Welcome to Part 2 of my two part Eating Philosophy blog post! Part 1 can be found here.
We’ve all been in a convenience store, fast food restaurant or grocery store between the hours of 11 and 1. There are people in there who have no plan or criteria for the ‘meal’ they’re about to call lunch. This observation can even be applied to a person opening their refrigerator - at lunchtime - and asking themselves, “What should I have for lunch today?” I’m sorry, but I don’t think any of us is very successful at making reasonable food choices when we’ve reached the point where we need food… now! I think at this point, giving in to ‘what sounds good’ is a formula for disaster! You’ve got to approach meals with the decision making and prep work already done. ...and if you’ll eat away from home, then the food, etc. should already be made and packed. I will explain this by describing what I ate for lunch today. I am a full-time teacher, so my Mon-Fri lunches are eaten at school. Today is Thursday, by the way. Today’s lunch occurred as it did because of the following steps. This doesn’t include the time/planning/thought involved in the three stages I outlined inPart 1 of this Eating Philosophy post. The ‘What’ to have for lunch took time, awareness, focus and thoughtful intention. Be sure to read that article here if you haven’t already.
The groceries and ingredients for my lunch today were purchased last Friday. The chicken was baked Sunday morning. The lunch was assembled last night and kept in the fridge. Everything I needed was packed this morning (including a fork and water) in this amazing bag. I HIGHLY recommend this bag!! It holds three 20 oz water bottles, a Blender Bottle full of Zest Tea, a Blender Bottle for Living Fuel, my lunch, two ice packs, two apples, plus side pockets for three greens powders' containers, forks, an olive oil bottle and pumpkin seeds! It’s a backpack which works slick for carrying, its top handle is super sturdy, or I load it on top of my travel crate for work since I travel between two elementary schools.
Our system is so slick that every step of this process is habitual and hardly given a thought. ...streamlined! And that’s the way food should be handled! Not emotionally. Not rushed. Not last minute, where quality options are not available. Hey, there’s a Kelly girl who promised to share what she and her husband have done to streamline their lives so as to take the decision-making and excess-thought-expenditure out of their days! She promised this would help free up time and energy to do additional things in their lives. Being intentional and having a plan are what she’s all about.
Now, just because you don’t frequent a gas station, grocery store, or fast food restaurant for your meals, doesn’t mean you’re off the hook for being guilty of approaching food like a scavenger. Our kitchens can also reveal just how guilty we may actually be. I know… because I used to be guilty! I used to have boxed convenience meals in our freezer and microwaveable single-serve stew and pasta entrees on our pantry shelves that were capable of sitting there months and months and were still be deemed ‘edible.’ But now our eating philosophy has changed drastically. If our fridge died and the food inside it spoiled…. we wouldn’t be able to assemble a meal! Granted, we could live on Living Fuel, Tanka bars, and nut butters and seed butters for a while, but we’d have to replenish a new fridge with fresh clean basics before we could prep an actual meal. And we take great pride in that. ...considering how far we’ve come!
If ‘food’ can be made and processed in one year, shipped to a store to sit on their shelf the next year, then purchased by you, only to sit on your pantry shelf for another year, before it is actually consumed…. then that particular food has got to have a different effect on your body than say, foods that are so fresh that they should be consumed within the 1-2 weeks it takes to get from source → store → home → our bellies! Think about it. Think about the difference between perishable fresh foods versus shelf-stable items that can sit for years and years. Think about what your body would prefer to process. To digest. To gain nutrients from. To tuck away deep within your body.
I know there are exceptions…canned albacore, nut butters, seeds and nuts, etc., but I think I’m beginning to prove my point, aren’t I? If not, let me remind you of some other beneficial guidelines to consider when purchasing the food you choose to consume:
*Keep the percentage of perishable items in your cart to most if not all of the groceries you’re about to purchase.
*Shop the perimeter of the store. This means fresh foods from coolers versus boxed processed foods.
*It is all about making a true lifestyle change.
*You should only eat food you can grow or kill.
*Be a hunter, not a scavenger. Let me explain by sharing some wisdom from pages 5 & 6 of Ori Hofmekler’s book The Warrior Diet...
“There are several distinct differences between hunters and scavengers. Hunters/predators work in order to get their food. They make a selection. They know exactly what they are after... They eat only when hungry. They have a sense of priority - and a sense of time. This is very important…”
“The scavenger is exactly the opposite. While hunters work hard to get their food, scavengers don’t. They pick up leftovers. While hunters have a sense of priority and know exactly what they need, scavengers have no clear sense of priority. While hunters will make a selection, choosing their food, scavengers eat whatever is available. While hunters eat only when hungry, scavengers eat all the time. While hunters eat warm, fresh, live food, the scavenger often eats cold, dead food. While hunters like to eat when it’s safe so they can relax, scavengers eat “on the go.” These comparisons might make you wonder what kind of person you are. Are you a hunter/predator or a scavenger? Be honest with yourself. Which do you want to be?”
“Can You Be a Hunter Without Hunting?
You may ask, ‘Are we all forced scavengers?’ The answer is mostly yes. ‘Are there really hunters anymore?’ My answer is that even though most of us no longer hunt in a traditional sense for our food, the Hunter Instinct is within us all - and you can easily switch it on. ‘Can you be a hunter if you choose your food but purchase it in advance?’ Good question.”
“With awareness, by choosing your own food you’re already working for it and making priorities. Once you reach the peak - by designing your meals, cooking your food, and understanding what tastes do for you - you are living like a hunter. You understand what you want, set your priorities, acquire your food and, as necessary, prepare it, all of which requires effort. You sit down for your meals and relax. Then when you eat you’re satisfied and you don’t need to eat more. People who shop in health food stores, even if they don’t understand exactly what they’re doing, are already a big step ahead because they at least have awareness and are making priorities and choices. The scavenger, by contrast, is like an idiot. An idiot is someone who doesn’t think about what he’s doing. A scavenger will pick up any food, not knowing its nutritional value or where it came from, nor care if it’s fresh, and eat it - just for the sake of eating… Hopefully I’ve put this all in perspective and you’re now in touch with (or at least aware of) this deep primal instinct within you, and within all of us - the Warrior Instinct.”
I love that. I’ve converted my eating philosophy to a Hunter mentality and I’m never going back!
I need to say one thing before I end this. I am highlighting observations of convenience store scavengers to you in order to make a point about the two ways a person can approach their next meal… not to judge the people making the choice. I have been that scavenger myself! Every time when break-time and lunch-hour rolled around at the grocery store where I worked part-time through high school and college. At home in my twenties. Even in packing my lunches for school the first years I was a teacher. That is now in my past. This talk of scavengers only serves the purpose of pointing out differences in mindsets and patterns and choices. Remember that we are all in charge of our own choices. I strongly believe there are no ‘bad’ people… only great people making some misguided choices… or worse yet…. not even giving themselves enough care or self-worth to make a better choice. It’s like kids and behavior… I heard a kindergarten teacher do an amazing job of reshaping a parent’s mindset during a parent-teacher conference a few years ago when she said this, “He is always a Good Boy. He just needs to decide to make Good Choices; he needs to learn to choose Good Choices more often than Bad Choices.” I gathered that that parent had drilled it into their son every morning to ‘Go be a Good Boy today’ and would then ask him at the end of the day, ‘Were you a Good Boy today?’ Oh no, no, no… you see, he’s always a Good Boy. Always. He just needs guidance in making Good Decisions. Don’t we all? Does your eating philosophy need some reshaping? Do it. Your mood, your energy, your ability to cope and be less reactive, your motivation, your body’s health, your mental clarity, how you feel, how you function, and your drive will all benefit! Mine have.
Let me know how I can help.
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I am a wife, mom to two and teacher. I have a lot of things I'd like to go after in this lifetime!