Food is Fuel

Wow – that’s a hard concept to wrap my head around.  I cannot remember a time in my life where I considered food to be fuel, and maybe that’s the root of the struggle I have with healthy-eating.  When I was younger, there was a commercial from a grocery store called “Schwegmann’s” that ended with a jingle saying “Everywhere else they eat to live, but in New Orleans, we live to eat!”  Those words are truth in my life and much of society.  Perhaps this idea is what holds us back from healthy-living.

When I start to consider food, it doesn’t take long before my thoughts become emotional.  A simple question, such as, “What would you like for lunch?” sends me down the wrong path.  I don’t think I’ve ever remotely considered that the answer to this question should be, “something that fuels my body and prepares me to face the afternoon.”

No, instead I think…. It’s Taco Tuesday; I’ve been craving Chinese; It’s $0.25 wing day; I’ve had a bad day; Let’s go celebrate a job well done; Let’s go on a lunch date; etc. etc.  My thoughts about food have absolutely nothing to do with health, but rather I consider taste, socialization, saving money, stress, convenience, and who knows what else.

Here is a perfect example from last night.  We had an early dinner because my son had a baseball game at night.  Since it was going to be late, my husband took him to the game, and I stayed home with my step-son.  Wanting to be somewhat relational and also craving ice-cream, I asked my step-son if he wanted to go get some froyo.  Duh… So, we go.  Now, mind you, I know dairy and I don’t get along these days, and I even tell my step-son I probably won’t feel great afterwards… but I go anyway!  Of course, it doesn’t go well.  About thirty minutes after eating, my stomach is revolting and my face is bright red (no idea what this is from, but it makes sense).  I knew better, but I let the emotional reasons for wanting to go override good health.

I spent the rest of the evening (before falling asleep due to my stomach ache and taking benedryl) reading about the physiology of eating.  As expected, I didn’t learn anything new – that’s what’s frustrating.  I know all of this stuff and yet, I still continue to make bad decisions.

Hippocrates said “Let food be thy medicine, and medicine be thy food.”  This should be easy to embrace, as everything we put in our bodies has the ability to hurt us or help us.  I just don’t know why I (perhaps we) chose to poison our bodies rather than nurture them?  The best I can come up with is that we (well, I, for sure in this case) have believed society’s lies regarding the purpose of food.  I guess the solution is to reprogram my brain and somehow change my outlook that food is fuel, rather than focus on the emotional, social, taste, and financial reasons to eat.  Easier said than done….

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