Wednesday, March 23, 2011

What ARE We Really Hungry For?

It's 7 p.m. and you're headed to the refrigerator.

But is it because you're hungry ~ or is it because you're bored, emotionally upset, sad or lonely?

Unfortunately, food isn't just a nutrient for us ~ it's more often used as a balm to deaden our emotional discomfort.

Much of that comes because we feel separate from everyone else ~ for whatever reason. Our culture dwells on comparisons ~ whose life is more interesting, whose job is more exciting, who has more money, who is thinner ~ or who owns a home with hardwood floors! If we judge that we fall short, that low esteem also prevents us from seeing the wide range of choices we have!

As a result, we perceive that we're stuck. As Henry Ford said, "Whether you believe you can or believe you can't ~ you're right!"

That's when food becomes our "best friend".

Food could be our best friend ~ but in that negative state, the foods we would choose don't make us any healthier or happier.

The first step in changing that reality is to pause long enough between the couch and the cupboards to just be aware.

Just stop and ask yourself: "What am I really hungry for?"

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Being "Mindful" ~ Translated

Despite my best efforts, I got that nasty virus that circulated late this winter, and my rebound was slow. I apologize to my faithful followers for my absence!

This week I was also blessed with a fifth granddaugher ~ all of them ages six and under!

While for all of us, our energies rally and wane in our efforts to live mindfully, they remind me that we are models for the generations that will follow us. Children are mindful ~ and they pay attention to what we do.

So how do we do that? And what does it mean to be "mindful"? The word must appear as "new age" jargon to much of our population who see themselves as separate from that realm.

But of course, we all share the same realm ~ no matter what our political or religious beliefs. So being mindful ~ translated ~ simply means paying attention to what we're doing right now, every moment.

Children get that ~ and they notice when adults in their lives are distracted because it siphons the energy they receive. Every mother knows that kids begin to act up as soon as she gets a phone call. It's because her attention has shifted. Kids can't articulate that, but they know it, and they behave accordingly.

Even in the worst of crises, most will say they experienced a "calm" as their total focus was on the situation at hand. In my humble opinion, a lot of our stress comes from lack of focus ~ when our minds race like a galloping herd of wild horses.

In that all-pervasive food arena that we live in every day, an unfocused, distracted mind drives us to find some calming effect from those foods and drinks that are the worst choices for our bodies. We're looking to self-medicate all that stress and agitation ~ but we pick the wrong prescription. The more stressed we are ~ or the less mindful ~ the more we eat.

No blame here. There's no place for it. It's how we're wired.

But when we make better food choices, it's going to affect everything else. We just have to slow down ~ maybe even stop ~ and pay attention.

The kids will notice!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

There's a Niche for Responsible Restaurants

Pete recently joined as a follower of my blog. He's a young, athletic guy who commented that active folks and athletes need calories ~ more than the average adult.

True enough.

That lines up with axiom: "energy in ~ energy out". Some Americans actually burn more calories than they take in, and so their nutritional needs are different than much of the population.

Seems like a marketing opportunity for those in the restaurant business ~ per menu options, or the entire restaurant's venue. Generally, Americans are unhealthy, and generally, they eat too much of the wrong foods. We have an obesity crisis ~ which translates into our health crisis.

Young, health-aware people like Pete will be always be able to seek out what they need without much trouble. I think there'll always be plenty of calories to be had, and most likely they won't eat more than they need.

That's the key. I'm betting people like Pete know the difference.

It's all about being aware. And restaurants, I believe, have a role to play in providing food options for those who are not.