#037 How to Overcome Emotional Eating

September 22nd, 2014 by

I can find all sorts of reasons to eat. I don’t even need to be hungry!

Just this afternoon, I finished a very healthy and satisfying lunch, and it was time to go back to work. My first thought was, “I’m going to head out to the garage freezer and see if we have any chocolate out there.”

Having quite a bit of experience with this faulty thought process, I caught myself and asked, “Jane, are you really hungry?”

The answer: “No.”

“What do you really need right now?”

The answer: “I am tired but I feel I need to get back to work. I have so much to do. Instead of giving myself permission to rest for a few minutes, which is what I really need, I thought I’d try eating some chocolate and keep going.”

Aha! The truth!

I decided that I would honor my real need to rest for 20 minutes before I went back to work and assured myself that I could eat the chocolate later, if I still wanted it.

Rejuvenated, I went back to work, and made it through the rest of the day without feeling any pull from the chocolate.

This week, in our seminar, we explored the false promises of these sugary and fake foods.  They tell us that they will meet our needs, when really they just make us want more of them and less of what our minds and bodies really need.

When we look beyond the confusion of the labels and marketing of fake food products, it’s crystal clear that simply eating real food when we are hungry is the way to nourish our bodies.

So, why can’t we implement this knowledge and eat only real food only when we’re hungry?

Why are we lured in by these fake food products, often when we’re not even hungry?

The Top Ten Reasons We Eat

Here are ten of our favorite reasons to eat.  Do any of these sound familiar to you?

1. I am tired

I am tired, so I think I’ll eat something.

2. I am procrastinating

I don’t want to do this, so I think I’ll eat something.”

3. I am happy

I am happy! Let’s eat!

4. I am sad

“I don’t want to deal with these feelings, so I think I’ll eat something

5. I am thirsty and need water

My body is sending me a signal that it needs something, I’d better eat.

6. I am with people

Here we all are with all this great food! Let’s eat!

7. I am alone

I am alone—no one will see me eat this.

-OR-

“I am lonely, maybe eating something will make me feel better.

8. I feel stuck

I don’t see any other way to meet my needs right now, what can I eat to feel better?

9. I see food

Oh, that looks good! I wasn’t even hungry, but I think I’ll have just one.

Our seminar participants came up with many more favorites, including: I’m bored, It’s family tradition, I’m stressed, I’m rewarding myself….

But, here’s the one real reason to eat that will actually meet our needs:

10. I am hungry

I am looking forward to a nutritious, satisfying meal.

Separating the Truth from the Lies

Here’s the lie in the first nine (or so) reasons to eat:

I can fix the problems in my life or make the good things better in my life by eating.

We can eat and eat and eat until we feel stuffed, but are never satisfied. Eating for these reasons can never satisfy us because we are not addressing the real issues.

Here’s the truth in the last reason, number 10–eating because we are hungry:

“My body is ready for nourishment. I am going to honor it and give it what it needs. I am going to be satisfied because I am eating for true hunger and giving it real food.

When I eat for any reason other than hunger, more often than not, I turn to the fake and sugary foods which lie to my brain and lie to my body that they can meet my needs and that what I really need is more of these “foods.”

How to Interrupt the Cycle

The key to interrupting this cycle and developing healthier behaviors is to become aware of the cues that precede our reach for the unhealthy/unnecessary stuff, insert ourselves by asking a few questions, and provide ourselves with a different option that satisfies our true needs.

The last chapter of Charles Duhigg’s book, The Power of Habit offers a helpful formula. I highly recommend this fascinating collection of stories and case studies, which illuminates how habits develop and the enormous consequences that can result.

I also highly recommend Susan Albers’ Eating Mindfully for an in-depth exploration of the habits that trap us in emotional eating cycles and strategies to return to mindful eating.

Here are the three questions I’ve learned to ask myself when I feel the urge to grab something to eat:

  1. Am I hungry–do I feel like eating real food?

If I am thinking about eating fake sugary food items, and I can’t think of something healthy and nourishing that I want to eat, the chances are high that I am looking to eat for reasons other than true hunger.

  1. What do I need right now?

If I can’t think of something nourishing that I want to eat, I can ask myself what I am actually feeling and needing. More often than not, I am feeling tired or procrastinating doing something I know I need to do but don’t want to do.

  1. What options can I give myself?

When I want to reach for junk food, I am usually in a situation where I feel I can’t meet my needs otherwise—usually at work. But there is always something I can do to interrupt this cycle. If I am tired, I can close my eyes and breath for a few moments and commit to giving myself time to rest or meditate when I finish a project. If I am looking for distraction, I can set a time for 5 minutes, go on a walk, listen to a podcast, call a friend, etc..

In each case, I can interrupt the cue-reward cycle with a question and an option. Then, I can invite myself to wait until I am actually hungry to eat and offer myself real food first.

Taking a minute to check in by asking myself these questions and giving myself other options dissolves the seeming desperate urge to eat foods I don’t need and enables the overall health and well-being I desire–one mindful choice at a time.

Please share with us! What have you found to be most helpful as you strive to eat mindfully?

#033 Seven Strategies for Healthy Fast Food

September 8th, 2014 by

After our class this week on adapting the principles of China’s Longevity Village to our lives and the choices we face in eating real healthy food vs. fake unhealthy food (which turns out to be what most of us Americans are eating most of the time), a mom came up to me and asked: “I have just one question. What foods can you actually feed your family?”

We all want to eat healthy, but we often don’t know how, or don’t have time or the will. I have found seven simple strategies that I share here in the hopes that they can help you eat and enjoy more real food.

I love the food I eat. Everyday I throw a few healthy ingredients together and end up with something delicious and different every time.

I rarely follow recipes because I’m usually in a hurry and already hungry. By having real foods all ready to throw in, I can successfully make real food both fast and delicious.

Cooking for others has always been one of my greatest fears. Quite frankly, I’d rather stand up in front of a large audience and give a talk than cook for a handful of people.

Because I have traditionally felt so inadequate in the culinary arena, writing this article takes some courage for me. However, I have found many things that enable me to make real food taste good quickly. I hope that what I share will spark some new ideas and make real food easy for you to prepare and delicious for you eat.

I must say that on the occasions I do prepare food for my friends, they tell me that it tastes superb and they ask for the recipes. Sometimes I wonder: “Are they just trying to make me feel good?” But in reality, I don’t think this is the case because I truly find these foods delicious myself.

Let me apologize up front—I don’t measure. I won’t be able to give you quantities. But I can give you some strategies and ideas to run with on your own.

Who knows? Maybe you’ll find that this approach can work for you even better than providing you with a basic recipe!

Seven Strategies for Making Real Healthy Food Easy to Eat

1. Wash, cut up and store veggies in easy to access containers as soon as you bring them home. This makes the veggies easy to eat as is or throw in a dish. Some may worry that the veggies could go bad more quickly. But think about it–you’ll be eating them more quickly too.

2. Always have a quick healthy protein ready. Soak, cook and store a large batch or two of beans or legumes in the fridge that can be mixed into last minute dishes. Also keep on hand tofu, nuts, seeds, wild low-mercury frozen fish (i.e. salmon), pasture-fed organic eggs, grass-fed organic meats in moderation, if desired.

3. Make a soup or a chili each week. These keep well for many days and can be used as sauces and combined with other dishes.

4. When you make a dish, make it in bulk. Save leftovers in small glass containers which can be packed easily the next day for lunches. This saves so much time and provides healthy meals at or away from home for days.

5. Pack healthy foods with you everywhere you go. As it can be so hard to find healthy foods, and so hard to resist the unhealthy ones when you’re hungry, taking your own food can be a life-saver. Nuts keep well and satisfy as a healthy protein and fat. We also love nut butters on sprouted grain (flourless) toast.Cut up fruits and veggies in a portable container work well on a daily basis.

6. Don’t hesitate to eat your stir-fries and salads for breakfast. A vegetable, healthy protein, and fruit is standard fare with our breakfast each day. On a recent trip, a close family member saw us all eating a spinach salad for breakfast and asked, “What kind of food is that for a breakfast?” It’s one that gets us off to a good start for eating real food first and feeling great! It can really help stave off the desire for the junkier kinds of foods.

7. Reach for your real foods first when hungry. Having healthy foods and healthy dishes readily available makes it just as easy to grab something healthy as it is to grab junk food.

Speaking of junk food, lest I give you the wrong impression, we are still a work in progress. We still have some of the packaged, processed foods in our home, and we still eat them. But I will tell you this: the availability of real foods now dramatically outweighs the processed foods and the real foods get eaten much more frequently than the processed foods. Onward and upward!

Healthy Ingredients I Stock in My Kitchen
(Keep it simple. Just start with your favorites.)

Dry beans and legumes (organic dried in bulk, and bpa-free canned): mung beans, garbonzos, black beans, pintos, cannellini, navy or other white beans, lentils, split peas, etc.

Nuts and seeds: almonds, walnuts, pecans, cashews, brazil nuts (high in selenium), chia seeds, hemp seeds, flax seeds, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, etc.

Nut butters (organic): peanut, almond, cashew, walnut, pecan, macadamia, sunflower seed, etc.

Whole grains (organic in bulk): Oat groats, barley, kamut, millet, amaranth, spelt, rye, buckwheat, wheat, thick rolled oats, etc.

Vegetables (organic—wash, cut and store for quick and easy use): Onions, garlic, kale, spinach, other leafy greens, cucumbers, carrots, cauliflower, bell peppers, celery, mushrooms, sweet potatoes, etc.

Fruits (organic–priority on in season/local fruits): Berries, oranges, apples, pineapple, watermelon, red grapes, kiwi, pomegranates, bananas, tomatoes, avocados, lemons, limes, etc.

Spices: Cinnamon, cumin, cloves, garlic, curry, tumeric, etc., I especially love spices such as Chinese Five Spice, Indian Kitchen King, or Mediterranean Herbs de Provence that have the right combinations all ready to go.

Herbs (dried and fresh when possible): Basil, parsley, rosemary, dill, cilantro, etc.

Vinegars/cooking wines: White vinegar, apple cider vinegar, balsamic vinegar, white balsamic vinegar, rice vinegar, tarragon vinegar, white cooking wine, dry sherry cooking wine, etc.

Other sauces: Braggs amino acids, low sodium soy sauce, hot sauce, organic tomato sauce (I like the Whole Foods 365 All natural fat free brand), mustard, homemade hummus, vegetable broth, vegetable boullion, apple sauce, etc.

Bread/Tortillas/Pasta: Organic, sprouted grain (no flour) breads, buns, tortillas and pastas such as Ezekiel or Food for Life brands

Milks and Dairy (organic): Almond, soy, cow, coconut, plain yogurt, pasture-raised eggs, etc.

More Healthy Proteins: Frozen Wild Alaskan Salmon, canned Wild Alaskan Salmon, grass-fed organic meats, tofu, frozen organic beans, etc.

Kitchen Tools that Make It Easier to Eat Real Healthy Foods
(Use what you have and slowly add as you go)

Over the 21 years that John and I have been married, we’ve invested in a few solid, high quality kitchen tools. From my perspective, these tools completely pay for themselves, as they make it easy to create healthy dishes quickly, and avert the desire to reach for the overly-processed, less-healthy alternatives which can lead to higher costs in health in long-run.

1. Blendtec, Vitamix or other high quality grinder
2. Wondermill or other high quality grinder
3. Bosch or other high quality mixer
4. Nesco Dehydrator or other high quality brand
5. Nesco Pressure Cooker or other brand
6. Ceramic dutch oven
7. Lemon/lime Juicer
8. Citrus Zester

The tool we use the most is our industrial quality blender, which allows us to quickly make great soups, sauces, smoothies, batters, nut butters…you name it. It has been well worth the investment for us.

Jane's Southwest Salad

Jane’s Southwest Salad

Healthy Food Recipe: Fresh Organic Southwest Salad
(Without measurements—It’s ok! Try it!)

Here’s a delicious and satisfying organic salad that I threw together last week with the ingredients I had on hand:

Black beans
Corn
Diced celery
Diced red onion
Halved cherry tomatoes
Barley (cooked al dente—this I had cooked in bulk and stored in my fridge to add to many dishes)
Fresh cilantro
Fresh lime juice
Lime zest—lots!
White balsamic vinegar
Kosher salt
Fresh ground pepper

You get the idea. You can throw in anything you have—you can change the vegetables to cucumbers, broccoli, kale, carrots, add avocadoes…you can switch the beans/legumes to garbanzos, lentils, cannellini… you can adapt the dressing to lemon, lemon zest and garlic….you can vary the herbs to basil and parsley…whatever you have in stock.

The key is to keep healthy foods all around you, make them easy to access, prepare them in bulk, and don’t be afraid to experiment. Just grab whatever healthy ingredients you can find and create any combinations you desire.

Please help me and all those reading! Please share your real food recipes and tips with all of us in the comment box below.

Here’s to a week filled with real food, real living and real happiness! Cheers! Jane

#031 Listen to Your Body and Make Exercise Work for You

September 1st, 2014 by

“That candy bar you ate from your kid’s Halloween bag is stuck right there in your thigh! Squeeze harder! Get it out! Come on, you know you ate more than you should. We all have our favorite jeans that we want to fit into! Keep lifting!”

So we did. We all lifted our leg higher at the “counsel” of our Pilates instructor.

What was the message offered to us that day?

External appearances are more important than our internal well-being?

We’re not good enough as we are?

We can’t trust our body to tell us what it needs?

The tragedy here is that we may take in and even look for these types of external cues to tell us how we’re doing.  These external cues abound in our modern society.

Productive Movement in China’s Longevity Village vs. Our Typical Gym Experience

During our most recent trip to China’s Longevity Village, as I worked along side Mrs. Huang and her neighbor in the fields one morning, I couldn’t help but reflect on the stark contrast between my gym classes which are designed to mimic the real motions utilized in real work and real work itself.

I noticed the strong steady rhythm at which Mrs. Huang and her friend worked. With seeming ease, they carried the packs that held the substantial fruits of their efforts; their faces expressed both contentment and determination.  Side by side, they conversed about the issues in their families and community, identifying possible solutions as they went. At the end of the day, they would prepare their harvested food and partake with their families of multiple generations in one home.

There I was outside working with these women and with the earth, thinking about what a strange phenomena it is, by contrast, that I hop in my car and drive to a building so that I can stand on a machine or in a room, with others doing the same–to move.

As these women work in their fields, their focus is on harvesting the fruits of the earth.

By contrast, as my friends and I work out in the gym, our focus is on the mirror in front of us and the images that are reflected back to us.  We focus on the external appearance of ourselves and others, as instructors call out our next move, telling us what we need to be doing.

In this way, our cues come from an external voice while our focus is on an external image.

Similar to my Pilates instructor, who encouraged us to squeeze the candy bars out of our thighs, my cycle instructor admonished us as Thanksgiving approached:

“Who is planning to eat pie?  Are you going to be naughty?  Pedal faster!”

We pedaled faster then we got in our cars and drove home.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I have loved the gym since I was old enough to join one.  I still love it.  For some of us, the gym may be the only way we can work in physical activity, and is a vital component of our well-being.

However, for our ultimate well-being and enjoyment, we need to learn to identify and confront the external messages that can override the messages our body will most definitely give us to tell us what it really needs.

Making the Shift from External to Internal Cues

I used to exercise to compensate for the junk food I ate and measure my exercise status by the number of calories burned, the maximum heart rate achieved or the minutes spent on a particular machine. I exercised primarily alone with the sole focus of “getting in shape.”

Today, gratefully, I move simply because it feels good. I get outside more. I join with friends and family more. Together, we produce more.

Our family is always looking for new and creative ways to get out and enjoy nature together. One of our favorites that we just discovered is, instead of driving all the way to grandma’s and grandpa’s, parking and riding our bikes the rest of the way.

I feel so much better and can accomplish so much more than I did when I was trying so hard to do the exercise thing according to the rules I thought I was supposed to be following.

What great freedom I experience with this shift from focusing on the external to honoring the internal!

By observing with compassion, I can now identify and confront these messages that sometimes exist at the gym and elsewhere that tell me that how I look on the outside is more important than how I am taking care of myself on the inside, that I am not good enough and should do something to compensate, and that I need to look outside myself for the answers.

Challenge for the Week

Here is your physical activity challenge for the week:

1. Make it natural.

2. Make it social.

3. Make it productive.

4. Make it enjoyable.

5. Do what feels good to your body.

6. Politely dismiss any external cues that may suggest you do otherwise.

Listen, honor, and let us know what you discover by leaving a comment below!

#026 Life’s Clutter: Six Steps to Reclaim Your Power

August 11th, 2014 by
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My typical reaction upon entering my children’s rooms has often been, “This place is such a mess! You guys have got to clean this up! Now!” And so many times, with such a sense of urgency, I meant now. I would quickly work with them to get some layer of clutter cleared before I could commence with whatever it was that I had come in there for in the first place.

It was the same around the house where people kept leaving their dirty socks, games, dishes, etc. around. I felt like I was constantly after them: “Guys! Remember, dirty socks belong in the laundry bin, not the floor…..Please put each game away after you play, so they aren’t all out at the same time with mixed up pieces….and….It saves you time to do your dishes before you leave the kitchen because no one has to call you back….”

We are still working on this, but something has changed.

A Shift in Focus, A New Outcome

It occurred to me that while there were areas of the house where I had less control over other’s actions, at the same time, there existed areas that I could control, and that by changing these, I could positively influence my dilemma of clutter in the house. I decided to start with my bathroom drawer, figuring that this would give me an immediate and achievable win. I couldn’t wait to get started.

As soon as the kids were in bed, I headed straight for that drawer and got to work. I cleared out bottles of stuff–some of which had been in there more than a decade.  (I am one who tends to hang onto things, thinking, “What if I need this someday?”) The image of that clean drawer gave me a lift each time I thought about it. The next night, I tackled the bathroom cupboard.This starting-projects-late-at-night habit is something else I’m working on, but that’s another topic for another day.

What happened when I shifted my focus to areas under my control? My need to fix other people’s clutter lessened, and the clutter itself lessened. I had taken back my power, and with it, came a greater sense of peace.

I found myself walking into my kids’ room, being unaffected by the clutter and being able to focus on the person with whom I came to interact, instead of the mess. And when I did ask my children to clean their rooms, the request came free of the sense of desperation that previously accompanied such “requests.”

My children sensed this shift and their resistance seemed to melt away to the same place my anxiety vanished. They now found the mental and physical space to move forward on their own, and the results were astounding.  They actually took initiative to clean their own desks one night instead of going to bed.  (I know what you’re thinking.  They’re following my bad example of staying up late to start a project.  We’ll have to tackle that issue separately.  I promise I’ll work on this and let you know how it goes!)

Giving Away My Power and Taking it Back

The point I want to make here is that in blaming an external factor, I gave my power away, when all along I had the power within to change my situation.

It sounded something like this:

Giving Away My Power: “I just can’t keep on top of all the clutter in the house because my kids leave their stuff everywhere.”

Taking Back My Power: “I can organize my own areas, which is changing the clutter situation in my home as well as my reaction to it.” Despite the existence of factors beyond my control, when I put the focus back on me, and the things that are within my control, I can change my situation.

Confront Your Excuses and Reclaim Your Power

Where are you giving away power that is actually yours to use?  Here are a couple of common excuses that you may have heard from others or even, possibly, yourself.

Giving Away Your Power in health: “I have diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or this ______________(fill in the blank) condition, because it runs in my family.

Taking Back Your Power in health: “My lifestyle choices have an even greater impact than my genes do on whether or not I develop conditions, even genetic ones. I can make some small lifestyle changes, knowing that most conditions are reversible or preventable and that I can turn genes on or off  through my lifestyle choices.”

Giving Away Your Power in exercise: “I’m so busy with work and family that I don’t have time to exercise.”

Taking Back Your Power in exercise: “By making exercise a priority, I gain back time during my day, and over my lifespan. Studies show that exercise promotes energy, alertness, and concentration, increasing the productivity and quality of the remainder of my hours in the day.”

Seven Steps to Take Back Your Power

Here’s my challenge for you this week.  Follow these seven steps to take back your power:

1. Get Curious: As you go through the week, observe yourself with curiosity: What situations do you wish could be different?  Where are you blaming factors or people outside of yourself for this situation? Write it down.

2. Focus: Pick one, only one, situation for now. Write it down.

3. Identify: Get creative and pinpoint one thing within your control, not dependent upon outside factors or people, that you can do differently in this one situation. Write it down.

4. Experiment: Do that one new thing.

5. Assess: How does this one new approach change your situation and your feelings about your situation? Write it down.

6. Repeat. Introduce one more change in the same situation, or identify one new situation in which you can make one new change.

It’s time to confront your excuses and reclaim your power.  By doing so, what new reality can you make possible in your life? Let us know how it goes! You can leave a comment by clicking here.

#024 Food Rules by Jane Day

August 4th, 2014 by
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In the cereal aisle, I overheard a mother telling her child, “You can have this cereal, or this one, or this one.” The child countered, “Can I have this one?”

“No,” The mother replied, “but you can have this one.”

I looked up to see her pointing to a box of sugary chocolate puffed cereal.

I paused, intrigued. By what criteria was this mom making her selections?

Pretending to be busily evaluating the cereal boxes myself, I continued to listen as the tension increased between the mom and the boy of about 10 years in age.

Finally, her food rule was revealed. “Look, we’re going gluten-free, so you’re going to have to pick one of these gluten-free cereals.”

Why was I so intrigued by this scenario?

Because I saw myself in it. Over my lifetime, I have placed a lot of “food rules” on myself. At one time, my “rule” was “fat-free” or “reduced-fat.” As long as a food met this criterion, I could happily consume it.

Do you remember SnackWells fat-free cookies in the green box? I was in heaven when those appeared on the shelves.

Never-mind that they were loaded with sugar and other mysterious ingredients; they were “fat-free,” and thus permissible.

Were you as excited as I was when fat-free Olestra made its debut? This ingredient in fat-free Pringles and other chips was marketed as the answer to eating our chips without all the fat.

It wasn’t long before I, and others, discovered that something about this ingredient didn’t agree with our bodies. It was removed from the market almost as quickly as it came on.

During this era of “if it’s fat-free, it’s ok,” John’s brother, Mike, said one day, “Even fat-free foods have calories and it’s the calories that count, not the fat.”

By my rules at the time, I disagreed. Some time later, I switched my food rules from “fat-free” to “sugar-free.” At this point, anything sugar-free was the way to go.

It didn’t matter what chemical was being used to replace the sugar or what it might ultimately do to my body.

I’ll never forget the day my sisters-in-law and I discovered sugar-free jellybeans.  We were in London and attended a play that night.  We brought our newfound treasure with us and freely partook.

It wasn’t long before whatever it was that replaced the sugar began wrecking havoc in our digestive systems.  Bloated, cramping, and gassy, we kept jumping up from our seats and heading for the bathroom.

Upon our return to the hotel room, our attempts to sleep continued to be interrupted by the same symptoms.

We had a great time teasing each other about our great fortune that turned into misfortune.

I find it fascinating that I have put so many irrational food rules on myself, these being just two of many examples, all in the name of being “healthy.”

These rules kept me stuck in a lot of processed foods with a lot of labels making the promises I wanted to hear.

Don’t most “diets” have rules that, when we really think about it, don’t actually make sense for our health?

Do you remember the one that lets you eat as many cheeseburgers as you want as long as you don’t eat the bun?

Or how about the rule that John followed for a while which allows you to consume any quantity of breads, pastas or pastries you desire, as long as they are gluten-free?

John’s not gluten-intolerant and, like many on any diet attempting to control food intake and weight, he ended up actually gaining weight from this particular diet attempt.

Today, I am trying a new approach.  The new “rule” is simply Real Food First. What is real food?

As a society, we have drifted so far from this basic concept of real food that we can be left asking ourselves whether the Mac and Cheese box declaring its ingredients to contain whole grains with 2 extra grams of fiber is now real food?

So much of our packaged foods today are devoid of so much of the nutrition we need.  Instead, they contain nutrient-deficient ingredients that can cause us to crave more of these same nutrient-deficient ingredients.

As Americans, we tend to have so much guilt around food and often don’t enjoy our food.

The abundant temptations and our resultant obsession with food rules to control our intake in the name of health, may contribute to what is making us sick from food.

In China’s Longevity Village, I reflected on our dilemma as I witnessed friends and family working together to grow, harvest, prepare and partake of their food.

Food rules, guilt, and obsession over resisting food are non-existant, as are obesity and eating disorders.  The people are simply grateful to have the real food that they’ve worked to produce.

In the U.S., 50% of our meals are prepared or eaten out.

It is easy to become distanced from the knowledge of what is actually in our prepared food.

When we get curious and begin asking questions, we often find it is comprised of ingredients that do not promote our health or even create cravings to eat more processed foods.

For me, when I find that I am in the grip of the junk food, it takes some work to escape its hold.

The junk food can override the natural cues my body tries to send me to eat healthy, and instead, make me think I just want more junk.  But as I refuse to succumb to this lie, and eat more real food, I am better able to listen to my body’s cues and actually come to crave the real food more than the junk food.

I currently strive to first eat the vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts and seeds that give me the nutrition my body needs and satisfy my hunger in a real way.

I am finding that this reduces my intake of the less nourishing foods and sometimes eliminates the desire for these foods all together.

Another benefit to this approach, for me, is that nothing is “forbidden.”

In my experience, when I forbid myself a certain food, I often end up eating that food in excess.

The freedom that Real Food First offers, in contrast to the irrational food rules and the accompanying cravings, tastes so much sweeter than any sugar-free cookie or fat-free potato chip I could ever consume.

We’d love to hear your stories about your own attempts to escape the grasp of junk food.

Have you ever tried restricting certain foods or ingredients?  How have these attempts have worked for you?  What is working for you now? You can leave a comment by clicking here.