Once I was living on my own and buying the products that I choose, I started to consider the foods I was putting in my body. While I was never obsessive about such things, I did begin to educate myself on the importance of not simply eating, but making healthy choices. I began to read labels, follow articles about healthy living and slowly began to alter my eating habits.
By the time I hit my 30s, I began to notice my dark hair showing the odd signs of gray hair and fine lines began to show around my eyes. These realities further suggested the importance of taking care of my health, something I felt I did a pretty good job at, but could always be improved. One day my wife came home and I proudly announced that I finally transitioned to ‘100% not from concentrate orange juice’; reading the label she said, “That’s great, except it’s still no good”.
“What do you mean?” I protested. “It says 100% pure not from concentrate!” To which she responded: “See here, it says pasteurized. In other words, the process of pasteurization essentially leaves this juice void of all the good things the fruit originally offered”.
Shows what I knew. So the process of learning continued and I began to see more and more examples of products with great sounding labels like ‘100% pure’, ‘no added colors’ and ‘all natural’ assuming that what I was purchasing was good for me. The reality was that many of these products still contained Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO’s) or were grown with the use of pesticides or came from unsustainable sources.
Eating healthy seemed to be an immense task! But really it isn’t; in fact once you take the time to really understand what you put into yourself, the pattern of consuming becomes much less burdensome and very second nature.
While I absolutely take the time to indulge in the occasional fast food meal or sugary treat, day-to-day I have become a conscious consumer. Here are some helpful tips that I use when shopping for food:
· If you are unsure or cannot pronounce even one of the ingredients on a label, do not buy it; know what you are putting in you.
· If sugar, glucose or fructose is in the list of ingredients, do not consume it; refined sugar is extremely detrimental to one’s overall well-being (here is great article on this):
· Do not consume products that are produced with GMO’s; why mess with what nature does best?
· Buy organic products to ensure no GMO’s or pesticides are being used. While sometimes slightly more expensive, always ask what the cost to your health and longevity is?
· If you are unsure of how your food is processed (like me and pasteurization), research the process before consuming. Familiarize yourself with the fine print and make sure you know what you are putting in your body.
· Avoid products that are environmentally unsustainable by finding Fair Trade products or products grown locally. Farmer’s markets are great places for produce and local butchers a really good place for fresh, responsibly farmed meats.
· Be aware of how your meat is raised. I was shocked when I researched where much of our meat comes from. Now I search for meats that are free-range, fed on natural grains (not animal by-products) and raised in responsible, humane ways (or avoid meat all together).
Yes, eating healthy does mean making responsible choices, but should we not nurture the body and provide it the fuel necessary for a healthy, happy life? We would not put reused oil or dirty gasoline in our machines, so why would we do this to our body?
As I continue to age, my quest to live a healthy, happy life will grow. In the meantime, I will persist on making healthy choices and boycotting those products that promote profit over people. We only live once, so why not cherish the life we have!
Cheers to a healthy body, mind and spirit!
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