Recently a friend of mine asked me to make for him a week long meal plan. I said I would, but on the inside I had many qualms about this idea. I have extensively talked and wrote about the fact that meal plans and diets are quite honestly, stupid. They are temporary solutions for a long term problem. In my personal opinion, meal plans and diets offer tantalizing commitment for a predetermined amount of time and afterwards, you slip back into your old routines. It is a topic that has bothered me for quite a while.
In our society of quick fixes we do not find the perseverance within ourselves to commit. What I love to say is that it is not a diet, it is a lifestyle. That statement is the basis for much of my thoughts on this topic. We, as a society, have become weaker and weaker in recent years. Now let me pose this thesis to you. Food is much of the basis of who we are as humans, it is one of the three tenants of survival, which are food, water, and shelter. In our beginning years as a species the quest for food was what drove us to explore and to leave our lands to find new ones. Throughout history food has been a centerpiece of living anywhere on this planet. My thesis is this: if food is so vital to us and our society makes it poisonous and quick, we are weakened at every meal. We are weakened physically and mentally. We lose our ability to commit and, even if we could commit, we would not be able to due to the sicknesses that our contemporary food brings.
Our perspective on food and health in general should not be one that is temporary. We should not look in the mirror and subsequently crack open a diet book or pull up a meal plan and believe that that means "health." Health is a mindset and a lifestyle. Now like any good essay should, I am going to support my thesis with evidence. Weakness by definition is "the state or condition of lacking strength," now when I say that we are weakened by food this is what I mean. Hippocrates said, "Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food." This in and of itself is a quite famous quote, but in the simple act of saying the quote it develops two pathways that society can take. The first is the right one, the path of letting food be our medicine. The second is darker and the one that we are on, the path of letting food be a drug and using drugs to combat what food causes. The saturated fats, processed sugars, processed breads, and so many more poisons that we constantly ingest at every meal simply cannot and are not beneficial to us as humans. The human body runs on these six basics: carbohydrates, protein, fat, vitamins, minerals, and water. These nutrients, ideally, should be consumed via natural pathways. However, let me tell you the equivalents of these nutrients in our contemporary food landscape.
- Our carbohydrates are heavily processed breads and pastas.
- Our protein comes from meat that is filled with disease, detrimental carcinogens, and saturated fats.
- Our fats are saturated and clog our arteries, such as butter and meat.
- Our vitamins and minerals come in pills.
- Finally, we forget about water, instead we turn towards alcohol and soda.
Now with this list it might seem that we are getting the six basics of food that our body needs. But, look closely. All of the ways we gain these nutrients in our society are poisonous to our body. It is not fueling us in any way. It is destroying our bodies and minds and creating a mindset of willing acceptance of failure. Because, we as a society have failed to provide for ourselves in a healthy way. We have failed each other and are killing ourselves with the food that we eat. Appealing to the parental side of all of us, not only are YOU eating the poisons of our society, but so are your children or future children. We are not only killing this generation, but those to come also. It is estimated that there will be a 33% increase in obesity prevalence and an 130% increase in severe obesity prevalence over the next two decades (Obesity and Severe Obesity Forecast Through 2030). Also, heart disease is a leading cause of death in America.
Our society has the perpetual ignorant arrogance to believe that we can cheat death. We eat whatever we want, whenever we want, because of the access that we are privileged to have. Then we fall in love with the pretty pharmaceutical commercials that we see and we go to our doctor to get prescribed yet another temporary solution. Then if those don't work or you feel that you want something "more," you pick up that diet book or meal plan. We return again to the quick fixes, but we are weak and we fail.
Now I may have painted a bleak picture of our contemporary landscape, but in reality it is not. When I say that we are weak I am simply saying that we have become accustomed to weakness. We have gotten comfortable in failure. However, in my opinion there is most definitely a way out of this perpetual cycle of binge, medicate, binge, medicate, diet, binge, and on and on. In my opinion the way out is not through a meal plan or a diet book. It is simple and yet the most difficult thing that you will ever do. It is to commit. It is to commit to the truest possible you and take those first steps onto your honest journey. Take those first steps and don't look back, there will be challenges of course, but you must and will find it within yourself to persevere. You must break the paradigm of health and sickness and become an example for those around you. Find the joy of a good, whole food meal and the happiness in living out true health.
This journey is one that will be fraught with challenges and even failures. If you eat that hamburger, do not beat yourself up over it, simply acknowledge that you did, and recommit to the journey. It is not so much as to change your life, but your mindset. That is what the journey is and what diets or meal plans do not allow for. They do not reinforce the practice of commitment that must stem from your mental will to persevere. In a larger sense your awareness of both failure and success is a learned ability to have those two be teachers to you. Learn from both failure and success.
So in our world let's all move away from the diets, the meal plans, and the quick fixes. Let us all find our own true journeys and commit to them.
Have a great week of commitment,