This truism applies to our relationship with food and health, as well. Everybody wants to be healthy, but nobody wants to change what they're eating. So, yes, it's true: people want to have their cake and eat it too.
I get it. Habits are hard to break. Certain treats feel like rewards after a long week at the office or at home! But everything worthwhile requires some effort and sacrifice. I see the same students in my Body & Soul exercise classes week after week. They could be doing anything else: sleeping in, gardening, taking care of errands, you name it. But they show up time and again, sacrificing other things to commit themselves to movement. And their bodies are the better for it.
Maybe it seems easier with exercise because everyone knows it is good for you. There is agreement. But with food, how do you decide which diet is best?
Here's something most every diet agrees on (at least those that are not trying to sell you special powders or products). Ultra-processed foods are to be avoided. What do I mean by ultra-processed? These are foods that are de-natured and refined, foods whose nutritional content has been stripped or changed so that it no longer nourishes us as it would have in its original form. Just this past week, the University of Sao Paolo and Tufts University released a study that indicated that 50% of the American diet is made up of such foods. And these processed foods make up 90% of the sugar intake of Americans. No wonder we are sick and tired!
Some people call this "clean eating" because you are getting away from the junk that is sold as food. To step away from these processed foods, we've got to shop the perimeter of the supermarket. Let's fill our carts with food without labels. We can find this kind of food at farmer's markets, too. Or we can get farm deliveries or join a buying club. Maybe it's time to garden. For our health, though, we must begin to do whatever we can to avoid these overly manipulated foods and oils with extra additives, preservatives, colorings, flavorings, and sugar.
It will take effort, so in a sense it may feel like you are dying at first. But soon you will reap the reward of "health heaven." Trust me. Heaven is for real.
P.S. If you're ready to take the plunge but need more inspiration and how-to's, listen to this podcast episode "No refined or denatured foods" with Sally Fallon Morell, the head of the Weston A. Price Foundation.