There are a few thousand books written every couple of weeks about nutrition and healthy eating.
Sure, that’s a slight exaggeration. But let’s not think that we’re going to cover every aspect of nutrition in the next few columns.
Still, we can go over a few things that will help us tremendously.
First, let’s define food so we’re all speaking the same language. Food is any nonliquid substance containing carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins or minerals — or all five — that aids in providing nutrition for the body.
That leaves a lot of room for interpretation. For instance, by that definition, broccoli is as much food as Ho Hos.
But, the great thing is, from that definition, we can label foods that are good for us, such as broccoli, and foods that make our bodies fight a lot harder to stay healthy, such as Ho Hos.
Deciding which type of food to eat requires us to understand the reasons behind why we are eating. Call it the psychology of eating.
Eating is a biological necessity, but are we even enjoying it? Or are we in such a rush these days that we’re scarfing down everything so we can get back to work? Are we eating because of certain signals our body sends to the brain saying it needs nourishment? Or is it because of some external practice or learning process such as it’s customary to eat when you’re at dinner party?
These questions aren’t meant to suggest that any of them are right or wrong. But they do give us the power to make plans and decisions on what we’re eating.
To elaborate, if the body is giving us signals, then we know we are beyond physiologically needing something to satiate us. So, in this case, we’ll eat to please a need. But, maybe we’ll eat too much because of our perceived “starving.” Maybe we’ll eat just right. Or, do we socially eat, placating a host who has worked all day making hors d’oeuvres, even if we’re not hungry?
Either way, if the goal is to get healthier — and we probably would not be here together if the goal were anything else — we need to have a clear understanding of why we’re eating.
After that, eating is all about the what and the when. What are we having and when are we having it?
We’ll go over that next time, and the bacteria and fish oil concoction won’t be too gross — promise.
Next: We’re eating what?
Bryant holds several national training certifications, is an author, lectures internationally and is the founder of C.L.A.Y. — the Coalition for Launching Active Youth. His fitness tips appear bi-weekly in Health and Wellness.