Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Are you gonna eat that?

Sometimes people tell me that they hate the taste of greens and wheatgrass, or that they find the very rich chlorophyll taste of E3Live hard to take.

And, every time, like clockwork, that old Listerine slogan pops into my head. You know, the one that goes, “The taste you hate, twice a day”? For those of you too young to know what I’m talking about, here’s a then-unknown Morgan Freeman to fill you in.

The idea was that people used Listerine for its benefits, despite its horrid taste.  While the ad campaign was brilliant, I, myself, don’t use Listerine. Why? Because there are much healthier mouth rinse alternatives. But that’s another blog post for another day.

Back to the greens.

In our culture, we are surrounded by unlimited amounts of food. And that’s a good thing, because we can make wise choices from the abundant variety available to us. But, I wonder just how many people ask themselves, “Am I eating for my taste buds, or am I eating to be healthy and disease-free?” The choice should be obvious. Unfortunately, the rampant obesity and disease in our society are proof that, for some, the choice isn’t so obvious.

It’s natural for us to seek pleasure. And the processed foods loaded with sugar, white flour, dairy and salt do provide pleasure for our taste buds.  But at what cost? These addictive foods rob us of our health and well-being.  They fill us with empty calories. To add insult to injury, these foods also interfere with our taste buds and their inherent ability to love green chlorophyll foods. And the more we eat of these taste-bud–corrupting foods, the more we want.

Now, you may be saying that we have the right to choose what we want to eat. That’s true, we do. But, take a look at the labels for baby formulas. Invariably, you will see sugar listed as an ingredient. Sugar. For babies. Newborns' taste buds don’t yet know the difference between sweet and not-sweet, but here we are, giving it to them before they can make that choice for themselves. I don’t have the exact statistics, but it’s a safe bet that most infants will at some point consume infant formula.  So, what we are doing is getting our children hooked on sugar right from the start.

But, we don’t stop there. As they grow, we train our children to associate sweets with the good feelings that come when they are rewarded. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve overheard a parent tell their child, “If you behave, I’ll give you a lollipop.” Or how about this oldy-and-moldy gem: “If you eat all of your vegetables, you can have dessert.” In the child’s mind, this translates to the idea that the healthful part of the meal is something to be dreaded and “gotten through” in order to get to the real goody - the sweets.

Is this what we really want?

Let’s get back to basics. Think consciously about the foods you put in your body. And, just as importantly, consider what you are feeding your children, whether in the womb or already born. Every bit of food sets them up for either a healthy life or debilitating disease. If your children are already addicted to the empty-calorie foods, you can transition them to a more nutrient-rich diet. Have them help choose greens at the market that they can incorporate into their meals. Give them non-food rewards for good behavior. Start each day with a shot of wheatgrass juice or E3Live. Do as you want your children to do and they will naturally follow your lead. And don’t give up. Remember, the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. What step will you take today?