You are a fortress. The things your body has done for you, the things it does on a daily basis and the things it will do for you in the future are all pretty incredible. The fortress, though, needs fuel. It needs fuel to function, at least if you want it to continue to do be a fortress.
In the land of adulting, one of the hardest adjustments for me to make was how to eat like a human. You see, most of us are eating the SAD (Standard American Diet) and either don’t realize the damage it does or just don’t know how to get away from it.
In fact, I’d submit to you that learning about real nutrition requires you to completely unlearn what you’ve thought or been taught. It’s like learning a foreign language. I remember when my mom told me that I just knew more stuff about food than she’d ever been told. She had regrets, but there simply wasn’t the information out there when she was a mom that we have available now.
That’s more true than we realize. Some examples of popular ideas in the past include the food pyramid (doesn’t even exist anymore, hello) and how bad fat is for you (nope, fat isn’t bad. Eating fried food all day everyday? That’s bad). Those ideas are just a few of the ideas that illustrate we essentially have to unlearn everything and use our own common sense and critical analysis on nutrition.
The first step to getting our minds right about nutrition is to see food as fuel. It is what powers our daily activities and all of our body’s functions. Many of us have an unhealthy relationship with food. We may see it as a reward and we overindulge. Sometimes we see it as a means for punishing ourselves by withholding it.
But you know what? Food is just fuel. It’s what your awesome, strong, capable body needs to do awesome things. When you feed it the right fuel, it gets stronger and more capable. When you feed it the wrong fuel it gets sluggish and less cooperative. It doesn’t function well. That’s because:
Food is medicine.
Just like gas is made up of certain factors that make an engine run, (real) food is made up of compounds that our bodies need to run. You know, proteins, fats, carbs, vitamins and minerals. Fats, 50 grams per day. Vitamin C, 75 mg per day. Calcium, 1,136 mg per day (recommended daily intakes according to the USDA). You get it. Food is medicine. Let’s look at a couple of Merriam Webster’s definitions to really, effectively and annoyingly hone in on this idea:
m e d · i · c i n e: a substance or preparation used in treating disease
Okay, so if that’s true, then what is the definition of disease?
d i s· e a s e: a condition of the living animal or plant body or of one of its parts that impairs normal functioning and is typically manifested by distinguishing signs and symptoms
So, if disease simply means the body is not functioning normally and we know that 1) medicine is what is used to treat those impaired functions and 2) food is the source of things that make our bodies function properly, then we can conclude food is medicine.
Every time you eat, you can be putting medicine down your gullet. Likewise, every time you eat you can be putting stuff down your gullet that impairs functions. That makes it pretty clear, at least to me.
Clear, however, doesn’t mean easy. Right?
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