This mantra comes from the wisdom of Michael Pollan. I've written about it before, and I tout the 'real food' focus often. Today, I want to break it down as a mantra because it's so simple and effective. Plus, I pretty much live by it. It's taken a long time to get here, and it was well worth it.
Eat food means real food—unprocessed and ecological source content grown naturally. It doesn't need to be organic, and it doesn't need to be local. It just needs to be natural and unscathed by modern tinkering. Traditional means of cooking plants and animals still qualifies as genuine and safe in this case. So when I'm choosing to look at packaged food like greek yogurt or canned soup, I'm still aiming for the closest thing to the version I might encounter in nature. I'm not aiming for the perfect choice at all times. I go for the better option and let the chips (salt and vinegar preferably) fall where they may. 🤣
Not too much sounds so simple and easy, but I can tell you as a chronic 'eyes are bigger than my stomach' candidate, it is a challenge for most of us. We are wired to eat what's in front of us. It worked in our favor for 99% of our human existence to survive and adapt. Unfortunately, with the steep curb in modern technology starting with the Industrial Age, we have become victims of our designs. Processed foods (especially hyper-palatable junk) kick-start a reaction that taps into our need to survive, making moderation and portion control aims insurmountable. Beyond keeping mostly real foods on hand (that properly regulate and nourish), my favorite hacks focus on hydration and plant-based snacking. Eating balanced with real foods does the trick when we can be intentional, but when those moments of weakness creep in, I've taught myself to drink lemon water, spring water, tea, and watered-down versions of other beverages to be the first defense. It's easy to mistake thirst for hunger. My second line of defense is crunchy plants. Celery gives me the satisfaction of chewing and filling up while ingesting something worthwhile. Next comes carrots, pickles and cucumbers, cauliflower, apples, oranges, and berries. Then, of course, I break down and eat my chips and ice cream at times. Though when I'm looking at this fridge, it's hard not to eat healthy snacks.
The mostly plants message has been in our face for a while now. Just look at the uprising of the vegan movement. It's like the rebel alliance taking down the empire--the industrial food complex. They just may need some animal product to leverage the true nature of the force. I couldn't help myself with the metaphor. 🤪 Seriously, plant foods are the most bountiful sources of vitamins and minerals we have. Their powers are immense, from cellular repair to fighting cancer. We only need to find creative ways to add more to our plates or mixed in with our non-plant dishes. Just like real food decision-making above, we don't need to be perfect; we merely need to be a little bit better. Throw in an extra veggie with your pasta. Opt for a more colorful (phytochemical-rich) side versus the go-to fries. 😉
Happy Monday 🙏🏽