27 November 2023
Another study came out a couple of weeks ago on the benefits of substituting plant-based foods for animal foods (BMC Medicine, 16 November 2023). Doing so reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and all-cause mortality.
But facts don’t make our food decisions for us; feelings do (if we made all our decisions based on [nutrition] facts, most junk food would not exist). Well… feelings and advertising…which is designed to elicit those feelings!
What guides your food choices? Is it a picky eater in your household, the 15 minutes you have to get dinner on the table after a long and stressful day, what’s on sale at the supermarket, or just what looks good?
I know I rarely stop to think about why I’m eating something in the moment. That’s why it helps to have an overarching intent. You can plan meals based on your values. If it’s time you value, you might plan things that are quick or find shortcuts. Maybe you’re more interested in brain health, or worried about the diabetes that runs in your family. You might be concerned about sustainability or the humane treatment of animals. It's impossible to think about all these things when you're hungry and about to grab anything, so you'll need to plan[t] ahead.
Planning meals is an investment. Putting in some time with preparation could save hours at the other end. And don’t forget: every trip to the supermarket means running the gauntlet of diversions from your plan. When I plan my meals for the week, I do a single shopping trip and save the daily decision-making. When I skip that step, I go to the supermarket (more than once!) with ideas, but no specifics. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t, but it always takes longer!
The holiday season has begun and IMHO we can look at our gift giving in the same way we consider our food choices. Apparently, most gift-givers think they're gift needs to be unusual or flashy, but most recipients want something that's practical or meaningful. The gift with long-term impact is often valued more than a gift with immediate wow factor. That explains why experience gifts are better than STUFF. It's a gift you look forward to, experience in the moment and then remember - so it's long-lasting. There are many other ways you can improve the quality of your gifts while being a conscious consumer.