What We Eat Is Our Business

by Sarah on June 4, 2012

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(Warning –controversial subject matter below plus a big tip.)

What we eat is our business.

Literally. What you eat everyday has everything to do with how energized you feel, how focused – how productive you are.

It determines whether you can run your business for decades to come.

Or if you get hit hard by a serious disease that sets both you and your business back – or even puts you out of commission permanently.

It also factors into how much you can truly enjoy the rewards of your business . . . If you’ll have the health and energy to take advantage of what you’ve achieved.

What we eat is serious business.

The fact that I’m a nutrition expert and farmer tells you that I don’t take it lightly.

But I’m worried – no, not only worried – furious about what’s going on when it comes to helping people get on a better path when it comes to eating.

Right now a controversy is raging about whether what we eat should be legislated and monitored.

I could get into the constitutional questions –

But there’s another problem that’s just as troublesome and it’s not getting as much coverage.

The problem with mandating what we eat is this:

It simply doesn’t work.

As a mother and human being who grew up eating not so healthy stuff like Ben and Jerry’s ice cream, I know first-hand that ultimately rules don’t work when it comes to health. Sure, as parents, we set limits and carefully monitor what’s available and what’s in the house. That’s our job as parents – to micromanage. And these household rules help establish a norm and a sense of taste.

However, this phase of our work only lasts so long.

Soon enough our job as parents shifts to moving our children from rules and constant monitoring to something that gives them even more security.

As your kids grow into independence what you really need to give them is good instincts, understanding and the skills to make good choices on their own.

Modeling good behavior, talking with them, teaching them discernment is what will really safeguard them when they go out into the wild world.

It’s the same thing for us adults.

Aside from the constitutional questions and the fact that parenting is something better left to parents – not government . . .

It’s impossible for the government to curb the problem with obesity simply by handing out mandates.

What We Really Need Is This

  • We need inspiration and tactics. We need to redevelop our sensibilities and hone our skill of making choices.
  • We need to wrestle with consequences, feel the discomfort and use that frustration, pain, and fear to drive us to change things.
  • We need to savor the feeling of good health and let that lure us forward.
  • We need to create and strengthen inside of us our own internal wisdom about food.

Sure, rules will come into play. In the beginning as you shift your tastes over to the healthier side, you’ll need to force yourself to change. It takes deliberate steps.

But these should be rules that you set and enforce. Only by doing this work can you start to train your body to change. And train your mind to choose.

Here’s the baldfaced truth: You won’t get a step closer to being thin until you decide you want to live by new rules and make a change.

If you don’t make that choice, even a million food laws and a squadron of food police can’t stop you from finding ways to get around the rules.

And here’s how this legal approach that takes choice away really cheats you . . .

Once you make that choice to change and start to take deliberate steps in that direction

You’ll be able to tap into the most powerful system of all for eating healthy . . .

Your own internal wisdom.

Because here’s the thing . . .

When it comes down to it, the secret to eating healthy is really pretty simple and easy.

You already know what to do. And you have a monitoring and enforcement system built right inside of you.

Absolutely nothing in the world can beat this powerful internal guide for keeping you eating healthy for the rest of your life.

No diet book. Or calorie chart. Or meal plan.

No laws about sodas or marketing McDonald’s Happy Meals

None of these will work as well as this guidance system you have right inside of you.

The tricky thing is to learn how to listen to it again – and give it a little tactical coaching so it can get back in shape as well.

Now I’ll admit, this process can be somewhat challenging.

We live in a world full of noise and distractions. It’s hard to listen.

We grow up teaching our bodies to ignore half the conversation going on and only respond to certain signals. And over time these signals get reinforced and get stronger and stronger. They become deep tire tracks in our brain.

We’ve taught our bodies some big fat lies over the years. And it will take some work to undo these.

But deep inside of you is someone who can and wants to eat healthy food.

It’s plain and simple biology.

With some strategy and support, you can dig down and tap into this instinct again. You can reteach your body. And you can make eating healthy food something you crave. Not just an odious task.

And once you start to do this, you’ll be amazed at how irrelevant rules and diet books are.

We’re living in dangerous times. Instead of developing our own abilities to solve problems and direct our lives in a positive direction we’re being told we can’t do this. We need help.

Yes, we need help in the form of guidance, ideas and inspiration. I look for this kind of stuff every day.

And I create it here.

But what I do here is to encourage you to take the reins. And give you the tools to do so.

We’re grownups. We don’t need someone to cut our steak up for us or mash our vegetables.

When it comes to eating, these rules imposed from high do nothing but undermine the truth about becoming healthy.

In a nation facing down the dire problem of obesity, they give us false feel-good notions that make us think we’re solving the problem.

When we’re really doing nothing at all.

As individuals faced with temptations every day, this approach only leaves us more vulnerable than ever.

When you look to someone else to make these decisions, a doughnut can sideswipe you any day.

What we need is the chance to wrestle with our own choices.

So the first thing I challenge you to do today is to make the choice to be healthy.

Think about what this will mean for your life.

Envision the possibilities. Envision what it will mean if you don’t make this change.

Wrestle with this challenge.

Choose.

  • Stay tuned, over the next few weeks, I’ll be serving up some tasty insights when it comes to nutrition.
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share save 171 16 What We Eat Is Our Business
  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1202535549 Lisa Frederiksen

    Excellent article!! I couldn’t agree more. Your 4 points under “What We Really Need Is This” section are spot on!

    • Sarah

       Lisa, thanks for commenting. Those 4 points are indeed so essential – harder to manifest than rules but more effective in the long run.

  • Caroline

    I like the part about making healthy food the food you want to crave. I am living this life now after rehauling my diet following an autoimmune disorder diagnosis. I now eat gluten-free, wheat-free, dairy-free and sugar-free as possible, under my nutritionist’s guidance. I now crave quinoa, and truly relish and look forward to my usual snack – an apple.

    • Sarah

       Caroline,  congratulations on developing a diet that helps you with your autoimmune disorder. And great to hear that you instinctively feel the diet is becoming not a chore or burden but a ticket to greater comfort. Keep it up. I love quinoa for breakfast with apple chopped up in it! Thanks for joining in the conversation

  • brettblumenthal

    In many ways, I agree with you. Ownership of your choices is really most important. But many people don’t want to take ownership. What do we do with those people? Many people don’t care about their health. What do we do about those people? In the end, the people who care will inevitably pay for the people who don’t. What do we do about that? This is surely a challenge. And frankly, I’m not sure I know the right answer, but I do think change has to start somewhere…real change. Awareness is a first step. Some thoughts on this from my side (which I know you read :) ) http://sheerbalance.com/brettsblog/the-new-york-cit-sugary-drinks-soda-ban-had-to-happen/

    • http://www.facebook.com/sarah.clachar Sarah Clachar

      Brett, that’s why I take my work as an educator and parent so seriously. Along with my responsibilities as a citizen of such a unique country to protect our freedoms and nurture the responsibility that keeps freedom possible and challenge my neighbors to do so as well. As many of our founding fathers noted, democracy is messy and inefficient. My mother visited Syria years ago and noted how orderly and safe it was. In terms of running the country, by these measures, Assad did a good job . . .

  • http://www.facebook.com/dave.bowland Dave Bowland

    Hey Sarah. Great article.  I agree 100% that what we eat is our business.  It’s not just because a ban won’t work.  But because its wrong to force people to make the choices you think they should make.  That’s what freedom is -  the freedom to make choices others may not agree with.  Brett Blumenthal commented on this page that we can’t necessarily let people make their own decisions because others will end up paying for their bad choices.  The only reason that is true is because of socialized health care.  If people actually had to bear the responsibility for their food choices and lifestyle choices, they might think twice about drinking the head-sized bottle of coke, or eating the bacon double-cheeseburger with fries.  If there is no socialized medicine, those making healthy choices DO NOT pay for those who make un-healthy choices.  I make mostly healthy food choices, but once in a while I drink coffee, have a can of soda or eat a chocolate bar.  That’s my right.  I know they aren’t a good choice but I make it in full knowledge.  And no one else has the right to tell me I can’t.  Keep up the good work!

    • http://www.facebook.com/sarah.clachar Sarah Clachar

      Hello David! I agree heartily. Admittedly, we all pay the cost of our neighbor’s poor choices in the long run at some level – whether socialized medicine or not. But the question is whether we’re willing to trade in our freedoms to alleviate these costs or look for other – and I believe – more effective ways.

      When you take away people’s choices you also take away the pressure for them to learn to exercise judgement and deal with the consequences – which is one of the best teachers. This is not heartless, forget about the rest. This is about genuinely wanting to help people regain control over their lives as well as preserving the incentives – like benefits for people who do make those often challenging steps to take control. This is about not settling for easy answers that don’t do much – but dealing with the reality and how to change it for real – messy as it is! As we tell our kids, “Either you take responsibility or someone is going to take responsibility for you”.

      Thanks for stopping by.

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