Eating Intentionally

I’ve noticed a change in how i think about food. It might seem subtle, but it feels pretty profound. It applies to everything, but it’s most apparent when dealing with salads.

You know how I used to eat salads? I’d put some lettuce or spinach on a plate, then cover it with dressing, bacon bits, cheese, onions, olives, croutons, hard boiled egg or whatever else sounded good. But I always a little silly about it. After all, if you put all that junk on your salad, aren’t you completely undoing the good you might have done with the salad in the first place? That’s how I thought, and since I didn’t enjoy salads without all that stuff, I mostly just didn’t eat them. Plus, if I didn’t load them down with all that stuff, I would never feel full eating salad. It was frustrating, and I’d usually end up eating the salad and then something else shortly thereafter, which completely defeated the purpose. So whenever I got on a “healthy” kick, I’d get some romaine lettuce and some kind of fat free dressing, and suffer through. It sucked. I didn’t enjoy it, and I could never keep up with it for long because my food was neither tasty nor satisfying.

Here’s how I eat salads now that I’m actually getting healthy. I put some lettuce and spinach on a plate, then cover it with bacon, hard boiled eggs, sliced almonds, onions, olives, cheese and dressing. But it’s different now. I eat salads almost every day, and I love them. What changed? I realized that I wasn’t eating salads because they’re lower in calories than a cheeseburger, I’m eating them because there are really good nutrients in those greens. There’s good stuff in those almonds, and the onions, eggs, olives cheese and even the dressing (if it’s a good dressing, anyway).

I’m not eating a salad because I want to avoid eating calories, I’m eating a salad to get the nutrients in the food. If I wanted to avoid calories I could drink water or something. If I’m hungry, it doesn’t make sense to eat something I know won’t fill me up and will have me looking for more food in 30 minutes. If I’m going to take the time to make and eat something, I want it to taste good, fill me up, and keep me that way for at least a few hours so I can get on with my life. I like eating as much as (probably more than) the next man, but life is short. I don’t have time to prepare and eat six small meals a day or spend all my non-eating time thinking about yes-eating time.

So there you go. Stop thinking about the calories in your food, and start thinking about the nutrients and the satisfaction. With a nutrient-dense meal that contains significant fat and protein, you’re probably going to eat fewer calories than you would on a low-fat, high-carb meal anyway. And you’re definitely going to be getting more of those vital nutrients that so many of us don’t get enough of. So find a dressing you like, find some stuff you want to dump on your bed of leaves, and go to town. The fats aren’t going to hurt you, and if that’s what it takes to make spinach appealing, then the extra nutrients you’ll be getting are fantastic.

Also, I wanted to share some links with you guys that I really enjoyed.

Thanks From an MD – This one just gives me chills. Maybe that makes me weird. But reading that this guy bucked all the junk he’d been taught, went out and found a better way…it inspires me. And it’s awesome, because I’d bet dollars to donuts that he will have a larger impact on the establishment than most of the rest of us cavedorks. That white coat is authoritah, and the fact that this dude found the paleo thing on his own, researched it, tried it in his own life and had great success just adds even more. Okay, enough gushing.

Metabolic Effects of Very Low Carb Diets – Very good read on a ketogenic diet, and an explanation of the biochemistry of ketosis. Much of it is over my head, but I still got the important parts, I’m sure. And it’s a very thorough, well-reasoned piece, to boot. He debunks a lot of the bad science done by others in the name of a high-carb diet.

12 Reasons You’re Not Losing Fat – Great breakdown of the things that might be holding you back, which also serves as a great recipe for what you should be doing to start losing fat. There are definitely some things on this list I’m not doing enough.

Okay, that’s it for now. Thanks for reading!

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