Living and Thriving Gluten Free

Healthy & Whole Food Eating

Categories: Mindset & Attitude    

What we think about food affects how we feel about it, and whether we think it's good, bad or somewhere in between.

Chocolate ice cream with berries and chocolate sauce
Image by: Racool Studio

Reviewing the Origins of Our Diet Knowledge:

Where do many of our ideas about foods come from? Did you learn about it in school, from your childhood friends, your grandmother, someone with a serious overweight problem, your vegan neighbor, your health nut aunt, your slob alcoholic uncle, media advertisements, etc.?

For most of us, most of what we know about food is not from neutral sources. Virtually everyone has some sort of agenda that colors what they think and what they promote to us.

Your school will teach what's in the curriculum, which is likely based on the country guidelines.

Your childhood friend... well, for one thing, they were a child, they likely have no clue, and nor did you.

Your grandmother may have some good habits and some bad. But there's no way to know for sure.

Your fat friend will most likely give you advice that will make you just as fat as them.

Your vegan neighbor has a narrow focus, where no animals can get hurt in all the advice they give. They ignore the nutritional deficiencies in a vegan diet, and very likely don't even know that's an issue.

Your health nut aunt probably has a weird combination of eating and nutritional habits, with lots of supplements and strange green juice and powders to add to everything.

Your slob alcoholic uncle... well, whatever he knows about food it pretty much useless.

Media advertisements have only one purpose, and that's to sell as much of what they make to as many people as possible, and have their production costs be as low as legally and humanly possible.

As you can see, the vast majority of what we think we know about food is from sources that have no basis beyond opinion, habit, history or some pretty drastic agendas.

Separate Emotional Attachments from Food:

The main take away from this is simply that what we think we know about food may not be as solid as we thought it was. With this knowledge we can choose to also separate the emotion from what we know.

If your goal is to get healthier and you want to include diet changes, it's a lot easier if we separate the emotion from our knowledge. When we learn something new, and it means something we've been doing needs to stop, it's easier to change if we don't have strong emotional ties to our food knowledge.

For example, maybe your grandmother always made you the best chocolate sundaes, or had a specific brand of peanut butter just for you, or always bought you your favorite candy bar. This can create an emotional attachment to these foods.

Then when we know we need to stop eating them it becomes a lot harder to give it up. A part of our brain thinks if we give up the food, then we also give up the positive emotions we have toward our grandmother.

If we can try and separate the emotions from our knowledge, we can make it easier to make changes.

I like to sort of put all this kind of info on an "Info Pile." It's just an impersonal collection of data. I don't believe it or disbelieve it. It's just info. I can make decisions based on my current knowledge. If I find some new info that overrides something already on the info pile, then I can just let the old info go. No attachment. I adjust my decisions and continue on.

Marketing Influences:

For many of us, marketng is one of the biggest influences that colors our food knowledge. Manufacturers have huge budgets to employ marketing firms to create their advertising. They have teams of lawyers to scour through the various laws so they know what words they can use that won't get them in trouble.

An example is in the use of the world "Natural." It doesn't have a legal meaning and is highly misused. Most people think it means something better than a product that isn't labeled natural. Unfortunatley that's not true.

Another trick is to use what might just appear as flowery language. An example was an old milk commercial. It went something like this: Milk has calcium. Calcium is good for you. Mild does a body good. Notice that it's 3 distinct short statements. Each statement is separate and stands alone. Legally they don't actually connect.

I can't remember what the "missing facts" were related to this, but due to the way it was constructed, simply making 3 single, final statements in a row, was a legal way of not actually saying something like this: Milk has calcium which is good for you so drink milk.

Marketing is a massive industry, especially in the food manufacturing industry. They've been working on their skills, combined with psychology for over a hundred years, and are absolute masters at this.

Being aware of this is extremely useful, and it would be wise to pretty much ignore everything they say.

Different Perspective on Ingredients:

Food additives are a big part of almost every packaged food. The main thing to keep in mind is that there is no additive invented that makes your food better for you. They have all been invented for the benefit of the manufacturer.

Yellow food coloring is not added to margarine to make it better for us. It's added to make us think it's sort of the same as butter.

MSG is not added to make good food taste better. It's added to make poor quality, tasteless food products seem like they taste good by affecting our brain into thinking it's good.

Vitamins aren't added to white flour to make it more nutritional. It's added because the process of making white flour stips it down to contain virtually no nutritional value whatsoever. That was started long ago when white flour was first being made.

People were used to whole grain or rough ground brown flour that still contained a variety of nutrients. When people started switching to white flour, they started getting some serious life threatening nutritional deficiencies. These deficiencies caused beriberi, pellagra and anemia. The damage was so bad that the regulators told them to put in some of the lost nutrients to at least prevent the worst problems.

The list goes on for every additive created. They are made for reducing costs, allowing lower quality ingredients to be used, add flavors that are either cheaper than normal herbs and spices, or to add flavor to something that has no flavor on it's own, and to extend shelf life, etc. They are not made to be better for you.

In Conclusion:

Try changing the way you think about food. Work on dismantling some of the myths you may have about some food. Also think about some good things you know that you can use to make better choices to feed you and your family.

Changing how we look at food is a learning process. Some will be negative, and some will be positive. Work towards getting a mix, so you don't get frustrated with the negative things, and so you don't get rose colored perceptions of other things that you think are good.

You're bound to make choices that aren't perfect. That's ok. Continually learn and adjust and over time you'll make more informed decisions. Be open to challenging your beliefs, for what to remove, what to add and what to simply adjust.

If you're in the mood to try some more home cooking, be sure to check out our Recipes section, where you're bound to find something that your whole family will enjoy.

Learn, eat and enjoy!


Citations - References - Resources
FREE Guide
10 Steps to Healthy Gluten Free Eating
GF 10 Steps Guide
The 10 Step Guide is packed full of tips, tricks, recipes and regular Member only tips to get you started on the road to living healthy without gluten.
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