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Hungry for Health

Hungry for Health

I wish I could major in Netflix documentaries because I kid you not, I watch enough to make it a full time job. Anyway, I recently watched a documentary called Hungry for Change that completely changed my perception of healthy eating. I mentioned in a previous post that I consider myself a fairly healthy college student. I never gained the Freshman 15 or 30. I was careful about dorm food portions and choices. When I moved into an apartment and then a house my sophomore and junior years respectively, I tried my best cooking and eating mostly healthy foods. Mostly being the operative word.

After watching Hungry for Change, which I’m going to do a pathetic plug for this entire blog post, I realized my idea of what’s healthy has been completely skewed for a number of years. My parents have been buying organic food for our family since I was in 7th grade so I’m surprised I haven’t done more research before this point, but what society is telling us is healthy is not.

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So many of us are picking out food at the grocery store that says “low-fat” or “sugar free” or “skinny” or “weight watchers” or “healthy” or “natural” when in reality none of that packaging is being honest. Instead of picking up boxes and reading how many calories, fats, and sugars there are, we need to be picking up boxes and reading what the ingredients are. It’s so simple, but it’s something hardly anyone does.

After watching this movie, I grabbed a box of Roundy’s brand graham crackers and was completely appalled to find the number of ingredients I couldn’t pronounce. Those funny words aren’t the least bit funny. They’re scientific chemicals put in our food to make us eat more, because if we’re eating more than food companies are selling more. It’s an advertising ploy that is costing all of our health.

I won’t reiterate the entire movie. I’ll urge you to watch instead. It discusses food chemicals I was relatively aware of – high fructose corn syrup, aspartame, monosodium glutamate, etc –  but hadn’t taken the time to fully grasp or worry about until this point. I’ve finally reached a point where making some Mac & Cheese with preservatives or snacking on granola bars chalked full of artificial sugars isn’t something I want to continue doing. I value my body and I want to keep it in the best shape possible for as long as possible.

That leads me into my new eating regimen. I don’t do diets or pills or fads or anything of the sort. I buy over 80% fresh fruits and veggies, I compliment it with lean proteins, a very limited amount of breads/grains/pastas, and dairy as I see fit. Then, because I believe in indulging, I have homemade desserts or a really good slice of pizza occasionally. I don’t think it’s realistic to cut out all unhealthy foods. Our bodies have been exposed to them and we crave them, but filling our portions with fruits & vegetables will definitely offset the amount of bad foods we’re eating.

I’ve only been doing this for about 6 weeks but combined with vigorous exercise at least 4 times a week my skin and body have felt amazing. It’s such simple changes, but I can honestly say it’s been making a huge difference.

For example, lunch today:

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An absolutely delicious Mexican Chopped Salad

The recipe for which can be found here if anyone is interested.

As I near graduation and my wedding, keeping a healthy, fit lifestyle is something I want to put at the front of my priorities. When I go into a grocery store now I use my experience in public relations and advertising classes to remind me what food companies are trying to do. They aren’t trying to keep you healthy. They’re trying to sell their products. Shop with your body, not your cravings in mind.

What do you think of diets/counting calories? Have you ever watched a documentary that changed your habits? Where do you find your favorite recipes?

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