Does Food Seduce You?
Plump fluffy buns. A hot all beef patty smothered in melted cheese. Secret sauce snoozes through the crunchy lettuce. The tomato, onion, pickle with a dash of ketchup all whisper, “eat me” in unison. That first bite becomes an adrenaline shot to the tastebuds.
At some point or another, we all hear the seductive moan of a sinful food. How often we give in to these cravings can guide our health journey. Here are three tips to help achieve a balanced relationship with these cravings.
1. Be aware of your mood.
Comfort food has its name for a reason. Usually comfort food is the high fat, high refined sugar, processed foods that have the addictive attraction. These foods practically beg to get eaten when we experience emotional stress. On impact with your tongue, a reward response kicks in and for a moment everything feels better.
Once in a while comfort food is a pleasant escape. If your favorite ice cream becomes a daily therapy session, it would be wise to take action in a different direction. When you reach for food, take a moment to experience how you feel. Think about what is emotionally weighing on you in the moment. We might not be able to control our emotions, but we do control our actions. Pause and ask yourself, “what kind of fuel is this food giving my body? Will it do damage or build it up?”
2. Take inventory of your food intake.
Results never come from that one time we stuff ourself silly or that one week we worked out like an animal. Daily food choice, exercise, and mental wellness habits define our over all health. Habits are often automatic. It’s important to use tools to help identify what choices we make and noting why we might be making them.
Journaling can be an effective tool to monitor food intake. There are a multitude of apps available to help, good old pen and paper works great too, but that alone won’t determine your success for improvement. You have to seek healthier food options. When it comes to food choices, it’s important to become the constant learner. Read the labels on the food you currently eat. Can you pronounce all of them or barely read them? Look up how it’s prepared in the factory or on the farm. How many steps removed is the food from it’s original source?
3. Eat for nutrition AND flavor.
The less steps it takes from the plant or animal it came from greatly improves overall healthy living. Healthy has a stigma associated with less flavor or outright gross. For many people the thought of lean green foods don’t stand a chance against a juicy burger. Take time to understand what nutrients are in your food and how they benefit your body. The more you learn about whole foods packed with quality fuel, the more flavorful you can make or order your meals.
The trick is to take whole foods and combine them in ways that make the tastebuds explode with joy. Yes, it can be done. The number of free online recipes made from whole foods are too many to count. Be adventurous in what you try. Introduce yourself to foods you’ve never considered before. Is cooking not your thing? Too busy? Most communities have a local grocery store with healthy prepared food options. You just have to look and be creative.
Our relationship with food is an intimate one. Like any relationship it takes effort and focus to maintain a healthy balance. We become what we think about the most. Pay tribute to your body by paying attention to the food choices that fuel it. A better relationship with food can lead to a better health and wellness journey throughout a lifetime.