TASTE vs NUTRITIONAL VALUE

At least 3 times a day we indulge in a love affair with our mouths. The relationship is purely anatomic.

Wait. Time out. Minus the innuendo.

What I’m safely trying to say is, we eat for taste.

Don’t lie. We do.

At lunch or the dinner table, no one raves over beets, tofu or pumpkin. Artichoke hearts won’t be today’s special in any restaurant on the planet! Okra? Forget about it! Turnips would never make Team Vegan. A demotion to the practice squad? Maybe.

And while I’m being brutally honesty, it would take a culinary, power-god to convince anyone for a second helping of eggplant…or what about rutabaga? Hell to the No! I don’t care if it’s prepared anyway deemed palatable. But make no mistake! I absolutely love a plant based diet! Not the above mentioned plants, but I should be open to give any unpopular veg or fruit I’m a “virgin” too a fair try. Remember, we’re talking about eating to taste.

Who eats for purely nutritional purposes these days? Who sacrifices taste, for the value plant based foods provide? Dietitians and nutritionist scream that we must change how we perceive food.

Sure, there are the ever popular calorie counters, equipped with their Fit Bits and other sophisticated counting gadgetry. Their are carb heads that try to micromanage their crave. Some out there with elevated cholesterol levels who stress over saturated fats. The hypertension cadets rage over their “per gram” sodium intake. Oh, we can’t forget sweets…refined sugar…the most dangerous drug in the world.

We’re an obese and overweight country in crisis. We obsess on food, concentrating entirely on what the body doesn’t need that we loose sight on what nutrients we need for healthy living. Sadly enough, hardly anyone cares, since there’s a magic pill or powder for everything. With eyes wide open, we blindly eat.

So what does the body need?

Macronutrients like: protein, carbohydrates and natural fat; dietary building blocks providing energy. Micronutrients such as: vitamins and minerals.

Do we know what they are and how each affects our biological function? Vitamin C, B1, folic acid?How do we know whether the nutritional value has value? Vitamin K, B12, Calcium.

How often do you shop for a particular product and neglect to do a count of how much protein, carbs, fat, vitamins or minerals are in the food source? Better question. How much macro and micronutrients does your body require? Do you know? Do you know? Do you know?

Way too often we avoid knowing what we eat because our perception of food is skewed.

We’re eating to taste.

On to science class. Food is an energy source. Period. We consume food for the body that is naturally converted to energy. The digestive system is an energy extracting factory, designed to process, to keep us alive and well. Food is both our preventive and healing medicine! Our immune systems are fueled by what we introduce to our systems.

Yes. Certain foods energy sources are far greater and important than others. The bigger picture is clear. We’re building upon what the body is made of! Ninety-nine percent of the human body mass is comprised of six element: oxygen, carbon, phosphorus, calcium, nitrogen and hydrogen. A whopping 0.85% is made of potassium, sulfur, sodium, chlorine and magnesium. There are trace chemicals of other elements in our bodies but these are so minute that scientists do not consider them having an important role. Taking a closer look at these important 11 elements in all. Would a dietary choice rich in these elements enhance our overall health?

We’ll come back to that.

Eating to taste and not according to nutrition leads to malnutrition. And if you thought that term was reserved for third world regions in famine, think again. Overweight and obesity are forms of malnutrition. A person not receiving adequate nutrients from their diet is malnourished. No? The guy ordering a “half dozen” assorted pastry breakfast is indeed starving his body of much needed nourishment. Imagine that. Our superpower, U.S.A., home of the malnourished majority.

Which leads to diet companies getting fat off teaching people how to eat. Nutritionists instructing the same. After a modest work-out, thank you, Food Network, “The Chew” and all the other popular appetite driven programs and commercials, tempting, brainwashing one to pack on the pounds.

THE POPEYE EFFECT

My son, Josh is a second year wrestler. The sport is a weight management nightmare for anyone who lacks dietary self discipline. He attributes part of this years vast improvement to his plant based diet. His coaches and teammates notice his increased strength and endurance.

In a recent conversation, I asked him would he add a horrible tasting but highly nutritious food to his diet? Would he sacrifice a few minutes of mouth chewing bliss for a horribly tasting food source, if it double his energy level? He didn’t take long with a response.

“Yeah”, he smirked. Likely thinking how his wellness and overall vitality would increase the more. Point? Wimpy is to hamburger as Popeye is to spinach. Think about it.

But we engage in the reverse, ingesting a variety of great tasting, chemically toxic, saturated fat, artificially flavored, processed, fast foods. We treat our bodies like a garbage dump. Trash in…you know the rest.

Excuse me. Who said highly nutritious, plant based foods lacks great flavor? Nearly all seasoning and spices are plant based, correct?

My wife happens to be an expert at knowing how to marry spices to enhance the flavor of my plant based best…even the plant based bland!!!

Now let’s revisit consuming food that align with our body composition. You do the homework to determine whether you agree. Be careful of food allergies.

1. Almonds 2. Lentils 3. Oatmeal 4. Wheat Germ 5. Broccoli 6. Kale 7. Apples 8. Garlic 9. Blueberries 10. Goji berries.

Below is a link to an article of 15 additional vegan superfoods. http://www.ecorazzi.com/2012/03/23/15-vegan-superfoods-you-should-be-eating-right-now/

Eating for taste is not a carnal sin, as long as those nutrient rich foods are included in your diet. Get bloodwork done and review the results with your physician. Take those results and get a second opinion by a licensed nutritionist or dietitian. Conduct your own research. Learn the nutritional needs of your body. Start looking to food as a means to maximize your energy source by carefully selecting what it is your body needs. Do you know? Do you know? Do you know?

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