Just because you can...doesn't mean you should

Just because you can do something it doesn't mean you should be.  

This is something we all need to realise when it comes to food choice. Just because it's on TV, or it has a pretty label screaming 99% fat free or that it's "fit for human consumption" it doesn't mean we should be putting it into our bodies. I used to work in advertising and I can tell you that the claims you hear about certain products are designed for one reason only, and that is to make you BUY it.  Period.  

Food manufacturers, distributors, marketers and stockists are not in business to look after your health, this is your job I'm afraid. So get savvy and start thinking for yourself when it comes to what you can and what you should do to optimise your health. Let's start with the size of your stomach. Your stomach stretches. But just because it stretches, it DOES NOT mean you should be abusing it. Our stomachs are controlled by our nervous system (amongst other things) and nerves fire off to tell the stomach to do it's duties. When we stretch it beyond its normal control these nerve impulses aren't as effective and over time our normal hunger/fullness signals get disrupted.  

Now, consider this scenario. I have a balloon sitting on a pile of feathers, I slowly fill the balloon with water as it starts to sink through the feathers. This is your stomach on too much food for too long, your stomach will sink down through your abdomen with the weight crushing the rest of the digestive system and other organs. Your stomach is the size of your fist - remember that. Your goal should be to take at least 20 minutes to let the proper signals tell your brain that you have had enough food, and not to eat till you are full, but to eat until you are no longer hungry.

Now lets move on to the art of getting food down the throat. You can swallow large things, but it doesn't mean you should be. See those white things in your mouth, they're called teeth and no, they're not sitting there waiting for you to pick food out of them or open a beer bottle with them, they're there to chew your food with. The reason we chew our food is to break it into small particles for digestion in the stomach and the small intestine, of which the nutrients will then be absorbed through the small and large intestine.

Do you really think you're going to absorb anything from that unchewed piece of meat?  We also chew our food and let it wash over our tastebuds to stimulate digestive juices, once the food is chewed it can be easily digested by the enzymes and acids in the digestive tract. Undigested food also has the ability to find its way into the blood stream if you have a leaky gut, and provides zero benefit. So for the sake of your nutrient intake, chew your food.

What about the food that makes us "feel fat" and bloated? You can eat bread, but if your stomach is bloating like a pregnant seahorse afterwards then why are you eating it? If you shoved arsenic into your body, you would get a negative reaction right? So why is the negative reaction of bloating any different? Your body has just given you a strong signal that it didn't like what you just ate, so you might like to actually listen to the message and erase the message that your brain keeps replaying in your head "But I LOVE bread, what else will I eat?" And how about the food that isn't. Sure, we can eat aspartame laden Weight Watchers cakes and diet softdrinks, but our bodies have not yet evolved (and I hope it never will) to do anything useful with these substances.

Here's a quiz....What is this food?  

Ingredients:

Chocolate Flavoured Topping (31%, Sugar, Water, Glucose Syrup, Cocoa Powder (3%), Vegetable Oil, Preservative - Potassium Sorbate, Emulsifier - Soya Lecithin, Citric Acid), Water, Vegetable Cream (14%, Water, Vegetable Oil, Sugar, Glucose, Milk Proteins, Emulsifiers - Polysorbate 60, Mono- and Diglycerides of Fatty Acids, Soya Lecithin, Stabilisers - Cellulose, Sodium Carboxymethylcellulose, Methylcellulose, Hydroxypropylmethylcellulose, Acidity Regulators - Sodium Citrates, Sodium Phosphates, Salt, Flavourings, Colour - Beta Carotene), Pasteurised Whole Egg, Oligofructose, Wheat Four, Vegetable Oil, Polydextrose, Modified Potato Starch, Skimmed Milk Powder, Whipping Cream (1%), Whey Powder, Stabilisers - Sorbitol, Carrageenan, Sodium Alginate, Salt, Milk Sugar.

Whether you believe in God or whether you are an evolutionist, the fact remains, neither of these creators intended us to eat this way. By the way, the above food item is a Weight Watchers Chocolate Eclair. And in case you think this is how eclairs are made, here's an ingredients list for Chocolate Eclairs from scratch. Milk, Water, Butter, Flour, Eggs, Sugar, Salt, baking chocolate.

So what if your two year old has left half a jam sandwich, they're obviously listening to their fullness signals and if you've already had lunch, you should be too. So what if Mary from accounts has baked the best chocolate cake ever... what if Mary bakes a cake every single day, does that mean you should be chowing down on cake every day?

So often people say "There was just a bit extra left" or "I couldn't let it go to waste".  Whether you eat it, someone else eats it or it goes in the bin it's gone to waste regardless. Why throw in extra calories that you're only going to berate yourself over or attempt to burn off anyway. Supplements? Sure I can go and eat a bunch of fat burners, but guess what - there's no way in hell you want to be around me when my nervous system high starts crashing.

The supplement industry is massive, and I hate to tell you this, but most of them are not in business for your health. The profit margin from manufacturer to retailer is massive, you are simply a $$ sign to these companies. Be mindful of the supplements you pump into your body. Mr Bodybuilder at Mr Bodybuilder's supplement shop might be right into his fat burners, but is it really right for you with 3 kids and a fairly stress filled day anyway?  

Trust me, you don't need the extra adrenal output. And that's where I'll end this wee blog. Your health is dictated by a number of things, but mostly it's by the materials... the building blocks that you put into your body.

Here's something that you can and should do.  You can take just a minute to think about your food choices, and you can choose to eat well, and you can choose to listen to your body...and you should.