fresh produce and just like the packaged stuff then something you could do is trade up your choices. Even trading up increases the quality of what you’re eating and that alone could improve your health dramatically. So one thing you could do is think about what choices you are making right now and think about how you could trade up that choice to something more nutritious. Next time you’re out doing your shopping, if you happen to put something in the cart that you really think isn’t overly great, what could you swap it with that might be healthier and that you would probably still enjoy?
Next on the list of obstacles is affordability.
Now I know lots of people think healthy food is expensive and it certainly does seem that way when you compare a loaf of white bread and baked beans to a cauliflower. Depending what season a cauliflower can sometimes cost $3 but for that same price I could buy a loaf of bread and 3 cans of baked beans and for someone with kids to feed, where does that line get drawn?
This is an interesting question and it’s not an easy obstacle to overcome in some situations but you can still eat healthy on a budget. Packaged food does seem cheap but you also tend to eat more of it as well. So once you adjust to healthier food your appetite does tend to change. And like I said you can eat well on a budget. When it comes to eating healthy I’m not an elitist that thinks you have to eat organic food. Although I’d like to, I can’t afford to eat organic food myself. I have at different time points along the way but it’s been sometime since I could afford it and in fact, during 2014 we were living on a super tight budget and managed to eat well.
You can shop at regular supermarket chains and buy good produce. Or there are places like ALDI here in Australia, or Costco in the US that are even cheaper and the produce you can buy there is perfectly fine. Some vegetables are cheaper than others so buy more of those. Sure you might not get as wide a variety but you’d still be eating healthy For example, carrots, cabbage, and lettuce, are 3 items that are always cheaper than other things, so use more of those in your dishes to bulk things up. Yes learning how to budget and still eat well is another obstacle, perhaps one of the biggest ones because it can seem hard when you don’t have the skills to cook meals or meal plan and I can understand that you don’t want to waste food either, I mean you can’t afford to. I totally understand that. So what I’d suggest if you’re in this situation is just start small. Find one or 2 recipes you would like to try that aren’t overly expensive. Dig in and try them and build your confidence as you go.
Which brings us to another VERY important factor that the author mentioned and that is skill power. And what he means here is skill power for food preparation.
Yes skill power is very important, we have largely forgotten the art of simple home cooking. But cooking at home isn’t really that difficult, you just have to learn. Honestly, you can make meals that are tasty and delicious in 15 minutes flat. Depending on where you live that’s almost as much time as it is going to take you to drive down to the take out joint and grab dinner. This is what we want to show you inside the GFE Virtual Nutrition School. Honesty, we have the cooking classes, kitchen tips, recipes, and everything to show you how easy it is to prepare tasty delicious things. We have different Food Masterclasses almost every month. And we teach meal planning and budgeting as well. Skills can be learned and no you don’t have to be a chef. You just need a few basic skills and these are easier than you think to learn! Come and check out the GFE Virtual Nutrition School, I know you’ll love it and best of all it can really help you.
Nourish and Care
Next on the list is nurturing, meaning we need to care about ourselves and our family enough to nourish our bodies with healthy food. And it really is VERY important. What we eat establishing everything. Our health, how we feel every day, our energy, how we think, our ability to participate, an increased capacity to handle stress and life, a decreased risk of chronic disease, an increased ability to enjoy life when we are older.
Yes, eating well is worth it. It is worth taking care of ourselves and our family. it’s important.
So how do we really eat better?
Well we know now that HOW requires being able to find, access, identify, afford, care, prepare, nurture and share. Often these are things we have to learn. Yes they are obstacles we can overcome but often that is not going to happen overnight. Our health and nutrition journey is always a work in progress, one step at a time is what it often takes. Tackle one obstacle and then move onto the next.
Think about some of the things we’ve talked about here today and identify what area you can work on. Do you need to increase your skill power? This is something that will likely come before budgeting ability. Do you just simply need to care more? Or perhaps there are ways you can think up trading up the nutritional quality of your food choices by choosing something different.
We can eat better. Plenty of people have changed their eating habits. You can change too. The how takes time and a bit of effort too but over time it can be done so just get in there and have a go.
I hope you enjoyed today’s podcast, take care of you and I dare you to try a new recipe or 2 this week. Go on, have a go at something different.
See you later
Nutritionist & Health Coach