Below, some better food alternatives, instead of some regular eating mistakes. These alternatives will not promote ‘pharmaceutical eating’: swallowing for your health but without any pleasure. There is and should be a fundamental difference between taking in medicine and food. So, I won’t pressure you to give up on the joy of eating or being satisfied.
Tasteless Needless Foods
A big problem of eating largely tasteless foods that your body doesn’t need (white bread, white rice, white pasta, white eggs, white meat, etc.) is the addition of all kinds of stuff to artificially flavor them. These bland foods are not only bad for our wealth and health. They also take the place of tasty foods that are known to be supportive of human health.
So, first of all, enlarge the amount of naturally tasty foods in your diet. Most fruits, nuts, veggies, roots, grains, and oils bring their own great tastes. Cook red lentils in water until they dissolve. Great taste.
Watch out for misleading ‘information’ on food wrappers and in adds. On candy and alcohol, it may read, ‘Cholesterol 0’ but our body converts any excess in calories into cholesterol. Peanuts (are beans, not nuts), avocado, and olives have excellent vets — profit from them. Don’t toast your bread in air and then put fat on it; bake it in olive oil.
Slowly, reduce the total of tasteless “foods” you’re used to take in: meat (bland, needs spicing), white pasta, flour, and rice (bland, need salting), white bread (bland, needs butter, jams, cheese, spreads), caffeine drinks (bitter, need sugar, milk), alcohol (aggressive, needs any taste), etc.
When you crave the taste of animal produce (meat, fish, omelet, milk), you may buy plant-based fakes. That will be much better for the planet and may be slightly better for your health. Yet, they generally have many of the same health problems of their originals: tasteless made tasty by adding junk like spices, salts, sugar (artificial sweeteners seem poison), etc. As a half-way stage, it’s a good strategy to eat these replacements, while you’re getting used to more real foods. Check to get your vitamins.
Prioritize buying fresh locally produced unprocessed foods. Don’t over-buy so that you don’t need too big a fridge or to throw away food.
Also, stop giving perfectly tasty stuff the meat treatment. So, don’t sear up perfectly soft food, don’t put salt on cucumber, (window-)dressing on lettuce, sugar on grapefruit, chopped onion or alcohol in fruit salad, etc.
When you are craving salt, don’t put salt in the water you cook in. The food you cook will absorb the salt which you then don’t taste but you still bring into your body. Rather, after you poured off the water, mix in the salt. Better still: don’t salt food (hardly) at all. Before you take a bite, rub a minuscule amount of salt on your lower lip. The next bites will taste salty. If you still didn’t have enough, repeat.
Doctors still haven’t figured out why so many people suffer from the silent killer: high blood pressure. I’ll tell you: a ten-fold salt intake. Do you want to say: “Yes, but almost everyone does that and not everyone gets the bad result”? Answer: If a hundred people bang their heads against a wall, ten times per minute for a whole hour and three end up with a broken skull, do you wonder why they got a skull fracture? It’s from the banging. Do you wonder why the others didn’t? Of course not.
Quickly Bulk-Consuming Non-Foods
A big problem of snacking, quickly stuffing yourself with tasteless non-foods, is the addition of all kinds of stuff to give taste to them. Eating these non-foods also takes away your appetite. They take the place of tasty nutritious foods that may support human health. They also drive your addictions to bad stuff like quick sugars, alcohol, salt, etc. Snack on fruit, raw veggies (beets don’t need cooking, but peel them), carrots.
Fibers in your food, all on their own, can revolutionize your whole eating and digestion. Fibers force you to chew which leaves you more satisfied. They force you to slow down eating, which limits your intake. They make you feel full which helps you stop eating. They massage your bowel muscles for easier bowel movement (no more bathroom literature).
Potato and white flour give off their sugars quickly. Blood sugar level then rises fast too. A hormone to reduce it, is dumped into the blood. Sugar level falls quickly, making you feel hungry instead of satisfied. A sure way to make money: to have you eat calories that you don’t need.
Fake eating, chewing gum, tricks the body into believing that food is on its way in. It works better to seek some privacy (to concentrate on you) and feel your feelings and have some emotional release (yawn, cry, shiver, laugh, growl or talk out-loud, stretch, etc.). After that, you look not only cool but outright adorable. Same for nicotine and alcohol. A healthy way to consume them is by yawning. Before or after? Instead of!
Don’t forget to drink lots of water. Don’t flavor your drinks. Enjoy the contrast between the food tastes and the aqua. If you dislike the taste of water (some people do), add a few drops of apple vinegar.
Opening up a can is quicker than cooking a whole meal. It becomes a problem if the meal you would make would be better than the ready-made package contains. Say out-loud: me preparing food shows how much I really care about me. A great way to train yourself into self-love.
Emotional ‘Eating’ Problems
There is a real difference between eating what we need to maintain our health in ways that feel good and taking in stuff that hurts our health but tastes or feels good. The former is taking care of a rational need while the latter is an abuse of our body — to feel a certain way or (more often) to help ignore bad feelings not connected to nutrition or physical needs.
There is over-eating of calories to not feel lonely, smoking not to feel nervous (or bored), eating protein not to feel angry, drinking alcohol not to feel tense, consuming caffeine not to feel tired, etc. Try not to eat while you’re doing something else. Be mindful of your eating.
The best alternative is not just abstinence from junk intake and eating rationally. You felt “a need” to consume this junk for a reason. You were unhappy and you need to face those feelings and talk and cry about them. That makes them go away — and any urge to take in junk “foods.”
Let’s remember here too the opposite: people who can’t eat from being nervous or worried. Here helps eating tiny bits more than you feel like and then crying and trembling as long as you can (Therapeutic Eating).
Doctors know very little about food. They’re even less aware of the damage from emotional eating. They think that they can see the effects of bad eating in your blood tests. Yet, the worst bad effects of emotionally overeating, junk-eating of starvation lie in not crying when you need to.
Forgive yourself for not doing all of the above perfectly already/ever. We all have limitations and need to weigh priorities against each other. Perfectionism means ignoring the full scope of issues at play, implies a lack of balance, is a failure, is an imperfection. We thrive when we take all of life into account. This may here entail: money, habit, preferences, time, emotions, health, discomfort, carbon footprint, people close to us, not in any particular order. And steady change takes time. Give yourself time to improve. Decide to change slowly. Snap changes often don’t last.
Disclaimer: I wrote the above in a day. It can’t be perfect. Don’t sail blindly on whatever you hear or read anywhere. Check with your GP for the final word on what is healthy for you. Don’t die of a printing error!