The connection between food and well-being has always been fascinating to me. Growing up in the 70’s placed me at the dawn of a health food awakening in the United States. Those of us who ate granola, yogurt, and fresh fruits and vegetables were in the minority compared to those who saw industrialized products as revolutionary, mainly because of their convenience. There was something “cool” about eating the whole food, rather than the canned varieties that were present on most nightly dinner tables. In many ways it was a cultural preference, originating from health roots but having very little to do with any health benefits. My husband remembers me sharing fresh zucchini strips, cheese, and whole wheat crackers with him soon after we met. It made a real impression on him because he had never had anything like that before. Sad huh…well that was the 70’s
In the past couple of years information about the importance of whole foods has exploded, and we are in the midst of a “real food” revolution” in which we have scientific evidence proving the value of paying attention to what we eat. We now know that to be well balanced physically and emotionally, we must feed our bodies the nutrients they need to thrive; and there are serious consequences if we don’t. Obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and cancer can often trace their origins to poor diet and sedentary lifestyles, and to some degree can be cured, or at least managed by the same.
So why is it so hard to choose nutrient dense over nutrient void? There are multiple ways our brains are hardwired to survive, and they trick our thinking. For example: More is better than less, and sweet and salty are the flavors that provide what we need. I know, I know; I need chocolate like I need water, but that’s another story for another time. As with other survival instincts, what served us in primitive times hurts us in modern times. Fortunately, over the ages our brains have developed the ability to reason; we need to use it, or lose it.
“You are What You Eat” is true. You can either eat foods that balance your chemistry, create an inhospitable environment for disease, improve mental acuity and overall well-being, or you can soothe yourself with fatty, sweet, and salty delicacies that will make you feel good in the moment, but in the long run, if overdone, cause you harm. Because I am on a crusade to banish black and white thinking, enjoying decadent food on occasion is not a bad thing, and if consumed as the exception rather than the rule, can greatly improve quality of life. My suggestion is to find healthy foods that are elegant and flavorful; and that is how you can have your cake and eat it too 😀
What follows is my recipe for a smoothie that contains your entire daily fruit and vegetable requirement. Try it. You won’t believe how something so good, can be so good.
Deep Purple Smoothie
1 Cup Vanilla Soy Milk
2 Cups Fresh Baby Spinach
1 Peeled Cutie Mandarin Orange
3/4 Cup Blueberries or Pitted Cherries (frozen are great)
Small Handful (1/3 cup?) of Baby carrots
1 Tsp. Ground Cinnamon
1 Tsp. Honey
In a blender, combine ingredients in the order listed and blend until smooth.
For some impressive facts about the power of food, take ten minutes and watch the Ted Talk below. it really is worth watching
Here is a link to an article that I found both empowering and motivating
The Way of the Healthy Person