…persistent psychological and sensory stimuli lead to what Kessler terms “conditioned hypereating,” – David Kessler , The End of Overeating
I have read quite a number of books about health and nutrition, and also seen a few documentaries about veganism, vegetarianism, and the farming industry. All of these things tell you about how we have been pushed towards more artificial foods with various marketing tactics. Bright packaging and uniform products. But yesterday when my husband and I were doing our grocery shopping at Walmart, which we rarely do, I really saw the reality of this. Walmart is definitely a great example of a huge warehouse full of brightly packaged, uniform, artificial crap. But it’s affordable and convenient crap. It was just interesting to me because like I said, I don’t really crave junk food anymore and have really moved into a more healthy way of life. When I was in Walmart though, all that bright, colorful packaging was honestly getting to me. They sell so many different types of candy, ice cream, cookies, chips, and other rubbish food. I was seeing that my mind was going to that place that wanted to justify eating that stuff, “just for today” and I really had to stop it before it got too far. I read a really great book called “The End of Overeating” by David Kessler, and one tip he gives is to not let yourself even entertain the idea of eating rubbish. He says that once the thought is in your head, it is very difficult to stop. It is better to visualize a big STOP sign and think of something else. That entire book is amazing, and explains how restaurants come up with menu items that cause people to become literally addicted, and needing more. Places like Cheesecake Factory and other huge chains have scientists creating menus based off of the knowledge that the more sugar, fat and carbs you put in a meal, the more people become addicted and crave more.
To be honest, just looking around at the usual clientele of Walmart was enough to deter me from filling our cart with artificial food. I know that sounds mean, but you really look around and see a lot of obese people and then look into their carts and see jumbo sized boxes of chips, and economy sized tubs of ice-cream, with numerous bottles of soda. I just thought to myself, this is just absolute crap. Why would you put this artificially made rubbish with created colors and flavors into your body? I will admit I am definitely not perfect and I don’t eat like a perfect healthy person 24/7, but I just have not eaten that stuff for so long now that now it just looks foreign. When you look around though, the produce and meat sections with fresh food are rubbery, old and wilting. But then they have isles and isles of frozen and prepackaged food. It’s almost like they are pushing you to eat rubbish, instead of real food. I wasn’t able to find fresh asparagus, zucchini or the herbs I needed because they were all wilted.
I just want to say though that when you are really committed to being healthy, you can find healthy options no matter where you are. I was surrounded by very visually appealing boxes of sugar and carb laden food. I was even intrigued by the boxes of Hostess products, and I’ve never even eaten their food! They have apparently brought back Twinkies and whatever else it is they sell, and I found myself wanting to eat it. But, I’ve found that it’s key to remain conscious of what it is your eating. You have to look at what you’re buying and think, “Is this food, or is this like me buying drugs to give myself a high?”
It just shows that even though it can be more difficult and expensive, you can find real, healthy food wherever you are. I would rather eat cherries and peaches, than eat a cocktail of carbs, fat and sugar dyed with color #4. It just leads to a vicious cycle of addiction where you are either craving salt and carbs, or sugar, over and over again. Walmart did have a good selection of tuna though, and I made a pretty yummy tuna salad today. They had different kinds with jalapeño and curry, but then again I am all about spicy food. I have really been liking putting green onions in my salads lately too.
Don’t fall into the trap of stimulating and visually appealing food. Wherever you are you can find healthier options. When you are really committed to being healthy and achieving a goal, you seek out what you need and ignore distractions. Remain conscious of what you are actually eating, and pick food as though you are picking vitamins and nutrients for your body. I think it’s terrible to let the industrial food production methods of our time trap us into a cycle of being addicted to poisonous food that has led to heightened rates of obesity and related health disorders and deaths.
Even though it’s silly because I’m no one big, I want to mention that I am not being endorsed to push David Kessler’s book, The End of Overeating. I bought it about 4 years ago and it is one of the best books you can read about the food industry and the science behind addiction. I am always a big believer of science rather than simple opinion by any random author. So I definitely appreciate the science and studies described in his book. Check it out if you can! You will never look at those big food chains the same way ever again!