This question gets asked of me frequently. It’s asked commonly by people who want to lose weight. The problem with this question is that we remain overweight and sick because we’ve become obsessed with the actual quantity of calories with little regard for the quality of calories. Someone told me once that they liked the popular point system because they could save all their points up during the day and eat cake at night. Another person told me she loved being pregnant because being pregnant meant she could eat anything she wanted! So, she ate her favorite fast food burger almost daily throughout her pregnancy then found it difficult to lose her baby weight. A couple years later, she insisted she was doing “everything right” to lose the weight and couldn’t so she opted for liposuction….. twice! This is not a healthy mindset by any means and until we start thinking differently about what we put in our bodies, we will continue to be overweight and sick!
This type of thinking has contributed to 7 out of 10 Americans being overweight with 3 out of 10 being obese. It would be easy for me to point out the obvious culprits like donuts, ice cream, and soda pop. But, did you know that 80% of processed foods have added sugar in them? (And, of course, there are all you “Carbivores” who can’t live without bread which just converts to sugar. But, carb obsession is a whole different article!)
Have you ever really considered the QUALITY of your calories? Are the calories you consume nutritionally poor or nutritionally dense? Do your calories promote health and wellness or do they promote sickness and disease? Are you picking up a box right now to look at the quality and quantity of your calories? On my desk right now is a 20 ounce jar of dehydrated “cheesy” kale chips (they are gluten and dairy free but taste like they’ve been coated in cheese!). I made these tasty morsels myself. They have no calorie or nutrition label but I know they are massive little bombs of flavor and nutrition! I don’t care about the quantity of calories because the QUALITY rocks! The real bonus is that nutritiously dense foods like this are packed with flavors that dance on your palate so you don’t need to eat very much to feel satiated.
Quality foods will always satisfy your appetite for longer. Quality foods will minimize cravings because you will be well nourished right down to your trillions of cells. Quality foods will heal you. Our cells are like tiny factories that must function like well-oiled machines or else the whole system will break down. When you eat poor quality foods, you actually starve your cells. Do this every day and you have a perfect recipe for poor health.
We need to create a movement toward more nutritionally dense foods. What are those you ask? Nothing you haven’t heard before. More fresh colorful fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds and their butters, legumes, organic grass fed meats, healthy sources of oils (Olives, avocados), gluten free grains, etc. Now I know that doesn’t sound like a lot of food to some of you but I encourage you to step outside of your world of iceberg lettuce (crunchy water) and explore the multitude of colorful, nourishing foods available to you.
It’s time to think outside the processed food box and move away from the myth that “eating healthy is sooo boring!” As I tell my patients, “I’m a true foodie…I LOVE food!” So, I go out of my way to find and create recipes with big, bold flavors that make me happy. And don’t think of not having your favorite nutritionally poor, calorically dense comfort food as “giving up”. Of course giving up something is bound to feel emotionally painful so it’s imperative to make the mental shift that you are embracing healthier habits. You are healing yourself with food….not a magic bullet. You will soon realize that eating calorically moderate, nutritionally dense foods will nourish every cell in your body!