I’ve already blogged about the importance of sleep and exercise, so now let’s complete the triumvirate by discussing a bit about healthy eating habits. As you’ve heard and read, obesity in America has reached epidemic proportions. About 2 out of 3 Americans is overweight and about 1 out of 3 Americans is obese. Our fast-paced lifestyle has not left us much time for creating nutritious meals. We eat out a lot and fast and convenience foods are a staple of the American diet. Let’s face it – it’s a real challenge to eat healthy meals.
We’ve been genetically programmed to be attracted to sugar, fat, and salty foods. This was okay when those foods were harder to come by. Although a certain amount of these foods is important to a healthy diet, our bodies did not evolve to process the quantities of these foods that we put in them nowadays. These foods are ubiquitous and our taste buds scream out for the momentary pleasures that we were evolved to experience from them.
In addition to the quantities of sugar, fat, and salts that we receive in our diets, we are eating fewer fruits and vegetables and more processed foods. Someone told me that when deciding whether to eat a certain food an effective rule of thumb is: If your grandmother would not recognize it as food, don’t eat it. Our bodies don’t recognize Twinkies, Cheetos, tubed yogurt squishy things etc. as familiar (from our ancestry), nutritious food.
We Really Are What We Eat
Your mom probably said this to you when you were little, but I believe that there’s a lot of truth to the saying “You are what you eat.” Harking back to what I blogged about previously, our minds and bodies are connected. They are inextricably linked so that one affects the other for good or for ill. Eating healthy meals is one way of improving your cognitive and emotional functioning. It’s difficult to say what proportion of our sense of well-being is related to healthy eating habits, but one could say without reservation that having balanced, healthy eating habits could only improve our cognitive and emotional functioning.
Of course, there are a zillion diet plans out there but I’m not talking about a diet plan. A diet implies that it is temporary. Typically people get on a diet with a specific goal to lose a few pounds and then get off of the diet once the goal is achieved. I’m referring to having a lifestyle of healthy eating habits. I will talk about some straightforward tips on healthy eating in a future blog, but I highly recommend nutritious eating habits to improve our emotional and physical well-being. It is all connected.