Despite a six-month writing slump, I remain as Truthologic as ever, and would like to share with you some thoughts as we enjoy this year-end holiday season. By no means do I want to put a damper on your celebration; I am simply serving up some food for thought as we give pause and gear up for the new year ahead.
NAUGHTY OR NICE?
The concept of Santa Claus rewarding only those children that have behaved is interesting. I would go as far as to say it is potentially misleading. For example, I don’t think any child has ever woken up on Christmas morning with a lump of coal in his/her stocking. So if all children are rewarded, regardless of their behavior leading up to Christmas, are we promoting a rule that is unenforceable? Now…take that same rule and apply it to our year-round eating behaviors. If someone is a consistently “naughty”eater, do you think that person will be in store for rewards or repercussions? Have the consequences of a poor diet been disregarded and overlooked due to this “Santa Claus syndrome” that teaches us that, in the end, everything will be okay? We know this is not the case in real life. This is something to ponder.
This is the time of the year when many people set aside their dietary principles and just go for it. Seconds? Yes. Dessert? Yes. Seconds on dessert? Sure, why not. The holiday season typically offers a wide array of gastronomic decisions. For that matter, even the non-holiday season affords us numerous food choices. From fruits to vegetables to meat to grains, and from sweet to salty to savory to spicy, we have SO many choices to make each and every day. Naturally, some foods are generally accepted to be more nutrituous than others. There are even some foods that have been linked to disease. For example, earlier this year, the World Health Organization put processed meats (bacon, hot dogs and sausages) in the same category of cancer risk as tobacco smoking. Despite these data and widespread headlines, foods like these continue to be mass produced and consumed on a regular basis. I can only imagine this is due to taste, societal norms and/or sheer habit. While I can certainly understand and appreciate the desire to eat a variety of foods – even those with a potential risk profile tied to disease – I often wonder whether or not people would be open to the idea of eating an extremely limited diet, if it offered the least possible chance of developing disease. In other words, if you could eat the same rigid set of foods over and over again each day – mindfully choosing nutrition/health over taste/habit – would you do it? I know this seems rather extreme and unorthodox, yet it is essentially what wild animals do. The diet of a wild animal is predetermined by nature, fairly limited and (to my knowledge) not disease-promoting. Dietary disease in the wild animal kingdom remains largely unstudied, but the data suggests that they do not suffer from non-communicable diseases (diabetes, heart disease, irritable bowel syndrome, etc) on nearly the same scale as humans. Regardless of our comparison to wild animals, I genuinely wonder if we would ever choose to adopt and embrace a more primitive diet in exchange for the promise of good health. Hmm.
3…2…1…HAPPY NEW YEAR!
A new year without a resolution is like chips without salsa, cereal without milk, peanut butter without jelly…..oh, you get my point. Our innate desire to improve and advance each year is incredibly admirable. Our success rate with new year’s resolutions, however, leaves a lot to be desired. This may be due to the circumstances surrounding our effort. After all, just because it is January 1st, does that mean we should be able to effectively change overnight? Many self-help experts claim that it takes 21 days to form a new habit. No matter what the magic timeframe is, repetition of a behavior definitely builds retention. That being the case – if you happen to be one of the millions of people who are destined to lose weight in 2016 – instead of “blowing it out” over the holidays and putting so much emphasis/pressure on the January 1st commencement, why not start now? I did. The Thanksgiving holiday was enough to bust my belt buckle, so I decided to get a head start on my new year’s resolution and start re-shaping my dietary discipline NOW. Strategically, I figure this will give me added momentum to begin 2016 strong and provide me with the best opportuity to succeed!
Wishing everyone a safe and enjoyable rest of 2015! Happy Holidays!!