Philosophically Eating: Deep thoughts on diet and wellness

It’s Saturday night as I write this. The street is buzzing with weekend revelry. My neighbours are boisterous and nonsensical. My husband and I in contrast, were just engaged in a quiet meaningful discussion about life. It had many tangents, some of which, were my evolving thoughts on healthy living. We were philosophically speaking of philosophical eating.

I’m not sure I can properly reconnect all the dots. Instead, I will share with you some of “the dots” as they were. I only hope I do this great conversation justice. Forgive me if this comes off somewhat disjointed.

We talked about knowledge versus desire. The more I read about nutrition, the more I understand the science of body function and weight loss. Caloric intake, fat consumption, etc. basically come down to math which anyone can calculate. The information is available to us all. But even with that information, we are often challenged to reach our wellness goals. Why is that? I see that while humans possess wisdom and intellect, we act on desire. We give into the chocolate croissant craving knowing it will thwart our weight loss plans.

We talked about motivation. I’ve embarked on a new career in fitness coaching. I originally perceived my role as imparting workout and nutritional information. I see now how important the motivational component is. True success will come from motivating women to change their behaviour. My husband says the key is in uncovering and conquering  our fears. What is the fear that is holding us back from our goal? What prevents us from being the disciplined eater and active person we want to be?

We talked about value. I used to value my title and career path. I knew a lot of people who did. But I see a shift happening among my peers. Our generation seems to value freedom and self direction more than anything. Many of us are walking away from the traditional 9-5 employment paradigm. Some of us are stepping away from a life with 2.1  kids and a dog. We are reinventing the idea of family, with adoption and same-sex marriages for example. We are living by our own values. We are thinking about our values as they relate to our health, our appearance and our food consumption. For me, it’s becoming worth it to cut back on entertainment and clothing, in order to afford organic skin care products and farmers market produce.

We talked about choice. We have one life to live. That life is full of choices. Once we decide how we want to live, we make an ongoing series of choices that support that goal. One can choose to be a strong, energetic healthy individual. That person then decides to eat well, keep active, get rest and manage stress. By extension, that person may choose on most given days to eat a balanced breakfast, walk to work, go to sleep early or meditate before bed.

One can also choose to be unconcerned about wellness. That person can eat indulgently, be sedentary, lack sleep and maintain a high-stress life. Large doses of Double Whoppers, chauffeured rides, late night parties and fits of rage are then acceptable.

The point is that every choice we make either supports or opposes our goal.

We talked about modern day capitalist society. This one gets heavy. We basically talked about the down side to our style of modern living – the mass production of food; lack of business ethics; instant gratification; obesity problems, etc. Why are Coca Cola beverages allowed to be made and sold? Why are we so enamoured with lattes and frappuccinos? Doesn’t it just seem more natural to grow (locally) and consume real food? I have a greater appreciation now for such things as organic foods, local farmers and clean diets.

We talked about creation. As a Christian, this one is very meaningful for me. I believe God created the Earth. I believe God created man. I believe God put on this Earth everything man needs to be nourished. Our bodies were designed to function on all the nutrients, vitamins and minerals that natural foods provide. Fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, whole grains, fish, poultry, meat and water are our natural foods. It’s no coincidence that these are the backbone to any good diet.

I understand now why Rastafari talk about “living off the land”. I’m more open now to the need for cleansing (detoxing). I am increasingly suspicious about the prominence of cancers and other diseases. Doesn’t it stand to reason that consuming unnatural substances (not created for our bodies) would have detrimental effects?

We talked about repentance. Repent is Greek for “re-think” – literally to change ones mind. To change our well-being, we have to rethink our ways. Perhaps we need to rethink our response to desires. Maybe we need to rethink our fears. We definitely need to rethink our choices. And on an even deeper level, we can rethink our philosophies on society and its relationship with food. We can explore and act in accordance with our own values and beliefs.

Weight loss issues aside, I’m feeling drawn to a new way of living. My motivations are changing. Having trophies and skinny jeans feels great, but ethical sustainable living may feel even better. My pendulum is starting to swing.

I choose to be a strong beautiful vessel for this life God has given me. I accept the challenge that a disciplined life presents. I value my self and will make small changes to live accordingly.

Have I got you thinking?

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6 Comments

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6 responses to “Philosophically Eating: Deep thoughts on diet and wellness

  1. Hema

    Great post with lots to think about.

    Value: It’s a shift that requires a strong conviction sometimes to deal with the naysayers.
    Choice: This seems so simple and not much of a choice yet so many (myself included) choose unwisely. How & why did this happen to us?
    Motiviation: For me knowing that a strong person is behind me and believes I can do it does wonders. That’s what you are doing for me so thanks. (I’m also afraid you’ll kick my butt if I stray too far 🙂 )

    • Debbie King

      You are most welcome. And thank you. Your Plato and JFK quotes are what started this whole line of thinking. Bravo.

  2. Pauline

    This is a powerful post, Deb!

    It speaks to me on many levels and you have certainly got me thinking. These are topics that I think about quite often, in fact.

    Your “capitalist” point makes me go nuts when I start to think about it. I become furious with how far corporation have been allowed to go.

    I wonder what you think about this: food can do much more than nourish the body – it brings families together, it allows busy friends to meet and chat for even a half hour, it can mean a little break in the day for a busy mom. I feel like if I had to count calories and reduce what I eat to numbers, than I would take out all the soul out of what I am ingesting. Does that make sense? How do we reach that balance where a morning cappuccino might just mean a moment to pause and reflect?

    • Debbie King

      Great points Pauline! You are so right. Food and the enjoyment of meals have an important place in our lives.

      I think that when families come together, friends meet or mom takes a break, that event isn’t always so much about the actual food being eaten. Families can choose to dine over fish rather than pork for dinner. Friends can meet at Fresh or for sushi rather than at Terroni’s or Poutinis. And mom can pause over a nice hot americano or green tea rather than a macchiato.

      I think that with more general awareness of the qualities of foods there becomes less need to “count calories” per se. It becomes almost second nature and good choices are made without too much thought.

      • Pauline

        Yes. Really true, Deb. I like your response. I guess the long and short of it is that once you start making certain shifts in your life, the choices you make reflect this overall. I guess eventually it just becomes a lifestyle, rather than something you need to constantly think about.

        You know, when I think about this more, it comes to mind how privileged we are to even be having this discussion. To think there are people out there who are dying for a drink of water, meanwhile we get to count calories. Crazy times we live in.

        When we immigrated to North America from Poland over 20 years ago, my mom recalls walking into a grocery store for the first time and crying. She was completely overwhelmed by the choice. And, we did not come from a “poor” existence. My parents had a good life.

  3. Debbie King

    And let me add, that there’s always a time and place for indulgence with family, friends or all by your lonesome 🙂

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