Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Dependency vs. Moderation?



Often, when I speak to groups about ways to improve their health, I talk about the importance of decreasing dependency on processed food. Since 60% of the average American's diet consists of processed food (and only 3 1/2% consists of bright, colorful fruits and vegetables), I encourage them to eat MORE plant food and LESS processed food.

"Well, anything in 'moderation', right?" someone will inevitably say with a defensive tone as if I am telling them that THE only way to be healthy is to give up all processed food. I'm not. It isn't. What's important is for people to get in touch with what motivates their food choices, and to become really mindful of how the foods they eat make them feel. Sometimes, we eat food simply because we've always eaten it, and it doesn't occur to us to try a different way. Decreasing dependency on processed food is a way to interrupt the routine and experiment with other ways of eating. That can be scary for some people.

Moderation has different definitions for different people. Moderation has become a catch-phrase for those who don't know how to live mindfully. Moderation is often used as the knee-jerk excuse for someone to eat/drink something that they may be feeling conflicted about consuming. Moderation becomes a day in, day out way of justifying - to ourselves - that we deserve a particular substance that we are craving even when we know it will make us feel bad/bloated/lethargic/sick/etc.

Decreasing one's dependency on a particular food (or beverage or relationship, even) seems scary for some. Taking steps to decrease dependency means beginning with the acknowledgement that there is some sort of dependency going on. Being dependent on something means that we are reliant on it whether it's for convenience, for affirmation, or to attempt to squelch boredom.

Often, we become reliant on something because we've transferred feelings of inadequacy and/or scarcity onto that thing we crave. Then, if we can get it - and get aLOT of it, we feel a sense of abundance . . . FULL-fillment . . . order.

True, you may think that it's only about the Oreos or the Doritos or the soda, but with a deep sense of honesty with yourself, look below the surface and see if there's some dependency going on.

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