Posts Tagged ‘eating intentionally’

Promises, Promises

I keep promising posts to y’all that never materialize.  In an effort to catch up a bit, today I’ll feature a couple of articles sent by friends-of-the-blog over the past month with my commentary.

First, you’re familiar with Dole bananas, right?  (No, this is not political commentary)  The Chair of the Dole Food Company, David H. Murdock, wrote this piece a while back about his path to healthier eating.  It’s important to note that this is a particularly wealthy person, with essentially unlimited food options, including, one assumes, somebody to do his shopping and his cooking.  So what’s realistic for him may not work for the rest of us.

But it’s actually quite sensible.  Very much like the oft-mentioned (here at least) Michael Pollan‘s practice, “Eat food.  Not too much.  Mostly plants.”  He advocates lots of fruits (hey, put that skepticism away), vegetables and nuts, as well as fish.  And the guy’s an 88-year-old who doesn’t even take aspirin, so who’s to argue with his prescription? This post is his “the healthiest foods on earth” list.

The thing I like most about Murdock’s approach is that he points out – up front – that he hasn’t always eaten this way, but that he’s been committed to it for decades now.  That’s a model I can support.

Second, I offer this article at your own risk.  You may find it helpful, but I have a bone or two to pick with it.  It’s a “foods to avoid” article, and I have no problem with that … as regular readers know I have plenty of foods I’d rather you and I both avoid as well.  I just disagree with this list.

It’s right about fried food.  You’re not going to lose weight eating the Colonel’s drumsticks or anything else that comes out of a deep fryer.  But that’s where we part ways.  We need flavor in our food.  Without flavor we’re not likely to eat much – or well.  You just have to use common sense and moderation.  No, don’t eat rich sauces and pork shoulder at every meal, but if you cut them out of your diet, well, you’re just “on a diet.”  And that’s going to fail.

But read the article.  At the very least it helps keep you thinking critically – intentionally – about your nutrition.

 

Eating Intentionally

In several posts I’ve talked about the concept of “eating intentionally.”  And as you’re reading along, you’ve either missed it entirely or thought to yourself, “what the heck is he talking about?”  While I can’t claim authorship of the phrase, I can tell you what I mean by it, and why it’s important to me.

When I use the phrases “eating intentionally” or “intentional eating,” what I mean is thinking about my food.  If I’m eating intentionally, it means I’m considering the choices I make regarding my meals.  It means I’m actively choosing what to put in my shopping cart, in my oven, on my plate, on my fork and in my belly.

Sure, I read that avocado is good for my prostate but, hey, I don’t really like avocado.  Will I actually eat it or will it sit on the counter and rot? (That was a bad example.  It would not rot.  My Lovely Wife loves avocado.  Give me a little license, por favor.)

Boy, that pasta looks great on the menu.  But it’s not whole wheat.  I know white-flour pasta isn’t a good choice for me.  Hmmm … what else is on the menu?

DAMN that was tasty!  Yes, I’d LOVE another helping!  Hang on … my stomach is actually kinda full already. Is it my taste buds or my belly that needs another plateful?

You get the point.

It’s amazing … almost magical … how much better I feel when I approach food intentionally.  When I consider what it is I’m trying to get from that next forkful (Sure, it’s gonna taste fabulous, but do I need the fuel?  How is it going to make me feel?).  Maybe it’s just because it slows me down for a second or two. Or maybe it’s the power that focus brings to just about any human endeavor.

When I make better choices about food – at the grocery or at the table – I feel better in the short term and I see a difference at the scales on Friday.  But I also get the benefit of having made a good decision.  Of taking one more step to taking care of my body, to getting more mileage out of myself.  Don’t discount the psychological benefit of knowing you made a good decision.

If you don’t mind me stepping outside the normal point of this blog for a moment, I want to endorse – as strongly as I can – the idea of living intentionally.  Being where you are.  Thinking about your actions as you act.  Moving through your day, your week, your life, as though you intend to get somewhere, to achieve something.

It’s easier said than done.  I don’t claim to be able to do so all, or even much, of the time.  It’s hard to stay on whatever course (or courses) I’ve chosen.  Life is distracting, necessarily so.  But when I focus, when I act with intention, I see and feel the results.  Often immediately.

I can let the day sweep me along … or I can remember that the time will soon come when my Sprightly Daughter will stop asking me to read her a story – and I can make time to read that story (and file the memory away for safekeeping).  I can make phone calls while I walk to the car … or I can look at the shapes in the clouds and feel the sun on my skin.  I can grab a snack at the Kangaroo store … or I can enjoy actually tasting my food at dinner.

I can move through life and miss days or weeks at a time … or I can live, intentionally and productively.

I’m not telling you to drop all your responsibilities, large and small, and move to Oahu in pursuit of your lifelong dream of becoming a champion surfer.  And I’m not telling you that focus is the only thing standing between you and Trump-esque world domination.  What I’m saying is that when I take control of the minutes – even the seconds – of my life, good things happen.  It takes practice.  Most good things do.  But training myself to think and focus in the moment has been worth the effort.

I’ll wager it would be for you as well.

Thanks, as always, for reading.

 

 

 

 

 

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