If you have been following me for awhile, you know I am pretty fanatical about the whole nutrition thing and it was an important part of my last book (The Guidebook to Optimum Health).
I am actually reading a book by Dr Deepak Chopra at the moment (Super Genes) that goes into a lot more detail about how our diet actually affects our genetic expression. And then there is the case of how our diet impacts the internal flora of our stomachs. There are actually 10 times as many bacteria in our stomachs as there are cells in our bodies. So these little critters have a huge impact on our health; so feeding them the right stuff is essential.
Now what I wanted to touch on today is the idea of making better choices. One of the challenges of our scientific way of thinking and being educated (particularly in western cultures) is this idea of ‘reductionism’. Essentially we are lead to believe that ‘science’ can identify and isolate the micronutrient or the likes, that is the biggest player in health, when the reality is this methodology missus the mark a lot of the times. Because as you might have realised by now, LIFE is anything but simple. EVERYTHING is interrelated. Mind, body, emotions, our spiritual outlook, our relationships, the food we put in our bodies, how we move our bodies, the air we breathe, the rest we get, etc. etc. etc. Health and wellness is about a ‘holistic’ approach – looking at the whole. As opposed to the magic-pill reductionist approach.
So my little ‘thing’ at the moment is the rave around the whole cold-press juice thing as some new miracle food.
Here’s a better choice…Eat a bowl of salad. 😉
Making Better Choice Tip 1: Turn down the volume
It turns out that we have thousands of years of evolution imprinted into our DNA. Our DNA has captured a whole lot of intelligence over the years as to what is good for us and what is bad for us. I am quite confident that people, if they slow down and consciously pay attention, can discern what is good for them and what is bad for them, in regards to food and most other things in life.
How many times have you had a gut feeling that something is not good for you, but ignored it? Much to your future regret. I have done this countless times. At some level I knew right from wrong, good from bad, but I ignored it, or thought I knew better.
So the next time someone is spending lots of money on advertising to convince you of how good the latest fad diet is, turn down the volume or turn it off entirely.
Slow down and get conscious of what your body might be telling you. Body, not brain. Your brain will be the one telling you 5 really logical reasons why you absolutely need (and it is totally ok) to shove down that second helping of chocolate mud cake.
Pause for 15 seconds, and really listen to the intelligence of your body. Yes. You do know better. 😉
Making Better Choice Tip 2: The cold-pressed juice thing
So here is the reason why I am not a fan of the whole cold-pressed juice thing. Yes, there are great nutrients in the juice of vegetables and fruits. And there probably is a slight difference between a cold-pressed juice and a juice from a conventional (cheaper) juicer.
But one of the foods that is most lacking in a standard western diet is FIBRE. Also known as a prebiotic and super food for those 1 trillion bacteria in our guts. It is essential for effective processing of food, the effective elimination of waste from our bodies, and also regulating how much food we consume. We have been told for years we need more fibre in our bodies, so for me, extracting the juice and leaving all of the insoluble fibre (which is lacking in most western diets) sounds like a pretty stupid idea.
So yes a cold-pressed juice is MUCH better than a can of Coca Cola. But it falls well short of a bowl of salad. And it also falls well short of a vegetable based green drink, made in a blender.
We all need to have more fibre in our diet and it is a great weight loss strategy. More insoluble fibre in your food equals more satiation (feeling of fullness) and less over-eating. So don’t get drawn into the hype. Eat that bowl of salad as your first choice.
Caveat. I say again. Yes, the cold-pressed juice is much better than any other sweetened drink on the market. But I am here to educate you to be even better. To be the best you can be. To be intelligent, wise and a more evolved human being.
PS: Always choose a vegetable juice over a fruit juice, as there is generally less fructose in vegetables. And choose whole foods, over processed foods.
Making Better Choice Tip 3: Set yourself up for success
I was just talking to a client the other day and I explained to her a technique I use to counter impulsive decision-making. The instant gratification type. And I have talked about this before, but again I want to remind you of it, in all your decision making.
The facts. To make decisions requires firing up the pre-frontal lobe of the brain. This requires a large amount of energy. Using your willpower consumes large amounts of energy, so use it sparingly. I am sure this is not new news for you. Trying to resist temptation is HARD WORK.
The way to reduce the need for excessive willpower is to pre-program your brain. In military strategic planning this is called ‘contingency planning’. You consider what the likely obstacle or challenges will be along the way and you pre-determine the most appropriate response (when you are not under stress and can think most effectively). The principle in psychology is an IF-THEN strategy. IF X happens, THEN I will do Y. You are priming your brain before an event happens, so your brain does not need to ‘think’ (aka firing up your cortex), but merely moves in the right direction.
So when it comes to food or even relationships, pre-program your brain. For example, I have a major dislike for smoking; yet in my past I would enter into relationships with someone who was a social smoker. It was inevitable it would end poorly and with lots of tears (some of them mine ;-)). So I got to the stage where I pre-programmed my brain. IF I met a girl I liked that smoked, THEN I would not get emotionally, romantically or physically involved with her.
Therefore…in what area of your life do you need to set up some pre-programmed responses?
Is it getting offered sweets? (IF I get offered sweets at a party, THEN I will say no and reach for a healthy snack.)
Is it getting asked to do something for people? (IF I get asked by my mother to do any extra chores next week, THEN I will say a firm ‘no’ and tell her how she can solve it with her own resources.)
Is it a deal breaker you need to add to your relationships? (IF I meet someone new and they tell me a lie, THEN I will walk away.)
Is it stopping at 2 drinks of alcohol when you go out? (IF I have 2 drinks, then I will switch to soda water or go home.)
I originally was just going to get on my soapbox about the whole hype around cold-pressed juices, and how they are good but not great. But I figured I could serve you better if we talked in general about making better decisions.
For me, the number one thing to making better decisions in all areas of our lives is to bring a higher level of consciousness to the game. Tap in to your innate intelligence, wisdom and life experience; and then honour yourself with the right choice.
Better choices = better results.
This is one of the keys to a life of success and fulfillment. Making, moment by moment, better choices changes the entire course of your life. It changes your internal health and your external results.
I KNOW you have got this!
IF this makes sense, THEN decide how you will apply the IF-THEN Strategy, in one small way to your life today. 😉
As always, please ask questions of me, or share your thoughts in a response email or by putting a post on Facebook.