A good question is always hard to answer.
What’s the point?
What’s the difference between my usual foods and fresh foods? What’s the point of spending the extra time and effort to eat things I’ve never tried before? I don’t even know if I’ll like them.
Well the thing is, your taste buds are accustomed to whichever kinds of food you normally eat. If you always eat junk or processed food you’ll seek out and enjoy that familiar taste. The good thing is you can change your taste buds any time you want!
I’m not going to get technical, because honestly there’s enough information out there about how taste buds work that I don’t need to repeat it here, but basically like any other part of your body your tongue does what it knows to do. This is important when it comes to being able to tell the difference between ripe fruit and spoiled fruit or letting you know if something is too salty and could harm your body. Understanding why you like candy more than tomatoes seems so simple but the point is when you think about it, you don’t like candy at all.
Too much sugar over time can have serious negative effects on your health. These include weight gain, abdominal obesity, elevated blood sugar, elevated triglycerides, and high blood pressure. It increases your uric acid levels. High uric acid levels are a risk factor for heart and kidney disease.
If you’ve ever heard that wanting to eat ice means you need more iron, you understand that you don’t actually need the ice. This applies to almost all junk and processed foods. When you crave chips, cookies, cakes, doughnuts, candy, or chocolates it’s very possible you’re dehydrated. You body (as confused as it is) is trying to tell you it needs water and in it’s primal system, dating back to when we squatted in the woods, is trying to point you towards the easiest source of water – which is fruit. Fruits are mostly water and native fruits like strawberries (92% water) and pineapple (87% water) were probably more readily available than other water sources back when our digestive systems developed.
When you’re running low on water, you crave the sugary fruits that can provide that for you. Unfortunately this is easily confused with other sugary foods and can lead to an interesting cycle that isn’t too hard to break with a little discipline and determination.
This cycle starts with eating “bad” carbohydrates (cookies, cakes, etc.) This creates a drop in blood sugar, affecting the area of your brain that provides impulse control. Although it doesn’t make sense this can lead to craving more sugars and more bad carb foods that cause low blood sugar, which will cause you to run for more sugary foods to fix the problem.
That being said, you can break this cycle!
It’s best to go cold turkey and cut off all junk foods immediately and replace them with other options. You may grumble and complain at first but from personal experience I guarantee you in less than two weeks you won’t even remember what an Oreo looks like.
In the spring and summer you’ll want to look for the following fruits, no matter where you choose to shop for them.
These familiar fruits can be eaten a variety of ways, and no matter which way you choose (unless it’s a cake with berries on top) it will still be healthier and more satisfying than any Little Debbie out there. I promise.
In the fall and winter you’ll want to look for the following fruits, but be sure you’re familiar with your general region and which fruits are best grown there – same goes for your spring and summer fruits.
Other great fruits like bananas and citrus fruits like oranges are usually good year round. The chart above is a great reference for what seasons are best for your favorites. Depending on your local area the months may or may not be correct.
After you replace your bad sugar foods with something easier to digest, more satisfying, and lighter on your digestive system, your taste buds will adjust.
It’s all about conditioning. Conditioning your buds for sweet, hydrating foods will improve your diet a thousand times and you won’t even have to think about it.
So… what’s the point of all this?
The point is that you want to meet your great-grandkids, you want to be happy, you want to skydive if you damn well please, and those things are all possible with a strong and healthy body. Habits can be hard to break but knowing why you have those habits is the biggest and most important part of starting a happier and longer life.
More information on the negative long term effects of sugar can be found at choosemyplate.gov.