Food choice by environment.
Your environment, it impacts the way you feel, behave, think, eat, sleep, and more. For this writing, I'd like to focus on how our environment impacts the way we eat.
Recently, I was in a conversation with a woman from the South. We got on the topic of food, and she proceeded to say how "down south we eat a lot of fried food." This perception was her reality based on her surroundings and conditioning. Just because she lives down south, does that mean that she automatically eats fried food? No. It's just that fried food has become the environment she is surrounded by consistently.
This cultural norm can be real for any other environment we find ourselves living in. It can be a coffee shop influencing us to drink coffee, a health food store inspiring us to choose a smoothie, a cluttered kitchen making us feel shut down without clarity on what to eat, a beautiful space with tranquil music making us feel calm, and so on. When day in and day out we're confronted by the same environment we are then pulled in the direction of the same choices we've been making. These choices are often unconscious and lead us toward what we don't ultimately want for our health.
So if we take the example of the woman from the South, she is already predespositioned to gravitate toward fried food choices. Everywhere she turns she will be confronted by those choices that she might not want to make for her health. This scenario becomes a challenge, and it requires awareness to start making some other decisions.
If we take a look at how we can apply the fried food example to a progression, we can take a look at the fast food mentality often found in the Midwest. Now, I'm not picking on any specific groups here; I'm attempting to bring awareness to the mindsets found in various environments and how it impacts decision making. We can learn from these examples to improve our decision making. The fast-food mentality might have us choosing a grilled chicken sandwich compared to the fried food choice, or a lower calorie count than the "bad" fast food place, but the quality of these foods is still weak. We can apply this example to any food choices we make while eating out, such as the low-quality muffin you pick up on the way to work. The nutrients essential to the health of the body are still missing.
So how can we go a bit further to make better choices for ourselves? Taking the fast food examples, we can start looking for a better choice, such as Chipotle Mexican Grill. Chipotle strives to deliver food with real flavors, that comes from responsibly sourced, real ingredients. So, why should you care? Because, by choosing a burrito from Chipotle instead of a Big Mac from McDonald's, you've just made considerable gains in improving your health. You're now eating real onions, rice, peppers, beans, meat, etc. You've also started to change the environment where you eat and also improved the quality of the foods you're eating. Now you're on to something.
We can take this a step further. We can start to look at how is the food prepared. Same goes for eating out and for foods we make ourselves. Is the food smothered with all sort of creamy dressings, heavy sauces, or a massive list of ingredients? Remember, more isn't always better when it comes to preparation. Simple ingredients combined well with the combination of flavors is what makes it tasteful.
Now that we're making higher quality food choices, we have the last part of the equation to these food choices - our ability to absorb the nutrients from these quality foods. I call this part, Quality Eating. "How" we eat plays a significant role here. Are we eating under stress? Are we eating too fast? Are we breathing when we eat?
I hope this has given you a glimpse of how starting from our environment; we're sent on a projection toward eating a certain way.
I want to summarize this progression of food choices for you.
Unhealthy Fried Food >> Fast Food Choices >> Quality Food Choices >> Quality Eating
Quality Food Choices and Quality Eating must be in place for us to be at our optimum health.
Remember, food is meant to be enjoyed. Eat up!
What do I do now?
In my health coaching practice, I help my clients discover how to choose foods that are right for them, and create healthy habits that stick for good.
If you feel frustrated by falling off track with your health goals and need help discovering what’s keeping you from transform your health, click here now to schedule a time to talk to me.
Peace + Love,
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