Friday, November 08, 2013

Food = Medicine

I call myself a meat-eating vegetarian because once upon a time, I used to eat the world and truth be told, that was a fun way to live. Nowadays, I realize that my stomach has quite literally turned on me. If I want to stay lean and strong and have a lot of physical energy, and if I want to sing like a bird, I simply can't eat whatever I want, whenever I want.  I came to a fork in the road: either I could eat healthfully and mindfully or I could let myself go and eat with abandon. I've chosen the former but I'm certainly not immune to the latter, especially if I'm traipsing through the Southland.

I had to rethink my relationship with food -- and because of this country's propensity towards genetically engineered foods and the industry's refusal to label them, I've had to relearn the basics. I've made a lot of mistakes along the way. I've definitely had plenty of teachable moments that had me slowing down and listening to my body and readjusting when things didn't work. Learning to eat clean is a process. It took a few times to grow good habits and make them stick, and thankfully, they are sticking. The easiest things to let go of are corn, soy, breads, white rice and junk food. The hardest things to give up are salt and sugar -- because basically, they're in everything.

I'm starting to do bits of research here and there on the free radical theory of aging -- that is, we age because free radicals damage cells over time.  Free radicals are everywhere and they damage everything. Your body produces free radicals when it breaks down food, for example.  As the theory goes, antioxidants can combat and defeat free radicals. Where do you get those? In the food you eat! There are some foods that have more antioxidants than others. They are called superfoods. Eating clean forces me to eat nothing but superfoods -- which contain everything you need for optimum health and weight loss.

Like I said, this is an ongoing process for me. I never went whole hog with fast food so it hasn't been that much of a struggle -- it's not like I had to lose 100 lbs -- but still, it's taken a great deal of effort for me to stop eating anything that's processed.  There are moments when I fall off but for the most part, I've created good habits for myself and radically changed my relationship to food and how I eat.

Onward and upward, folks.

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