Venkat Iyer. CPA

Healthy Eating, that is less complex but more nutritious

In this insight, you will not find any recipe to cook, and if you are looking for one, just go back and find a lot on Google and Pinterest. The intention is to present some facts and strategies that I found over the several years of my quest to eat healthily. While I attempt to adopt healthy eating habits, I got either distracted or demotivated because of how hard it was.

After several setbacks in my quest, I started to wonder whether it is my perception that eating healthy is a tough thing or is genuinely a tricky thing. I went back to doing my research, trying to find out how to make it easy to eat good nutritious food. To my surprise, most of the online eat-healthy blogs, articles, and posts that suggest what to eat and how to eat have been directly, indirectly supported, or funded by corporates. Authors of these contents use keywords that direct advertisers pick a related ad suitable for the content and make money. So I concluded that any eating decision that I could make relying on the internet will not be helpful, as the source of information has conflicting interests. 

So I went to books, publications, research papers, and other things to give me unbiased studies with samples and data. I had two eye-opening insights. 

  1. Though Healthy foods are available in abundance, they are intentionally kept more and more scarce because it does not serve the producers’ commercial goals. This must be both, directly and indirectly, encouraged by the health care industry as they are secondary beneficiaries.
  2. Eating healthy is challenging unless you form a strong foundation with good eating habits.

We cannot fight against the first revealing easily. However, We can help us with the second one. So I went on to build a better eating habit.

After reading several books about habit formation, goal setting, and motivation during the last few months, I developed an idea of why people fail in their healthy eating goals. 

The list of demotivators that I found are as below:

  1. Time-consuming: This is simply a notion that too much time is required to prepare food rather than what matters most, like work, baby, kids, family, etc. All Fast food chains make money feeding on this notion of each of us.
  2. Promises and Excuses: Birthday, special occasion, holidays, Parties, lunch promises, happy hours, “Just a day isn’t hurting anyone.” 
  3. Frenemies: Those Enemies, while disguising a friend, force your participation in things you don’t want to do. You may also have an undue influencer that you would accompany to do something you don’t intend to do. E.g., smoking or drinking with a friend.
  4. Cravings, Habits, and Addictions: Candy every day, vending machine addiction, soda every meal, drinking every night.
  5. Impatience: We all want immediate results, instant gratification. Any shortcuts that we may use to get quick results comes with long term side-effects. 
  6. Sponsored Misinformation: Most of the content over the internet is funded by special interest groups. E.g., Diabetes Association recommends drinking whole milk, mentioning it is safe compared to a sugary soda. An 8oz glass of Whole milk has approximately 12 grams of sugar, 50% of a healthy woman’s daily requirement or 33% of healthy men. If you drink milk every day, you are loading yourself with excess sugar considering all the other things you will consume the same day. Many arguments were using preliminary studies saying drinking wine or whiskey every night is right for you. You may not know who funded that study, or someone who supports that theory may be impaired or biased. This applies to everything we eat, so please analyze every food and nutritional balance by yourself. 

I learned a lot about food by measuring how I feel physically and mentally and making a trial in various ways and seeing how I react. With that background, I’m outlining my ideas that will fit most of you who have more limitations to say “no” or “later” to healthy eating habits. It will not be easy if you read it all together and incorporate all the strategies. 

However, if you take one thing a day, you will be very successful. Maybe pick something straightforward for you, and if you are successful in that one thing, you will be more motivated to include the next item in the list. I want you to be successful, make a baby step, feel good about it, and then take another action.

  1. Awareness of Mineral/Nutrient Rich Food: All those foods which claim to have Vitamin-D, Calcium, Iron, More Protein, Iodine comes with other added additives and chemicals. They are prescriptive; unless someone is deficient in them, it is not a necessity. A healthy person doesn’t need them unless he is clinically diagnosed with a deficiency. The danger is always in the deception.
  2. 5 Ingredients Formula: Skip it—anything over 5 Ingredients that are often meant to be devious. If you cannot comprehend a name of an ingredient, it is intended to be so. 
  3. Cooking is a Skill: Cooking is effortless as long as you learn it. In a while, you will become more effective in making food for yourself and storing it. Unlike any other work, most part in cooking needs less attention, if you learn how to automate. 
  4. Skip the Ailes:  Retails spend more attention on Ailes with those foods making them more profitable, not necessarily healthy. The foods that hurt you are more attractive. Bad food always looks healthy and delicious, nicely packed for you to believe that you are saving time, and eating healthy. E.g., Low-fat Milk is full of carbs and sugar, very bad for a diabetic. Lean Cuisine – Big Calorie, Small Portion, Lots of chemicals. Fat-free Pizza – Why not a sugar-free Pizza.
  5. Know what you eat: Count your calories, see the nutrition label in everything you buy to eat, use free apps to log in calories. It is more intuitive and creates a healthy compulsive behavior if you plan what to eat the previous night. You can find your healthy choice even in any food joint that you go; this enforces the habit of eating responsibly. 

As I said, changes don’t happen overnight; the more aggressive we change, the more unchanged it becomes. Little change we make that is consistent will help in the long run. Health can be conquered only by changing the habit, not by any other means.

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