The question "why do we eat?" might seem like a silly question, but is it one that you can answer? And here's a hint, the answer is because we get hungry. Instead of making you read the entire post to find out the answer I am going to tell you right now, which doesn't mean you don't have to read the rest of the post :)
The answer is, we eat for... nutrition. Seems simple enough right? Well, yes and no. See, it's not easy to get "good" food these days (and I'll tell you why I put "good" in quotes in a minute). Have you ever eaten a whole bag of chips and were still hungry? You look at the back of the bag and see how many calories you just ate and thought to yourself, "how can I still be hungry?". Well, it's because there was no nutrition in what you just ate and your brain is telling your stomach to keep eating.
Whether you are out and about and want to get a bite to eat, going out to dinner or just grocery shopping for the week, the options available (in most cases) are not optimal. First, let's think about fast food. A lot of what's available in most fast food places, and a lot of restaurants, is processed, battered, fried (in hydrogenated and/or poor quality oils such as soy, peanut, vegetable and canola) and mostly consists of carbohydrates and unhealthy fats. Also, let's not forget about what people are ordering to wash this stuff down with, soda or some other drink with tons of processed sugar in it. So far, none of this contains nutrition.
Then let's think about what's available at the grocery store. Well, unless you are buying organic food, the food you are buying has been either grown in poorly managed soil and sprayed with tons of pesticides, herbicides, fungicides and other toxic chemicals or has been raised in crowded, stressful and unsafe living conditions and fed absolute crap for "food" and then to top it off, been slaughtered in an inhumane way. Do you think it's safe to say that we can only be as healthy as the food we are eating?? And if that's true, is it safe to say that the vegetables or fruits we are eating can only be as healthy as the soil and environment they are grown in?? If all of that is true then commercially grown / farmed foods that I mentioned above isn't very nutritious, right?
Of course I can go on and talk about candy (especially with Halloween being right around the corner) and chips, etc, but instead of focusing on what we shouldn't be eating, let's look at what we should be eating and why. We've already established that the reason to eat is for nutrition, but some of you might be wondering how nutrition really plays a role in our bodies and why we need it. Instead of listing them all, I am going to tell you the one reason I feel is most important and that is to rebuild our cells. Just like the vegetable can only be healthy as the soil, etc - we can only be as healthy as our cells. Makes sense right?
Before it was thought to believe that the body was turned over (cells replaced) every 7-10 years, but recent research now shows that our bodies are turned over every year! That means that we have cells dying and being replaced every day and we are constantly being "rebuilt". But what are those new cells being made of? The food we put in our bodies. And this is why it is SO important to eat "good" food (I told you I would tell you about the "good" in quotes). Good food is something that grown in a healthy and happy environment, that was fed it's natural diet, sacrificed in a humane way and not covered with toxic chemicals. I recommend checking out farmers markets to support local growers / farms or finding a grocery store that has a good selection of organically grown, minimally processed foods.
Now, of course there are situations that are unavoidable and you need to make the best of the situation. But in most cases there is something else that you could be ordering or buying that is a better choice for you and your health, such as a non fried / breaded meats, salads, burger with no bun, steamed veggies instead of fries, etc. With that said, it's important for you to not go crazy over this stuff. Being more knowledgeable about what and why to buy these alternatives is very important and can help motivate change, which is why I wanted to share this with you and give you something to think about. Remember, just like I tell my clients, if you can do what I tell you 80% of the time, the other 20% shouldn't impact you too much.
Lastly, I want to share a quote you may have heard before, but it's fitting for today's topic...
“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” ~ Hippocrates
Stay Fit and Functional,