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Cultivating Good Food Habits in a Culture of Bad Food

changing food cultureThere is no doubt that the human diet has changed over time in relation to what’s available and the way we live. We no longer have to hunt for, or gather, our own food and we have far more choices than our primitive ancestors.  Mass production and distribution has also lowered the quality of food we eat. All of this has led to the current epidemic of obesity and type 2 diabetes.

It’s a cultural problem because food is deeply rooted in culture. The way we eat is learned from the familial and cultural environment we live in. You may raise your kids with strict dietary guidelines at home but as soon as they go to school, or their first sleepover at a friends’ house, they will be exposed to a different standard.

The Ups and Downs of Cultural Re-education

Many of us have experienced the roller coaster of health and diet information that has come out over the past 50 years. Eggs and butter were bad and now they’re good; grains were once considered the staple of our diet but current trends have us going grain-less. The most recent one is the benefit of drinking coffee and tea, especially caffeinated types, after years of being told to reduce caffeine intake.

It’s no wonder we can’t figure out what to do. Meanwhile, those yummy high-end ice creams seem like healthy choices. We feel frustrated that we can’t just eat what we like to maintain health and wellness, so the mind and emotions begin to shut down from information overload.

Let’s make it simple

Mom always said, “Eat your vegetables.” Well, mother’s intuition was right even if her method was lacking. Natural and unprocessed plant food should make up the bulk of our diet. In addition to that, moderate intake of animal protein and fats is reasonable. And then, we need to get out in the sunshine and play more actively. Mom always used to say that too – “go outside and play!”

Seriously though, eating right in a culture of wrong is not easy. We’re in a hurry, we feel stressed, we’re not sure what to buy because we never learned how to prepare healthy and natural meals. We dread eating vegetables as if we were that child being forced to sit at the table until we finished our overcooked green beans or spinach. (The child’s intuition was right here – overcooked vegetables are not good.)

The results are in but it’s still your choice

Science and medicine are now backing up with data the benefits of natural unprocessed food and a plant based diet. However, you and I are the only ones who can change culture through our daily choices. When enough individuals decide to reinvent their health and wellness by making better food choices, then those food choices will become the norm.

We are already seeing a shift but it has not reached the tipping point yet. Grocery stores and restaurants are beginning to offer better choices, but there is still a lot of temptation and misinformation out there. That’s why it’s up to each individual to re-educate themselves and make better informed food choices, knowing that today’s choices will contribute to making a healthier culture for future generations.

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