What? No More BBQ?

Lately, I’ve been hearing a lot about “beef” in our diets, and very often the discussion veers to organ meats, chicken, pork, fish and turkey, whose health properties we all know have been thoroughlyrubbled down by meat eaters for almost our entire lives. No more hamburgers? How does that work?

The first thing I’ve been doing is researches on what exactly “red meat” is, and don’t worry, I’ll avoid the scientific chronology, but will try to explain the variances and factors affecting our diets that influence our motivations to choose foods. No, you won’t find it in science journals, and you may have already tired of listening to me blather on about it, but, once again, I’ve stuck to the meat basics in that order.

clear drinking glasses near gray pan

Back in the day, we ate meat because it was there,and we ate a lot of it. Now, we don’t have to eat a lot, but we do find ourselves getting bored with it, along with a whole lot of habits that keep us coming back to the same novelty in terms of foods, nonetheless. We’ve gotten so good at this, in fact, that we don’t even realize it – we come to rely on the same foods we like. If I can teach you to walk away from the meat ball and past theclusions in the processed food aisle, you’re going to be a healthy individual in no time.

Of course, the reality is that if you live on beef and cheese in equal amounts, you’re not likely to gain any health advantages from any of them, but I figured since we’re all so good at eating anything that’s familiar, we might as well benefit from the simplicity of eating fresh fruits and vegetables, right? Wrong. There are some pretty bad advantages to choosing only fresh or “organic” fruits and veggies:

And these are not just limited to the first category. Frozen fruits and vegetables are no better, and canned soups and vegetables are guaranteed to have high levels of sodium or sugar. If you’re not as dedicated to eating fruits and veggies as I am, I’m afraid you’re going to end up desiring a burger or something.

Cravings or addictions?

You don’t think I’m kidding when I tell you that you need to get out of the habit of thinking of your cravings as wanting a cigarette or a hamburger. My wife told me not to take my chances with a couple of guys who she knew wouldn’t last very long on an open diet, because they were each addicted to particular foods. You see,be adverse to cravings or addictions! They’re just the same as any other addiction you might have. Say it to yourself, and see if you sound just like a recovering smoker who’s ready for another habit change.

If you have some friends who are into cycling, social drinking, cross training, the beach, and they keep having cravings throughout the day, it’s not a sickness or a signal that they’re sick. It’s a sign that they’re doing what they’ve always done. All our habits are habitual, and habits don’t change overnight, especially if you don’t have control of your will.

It’s 12:30 on Monday morning, and you’re already in bed. How can you be in bed at noon? You’re a caffeine detox baby! Are you hungry? How can you say you’re hungry when you have 8 hours of class? How can you be hungry when you know that a PB&J is perfect for school?

If you’re saying to yourself those things, I bet you’re also saying to yourself, “I can’t help craving the chocolate ice cream brand at 3 PM, but I need the carbs with the chocolate top!” Or you’re thinking, “I could eat ANYTHING right now, but I need the protein with the chicken strips… ” I’m talking to myself right now, and I’m saying to myself, “Sure, whatever you want. You’re addicted. You pick the habit, and you’re going to keep picking it unless you decide to stop it.

When you decide to change your habit, there are some things you can do to help stick with it:

Get substitutes for your old foods – if you’re a die-hard English major who needs five lines to spell out everything and eat pasta with every meal, you’ll need to start substituting that high-starch food you eat for some lower-carb alternatives. Eat the bagels instead of the doughnuts, eat the white bread instead of the whole, switch to low-fat cheese rather than cream cheese in your smoothies, try whole milk instead of skim, the list goes on.

group of people gathering on field