• Francine M. Kerber, MS, RD

Good Food is Good

Food is powerful. Good food has the power to prevent diseases. I am referring to the food that grows, sprouts and blooms; fresh fruits, vegetables, herbs, nuts, seeds, beans and whole grains. There is one requirement. You must eat it.

The food does you no good rotting in your refrigerator, left at the grocery store or just plain ignored. It’s not Rocket Science! I don't really need to be shouty about it either. Most people know the basic ideas behind healthy eating:

= Not Healthy

= Healthy

WHY then, are so few people eating well??

I get to entertain a multitude of answers to this question on a regular basis. I am pretty sure I have heard every excuse but they all basically boil down to either "I don't know" or "I really don't want to know". I will address these two camps in turn but first, here are some examples of what people actually say (out loud or just to themselves) and then my rebuttal (out loud or sometimes just to myself).

The Excuse:

"Healthy food is too expensive."

My Answer:

  • Nope, not buying it! Sickness is more expensive.

  • Buy in bulk.

  • Don’t be fooled by marketing and fancy packages. Buy in season.

  • Grow your own.

"Tried and it didn't help."

- That's like going to the gym for one work-out and thinking you are going to walk out totally in-shape! Try again for longer and consistently.

"Don't like fruits and vegetables."

  • Really? I wonder how that excuse worked in the Stone Age or a bit more recent like Colonial Times?

  • Just like my advice for kids, try each food 10 different times prepared multiple ways – that’s hundreds of tries!! Your taste buds will figure it out soon enough!

"Don't have time."

  • Me too!!

  • We all have the same 24 hours available so make time for what is important.

  • As they say “if you fail to plan, then plan to fail!”

  • Think at least 2-3 meals ahead & for the best results, prepare a weekly meal plan

“My family doesn’t like healthy foods / we all have different diets”

  • Why would that be? See answer above related to “don’t like…”

  • There might be food allergy issues so, think about having the family follow the most restricted needs. If eating a diabetic or peanut free diet is certainly healthy for one, why not for all?

No matter what your excuse, think about this – is your reasoning because you don’t know or because you don’t want to know?

Let’s look at those that two camps I mentioned early “don’t know” and “don’t want to know”.

One of my favorite quotes I first heard from Dr. Bill Sears when he quoted a 2003 Time Magazine cover article stating, “The news isn’t that fruits and vegetables are good for you. It’s that they are so good for you they can save your life” ( Time Magazine ). Holy smokes! That got me so excited when I heard that!! I jumped up and down (in my head) and thought “YES! Finally people are waking up to the value or food!!” And guess what? They did, kind of.

Some people honestly haven’t gotten the memo. The premise of this school of thought is food and food and it doesn’t really matter what it’s made of, where it comes from or how it’s made as long as it satisfies my hunger. Period. End of story. They simply don’t understand the vitamin, mineral and phytochemical value of colorful foods. If belly is hungry and salad doesn’t fill it up than it’s seen as a waste of time. The approach I take with this camp is basic education. Sometimes I can win them over to at least add color to meals. Sometimes they move into the next camp which is “I don’t want to know”.

The “I don’t want to know” camp is where most people fall. Your mother, grandmother, high home economics teacher, government and well everybody has given you the education that colorful foods are really great for health and you have learned the reasons but you have decided to place blinders over your eyes. Yup, blinders. Those things they put on horses to prevent them from being distracted while doing their work or keep sun out of their eyes (I’m not educated in equestrian training). Blinders that keep our eyes on what we want to see and not what is actually going on with our body or with our food. This is where what you know you should be doing is far from what you are actually doing but, you tell yourself you are doing the best you can with what you have available. This is the stretching the truth to feel better comes in. I ask, “do you eat fresh produce?” and the answers are something like “Yes, I have a salad from some fast food place 4 times a week and eat a banana with my triple portion of sugary cereal and whole milk every morning”.

So I ask this, take off the blinders. Take off the blinders that keep you from understanding that food really can cure, provide health and add vitality to your life! Take off the blinders that keep you bound to eating food that you have no idea about. Learn where your food comes from, how it’s made, look at the ingredient lists, read the calories, fat and added sugar and compare it to what should be in your body at any given time.

I’m not saying you have cook everything from scratch or buy all organic or go vegan or raw or follow any particular diet. I am asking that everyone simply open your eyes and take a few more minutes to value what you put in your body. It’s worth it to learn because this simple knowledge can add years to your life and vitality to those years!!

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