photo credit to ecofriends.com
We are social animals. We like to stick in groups, preferably groups who are like us and like to do what we do. Runners run together, alcoholics drink together, artists perform or do art together, you get the gist. It is especially so with people with bad habits. They want to be around others with similar habits so they don't feel so guilty about whatever it is they do. This is definitely the case with food. I have had people try to get me to eat so many things that I don't eat just so they will feel ok eating it. This all goes back to my judgement post and again I say, eat what you want, and don't try to get me to go to the dark side. Ain't gonna happen.
It is amazing how early this behavior starts and I really started to see it this year at my 4th graders school. He is such a healthy kid but was getting pressure from other kids for showing up with veggie sandwiches (which he looooves.) He felt judged and he asked if he could just eat when he got home and take more of a snack to school. He was sneaking chips in his bag in the morning (yes, I do have some chips in the house for the boys when they occasionally want to have a couple with a sandwich.) I know my kid and he likes healthy food. He likes all food like me so will eat anything healthy and be very happy. Avoiding healthy lunches was all do to peer pressure and I had a hard time trying to explain to him that if he started succumbing to it now it was going to get a lot worse later. Here is the question that I struggled with on this one. Why did other kids care what he was eating? It is not like a bunch of adults, hanging around wanting each other to eat cheese and sausage, because they feel guilty eating globs of saturated fat next to someone eating a veggie plate. How is junk food somehow "cooler". It definitely seems that a lot of the more "popular" kids at school are the ones with the least parental supervision (just an observation…kind of more true in middle school.) Anyway, these are the same kids bringing in Lunchables and Hot Cheetos for lunch. How is it that the bar gets set by those foods? I'm guessing it is advertising as there are few catchy jingles and cool characters that we sing about or represent hummus and cucumber sandwiches. All of those foods are engineered to be addictive. There was a great article in the NY times a while ago and they had interviewed the people who engineer these foods. Scary stuff Extraordinary Science of Junk Foods Kids are so susceptible to those tastes. I had one mom tell me that they wouldn't crave it if it was not good for them. Huh? Keep making yourself feel better for not offering up fruits and veggies and watching your kid eat red hot cheetos. Well done.
I am determined this year to get both of my boys eating healthier lunches at school and not feel pressured to eat junk. The pressure will always be there just as it was for me last night when everyone was eating ice cream and they were all upset over me "torturing myself." I swear, I like what I am eating because I no longer crave animal protein and sugar. I am so happy and satisfied. The baked peach crumble with cashew cream that I had when I got home was ammaaazing!
I did it!! I found a protein powder that JD likes. It is still a bit chalky, but I got one that is not flavored and it is pretty darn good. I put it in a strawberry banana flax smoothie and he loved it. I would rather him get protein from whole foods like beans, lentils veggies etc, and he often does, but on days when he can't this will help a lot. It has 15 gms in a scoop. I also tried it in pancakes and waffles and it worked great!
Another thing that has been working is that I have been putting beans in his smoothies. He has no idea, and I am hoping that he doesn't read this. He has been slugging these down like nobody's business and beans were definitely not in his wheelhouse. I am definitely going to try to get one of these in once a day because beans are powerful. They have been found to prevent colon cancer and to if consumed in decent amounts have been found to extremely heart healthy in that they may lower cholesterol enough to allow people to get people off of their side effect laden cholesterol drugs.
Another day, another victory. Nobody said this switch was going to be easy. There is still a lot to navigate but I am feeling pretty good about it.
I have noticed that people become self-conscious eating in front of me now. It totally sucks. I'm not judging anybody. Yes, if someone is very overweight and watching them eat a bag of chips I might be thinking that I wish they weren't eating that. But truly it is an individual choice. I know everybody wants to be healthy. I also know that it is very hard to get on the road to optimum health. Old habit die very hard. I am only here to help people when they ask for help. And very excited when people do! Please don't hide your brownie under the table when I walk over. It's all good. To each his own.
I understand how hard it is to break out of our old ways. I also understand that food is very addictive and sub optimal foods are comforting. Carrots usually are not considered comforting. Roast beef, mashed potatoes, french fries, cake, chips. There are the foods that people often find comfort in... calorie dense foods that light up our dopamine systems that make us feel fulfilled and happy. Habits can take a long time to break which is why I feel that dealing with changing over food habits need to be looked at with a one day at a time approach. Have worked with many food addicted people and I do understand that it is the hardest habit to break because we all need to eat. There is so much emotion tied into eating. The emotional part of the brain and eating are so closely tied. I do have to tell you though that I now get equally as excited over a bowl of amazing soup as I used to get over a Sprinkles cupcake. I know your our coughing out "bullsh*t" under your breath right now, but I really do. Dr Doug Lisle does and awesome talk on WHY we crave the calorie laden foods that people crave most. Click here: Dr www.youtube.com/watch?v=jXbtaDOBK8
I am not judging you when you don't make a perfect choice. I am not even judging you when you make horrible choices. I have made plenty of these in my life. I do know that I am getting judged too. Why do I have to be SO healthy and deprive myself of something SO good? Some people get very upset that I have decided not to eat meat and engage me in conversation where they just want me to tell them that I think it is okay to eat it, and that I think it is actually healthier to eat it than not eat it. They are making an argument because it is so ingrained in them that we must eat animal protein to survive on this earth. I understand that it's hard to accept that we do not need to eat animal protein. It took me years to finally decide to research it as much as I possibly could and convince myself that even though I felt better not eating it I shouldn't eat it. Yes, that last sentence was correct. I always feel better not eating meat but I always felt that I absolutely needed to or something bad would happen to me. Now that I know that all of the studies prove just the opposite I feel perfectly comfortable not eating animal protein. I did not expect to feel as satisfied as I do not eating it though. I thought I would miss meat dishes more. I really don't. It took 3 solid months to not miss it anymore.
I try not to be a beat you over the head kind of gal. I do love educating people though, so if you have any questions, please ask. I will not judge you while you eat your steak and please don't mention that all I ate at dinner was a salad and veggies if that was my only choice because we were at a steak house . When I got home I ate a bowl of beans and rice. It's all good :)