What does it mean to eat healthy? Many of us associate healthy eating with food that tastes horrible, perhaps because of our experiences as children growing up, when our parents would force us to eat vegetables “because they’re good for you.” To a certain degree we seem to have internalised that belief that if something tastes good then it isn’t at all good for you, but that’s just one of the common beliefs we’re going to take a closer look at right now.
A moment on the lips, a lifetime on the hips?
I remember a colleague of mine describing the slightly different tastes of the coconuts found in different places, with the ones you get in the Seychelles apparently being much sweeter than those you’d get in Brazil or even Thailand, but overall she described the taste of a coconut to be “healthy.” Simply put, it means coconut water doesn’t taste too good, but then when you take into account the enriching taste the coconut flesh adds to something like Tennis biscuits or other baked goodies, it brings into focus exactly what makes a certain food healthy or unhealthy.
It’s the process – processed food which is laced with additives to make it last longer is generally unhealthier than whole foods, which are consumed in the most natural form in which they occur.
But then again when you take into account the taste of something like a sugar cane, by the logic of “a moment on the lips is a lifetime on the hips” then sugar cane juice would make you morbidly obese since its sweetness suggests how unhealthy it should be. Why then do tropical islanders who live on sugar cane juice, coconuts and fish live for so long that there are disproportionately many centenarians on some of the tropical, Caribbean islands like Dominica?
Healthy food doesn’t necessarily taste like cardboard, so you’re not eating healthy if all you ever eat tastes bland – not necessarily, at least.
How to accommodate your guilty eating pleasures
So there are essentially two ways through which to accommodate your guilty eating pleasures, namely pushing back through exercise and moderation.
Instead of giving in to the desire to take a nap after a heavy meal, walk it off rather than sleeping it off. This just brings into focus one way of approaching the need to occasionally indulge, which is how some of the healthiest and fittest people I know put in the work in the gym which is equivalent to what they put inside their bodies.
If you’re on the fitness regime of a boxer for example, your metabolism will utterly destroy that extra Big Mac with no problems!
The other approach to accommodating your guilty eating pleasures is that of practicing moderation. Just don’t overdo things and you’ll generally be okay treating yourself once in a while. I know some travellers who swear by a new tradition they’ve created, which is that of having JUNK FOOD FRIDAYS as a reward for eating healthily very diligently over the course of the regular work week.
Falling in love with healthier foods
Learn to cook from scratch and in your cooking lessons incorporate the preparation of healthy foods like vegetables in ways that make them taste really good. Sour green beans which were baked in vinegar go down well with the kids in particular, as just an example of how you can make unpopular healthy foods taste really good. The same applies to “little trees” as my little cousins call broccoli.
Staying motivated to keep eating healthy
If you’re going to maintain any motivation to keep eating healthy then you have to turn healthy eating into a lifestyle habit. Make it part of a bigger goal, such as a healthy eating and exercise regime as opposed to just resolving to eat healthier. Perhaps start a blog about it or aim for a goal whose results you can monetise later in some way.
Remember that Mother Nature knows best
This just goes back to something I’ve already touched on, which is the fact that foods that come in their most natural form when consumed are usually the healthiest. Exercise discretion, of course, because I mean there’s a reason why there was a correlation between stomach cancer and the period of time during the development of our species when our ancestors ate raw meat and other uncooked foods.