I’m told I weighed only four pounds at birth. That was the last time I was grossly underweight because Mom fed me every two hours from then on. Maybe that’s why I graze often to this day! My father used to call food cravings “body wisdom.” If you crave it, you must need it.
He was only partly right. Since the 1970s, food companies produced highly processed foods that were hyper-palatable and America, as a whole, gained weight. (You can’t eat just one potato chip.)
But thousands of years ago, when we were hunters and gatherers, we never knew where and when we would find sufficient food. So we were hard wired to go for the more highly calorie dense foods (meats, sweet sugary veggies/fruits) to give us enough energy until the next bonanza. And the food companies have taken advantage of that ingrained drive to the calorie dense ever since. My son told me people in the 17th century, who trekked through woods all day, ate lard covered with seeds. Ugh!
My September issue of Nutrition Action states, “In many people with long-standing obesity, there are physiological changes that counteract weight loss, no matter what one does.”
Well, that’s encouraging (not). But it removes a lot of guilt. To some extent, our bodies still try to conserve calories “for our own good,” as in those hunter/gatherer days. When we lose weight, the body “defends” itself by increasing the hunger sensation or helping the muscles to burn fewer calories.
Thanks a bunch, body.
Obesity is not our friend since poor diets lead to many chronic illnesses. Other that sheer willpower, which never works over the long haul, we can add foods to our diet that help with weight loss.
Snack on your favorite wholefood (fruit, vegetable, nuts) that you like in place of chips and cookies. It will calm the hunger pangs Mother Nature is sending you.
Fat tissue needs a blood supply, as do all our tissues. Starve those fat cells and not you! Antiangiogenic (against blood vessel formation) foods include favorites such as tuna, blackberries, blueberries, cauliflower, chamomile tea, cashews, dark chocolate, cherry tomatoes, salmon, navy beans, nectarines (From page 127 of Dr. William Li’s book Eat to Beat Disease.) Fortunately, antiangiogenic foods do not block formation of blood vessels we need to feed our tissues; just the blood vessels that feed excess fat and tumors. Isn’t it amazing how the body regulates itself perfectly (a state of homeostasis) if we don’t get in its way?
Ditch the guilt. Many of us live in a toxic food environment. Mom and Pop stores around the corner, Dunkin’ Donuts down the street, and what about those golden arches? People who live in the inner cities must travel miles to find a well-stocked supermarket. What if you lack transportation?
We know what we should eat. It seems our society is hell-bent on pointing us in the opposite direction. I believe a bit of education about food that leads to wiser choices is the best way to fight my inner hunter/gatherer.
Here’s my favorite chocolate mousse recipe that is totally unprocessed and based on whole food.
Blend 1 banana
3 TBS chocolate cocoa
1 tsp vanilla
2 packets of stevia (or sugar to taste)
In a blender until smooth.