I do a big Costco trip at the beginning of the month – some produce, lots of meat, some cheese for the kiddos, a few other necessities.
And I have to admit: I have a tendency to cart peek.
You know what I mean…when you look at the contents of the shopping carts around you and compare them to your own.
Confession: I am very judgemental about people’s grocery carts. More than once, I’ve considered stealing kids whose parents have carts full of nothing but frozen pizzas, Cheetos and Mountain Dew.
But I’m noticing than more often than not, those cart ingredients just make me sad.
Especially when I’m eavesdropping.
Yes, I know. I’m terrible. I want to steal children whose parent’s feed them garbage and I eavesdrop on perfect strangers. All in the name of eating healthy.
I watched a couple at Costco a few weeks ago - both quite obese, the wife with obvious hormonal issues – trying to make good choices by packing their cart with Healthy Choices frozen meals, Egg Beaters, diet sodas…discussing which ones tasted better than others, even reading the ingredient lists. Their cart was full of food products that were all low-fat or no-fat, with chemical sugar replacements and very little real food. In reality, it was a cart full of chemistry experiments.
And it broke my heart.
Obviously, they’re trying.
They’re doing what television and popular culture, the media and the goverment are all telling them to do.
And obviously, they are failing.
Like I’ve failed. So many times.
We’ve been told over and over to restrict our calories, to eat low fat or no fat, to read labels, to eat more whole grains, and to avoid the empty calories for last few decades.
And still, the obesity epidemic has exploded.
the only ‘expert’ on these things is the individual wise enough to examine their chosen way of eating & the effects it has on them. ~unknown
I came across this comment on Pinterest last week, and it struck me. We eat the way the government…or Weight Watchers…or the latest fad diet tell us to, not really paying attention to how it actually makes us feel or our bodies run.
We’re so focused on what we shouldn’t eat that we no longer value food as a source of nutrition. We focus on getting through the day with as little calories as possible, often not caring where those calories come from. Instead of eating a food because of what good it does for our bodies and minds, we’ve turned it into a number game. I know people who would be happy to eat cardboard if it had few enough calories or points.
And we keep doing it all over and over and over…praying that one of these days, it actually works.
One of the things I love about eating a paleo/primal/ancestral diet is that I focus on what each food does for me. Quality and variety are important. Real foods are paramount, and with real food comes real flavor. It’s incredibly personal and customizable because ingrained in the very basics of a paleo or primal or ancestral diet is the knowledge that we need to pay attention.
You can’t do that without realizing how different foods react with your body. I avoid grains because they make my stomach, joints and muscles hurt and they cause me mental fogginess, among other things. Dairy does unpleasant things to my digestion and my skin. And after a few weeks of really paying attention, I’ve seen what oils as opposed to fat do to me. It’s not pretty.
I would love to walk that couple through Costco again – show them how easy it would be to throw together their own Healthy Choice-like bowls with a bag of frozen veggies and some chicken tenders…how to spend a few hours on Sunday afternoon planning and cooking for the week ahead…to skip the Egg Beaters and just eat one of nature’s best foods (unless you’re allergic)…how to eat real foods and see real changes that last.
And I would ask them to pay attention to their bodies - it doesn’t matter if something is only 300 calories if you have no energy and can’t think, are bloated or having stomach issues after you eat it.
We simply have to take the focus off of simply being thin or losing weight, and with that, of counting calories or points.
Our priorities must change.
It’s about health.
About how we’re choosing to fuel our bodies.
Tomorrow, come back and read about my personal Lenten challenge and how it fits with this.