Many many years ago, the food industry discovered something amazing. If they could make your food taste good, you’d buy it. And usually in mass quantities. They also had to make it look good but that wasn’t quite as important. There were study groups done. People were brought in to taste the food and give feedback. How does it taste? What do you think of the appearance? There was, however, a notable exception to the feedback they sought. “How does it make you feel?” “Is it good for you?”
The term “Blind Taste Test” was coined. And the marketing world rejoiced! They discovered a very simple thing. Appeal to one of the senses and people will want that sense appeased again and again. If someone made a specific consistency of poo and made it particularly tasty, people would pay to eat it. Now that may be a bit of an extreme example but it essentially is the basis for all of the junk food on the market. No better example of this exists than McDonald’s. Allow me to share a personal experience. About a year and a half ago, which happens to coincide with the very last time I ever ate fast food, I’d forgotten to prepare my lunch for work. I wasn’t into healthy eating yet. I figured, what the heck, I’ll grab Mickey D’s for lunch. Now, at that time, I hadn’t had fast food for lunch in a while. Not for the sake of health but for the sake of economy. I was bringing leftovers for lunch to save money. So, that day, I drove over to the Mickey D drive-thru and ordered up an old favorite, two double cheeseburgers, small fries and a large Diet Coke. YUM! Lunch was served! I sat in my car and delighted in the greasy goodness. Then I took the remnants of my large soda and returned to work. Sitting at my desk, with a ton of work in front of me, I discovered something that was truly eye-opening (or eye-closing as you will see). I felt like crap. Suddenly I was tired. I had the after lunch drag like I hadn’t had in months. I actually felt my eyes closing a couple of times. In case anyone didn’t know, falling asleep on the job is NOT a good thing! I started thinking about why I was so damn sleepy. I’d actually gotten a pretty good night’s sleep the night before. I eliminated every possible contributing factor but one. That garbage I’d put in myself at lunch was actually performing the opposite task of what food is supposed to do. Rather than fueling my body, it was draining my body. I visualized my system looking at this glob of useless crap and thinking “What the hell am I supposed to do with this??” “Hey brain? Do you recognize this stuff? No? Stomach? Do you? No?” You get the picture. I think my body was using all of its available energy trying to figure out what to do with the non-useful calories I’d just supplied it.
That was a bit of an epiphany for me. My mother, though not in any way practiced in the arts of proper eating, had a saying she would throw out fairly often. “Eat to live, don’t live to eat”. That moment when I’d eaten the double garbage burgers was the moment when I truly knew the meaning of that saying. Food is NOT intended to satisfy any of your senses. Of course, I get that it’s easier to eat something if it has a good smell, taste, texture, etc… BUT that is not its primary purpose. Food’s entire reason for existence is to fuel your body. Now, you have a choice. You can pull up to the pump and fill your main vehicle with the cheapest, lowest grade fuel out there and end up with knocking, pinging and, eventually a blown engine. Or you can choose premium. And therein lies the comparison to our cars and our bodies. A car is, in many cases, the second biggest financial investment we will make. We pamper it, we give it the specific fuel it needs. We change the oil and use the best oil we can get. We wash it, detail it. We make sure that baby purrs like a kitten. But the one body we were given, the body that we have to live with our whole lives, we treat like it’s disposable. If it tastes good, we’ll shove it in our mouths. Look below, and tell me if you can identify this:
Grab a hold of that and have yourself a good, long taste! That, my dear readers, is chocolate in its raw form. The chocolate manufacturers knew that you’d never buy THAT! So, they cook it up, process it, color it and load that puppy FULL of processed sugar! Now, there’s something that people will eat! Oh wait! Let’s form it into nice little shapes so it’s kind of cool looking. There we go:
Nice! people are going to buy the shit outta THAT! What? Nutritional value? Well, it had some before we processed it but who cares about that? This shit TASTES good!
Back to my car comparison. if someone came up with a gasoline that smelled like roses, had a rich, golden appearance and even felt good but would blow your engine in 30K miles, would you use it? I’m pretty sure you wouldn’t. But that standard doesn’t hold true for our own, precious bodies.
C’mon, people! THINK about what you’re putting in yourself! There are a TON of options that actually taste good, feel good, look good AND are good for you. It’s just a matter of adjusting your tastes. Which, by the way, is something that can be done with consistency. I used to be a freak about donuts. Dunkin’, Krispy, Entemann’s it didn’t matter. Donuts were life for me. Today, a year plus after I worked on changing my perceptions of food, I look at a donut and get zero cravings. In some way they now repulse me. You can get there, too. Just start thinking about every thing that you are putting in your mouth. Ask yourself “What am I getting out of this?” If the answer is just “It tastes good” or “It smells good” then don’t eat it. Get something that tastes good, smells good AND can fuel you properly. Go for Premium instead of Regular. I promise you, you won’t regret it.
Eat to live, don’t live to eat
Until next time, stay strong