We all love food and eating. You’ve probably heard the saying: “You are what you eat.” You possibly know that we should be eating five pieces of fruit and vegetables daily, but have you thought about why you need food?
Simply put, the food you eat needs to provide you with all the building blocks that your body needs – so energy, fats, carbohydrate, protein, vitamins, minerals, essential amino acids to name a few, not forgetting fibre. If you are deficient in these elements, then your body, mind and health will suffer – possibly involving conditions such as anaemia, scurvy and rickets.
This topic is huge, so I would like to start the conversation by getting you thinking about the food you eat.
What am I eating?
- Is it fresh, homemade, ready-made or processed food? What percentage of your daily intake falls into each of these categories?
- What is the variation? How much of your diet is made up of vegetables, meat, fish, dairy, carbohydrate and fruit. Of these categories how varied is the food in each one? Do you eat a rainbow of colours with your fruit and vegetables?
- What quantity of food? How much of each type, at each meal and how many meals per day This is where you might consider the calories that you are eating – but remember you can have good and bad calories. Good calories are where there is a lot of nutritional value whereas bad would be sweets/chocolates etc.
- What is the quality of your food? Where does your food come from? Do you know under what conditions it was produced, the growing, harvesting? How long has it been on the shelf? If you are eating food that is pre-made – then how much has it been processed and how many chemicals are in there, and what exactly are you eating? There is a drive at the moment to ‘plant based’ foods – but how are you getting ‘plants’ to taste like burgers? How much processing of ‘plants’ is involved to produce some of the food that is now available?
- When am I eating? What are your eating habits? Do you start the day with breakfast, eat late at night, miss meals?
- How am I eating? Is it rushed and on the run, sitting on the couch watching TV, sitting down with family or friends at a table?
- Why are you eating? Is it because you are hungry, it’s a certain time of day, you need a sugar fix, you require comfort?
It’s surprising how much there is to think about! As a starting point, choose two or three of the above points and think about them in relation to the food you eat, moving on to the others. Would you like to make any changes to help you feel healthier and more energised?
Some further, interesting reading is available from these links:
This article was written by Karen Robinson our Clinical Director.