(don’t buy into the buzz word trap!)
First the winner from our giveaway on Monday! Fawn! She wrote “I get that comment a lot. “You don’t get to eat anything fun anymore”. I promptly invite them to eat with me or I make them something. I have yet to have anyone turn me down. My enthusiasm is over the top and they can’t resist!” Congratulations Fawn! Please e-mail Natala: firstname.lastname@example.org
Has this happened to you? You are walking through the grocery store and you see some words on a package or on a display and you think “WOW! That must be plant-strong it says “vegan” or it says “gluten-free” or it says “organic”!” You stare at the vegan, gluten free, organic donut made from organic vegan sugar and organic dairy free butter and you put it in your cart, it seems to have ALL the right buzz words!
Likewise, people get trapped in the “super food trap”. They see words like: goji berries, green tea, acai, olive oil, chocolate, raw and they think “healthy”.
Because some of you are thinking it – let’s get something out of the way. Don’t fall into the “but it is healthier than the non organic counterpart!” Sure, maybe it is. But is an organic cigarette better for you than a regular one? Maybe, but we’re still not going to suggest you go pick up a pack of “better” cigarettes.
And one more thing you might be thinking “But I can’t deprive myself!”. We think that eating plant-strong is the furthest thing from depravation. Society has gone so far the other way when it comes to healthy choices. The diets of most Americans have become so extreme that what used to be a ‘treat’ is now an every day thing for most Americans. Our society is not doing well, and clearly we need to go less extreme on our diet choices, and get back to basics, get back to natural, get back to plant-strong.
In fact, according to recent reports Americans are sicker than ever. What we don’t want you to ever deprive yourself of is your health! You deserve more than a lifetime of suffering from preventable diseases. Not only should you not deprive yourself of the best health, you should not deprive your family of YOU. Here at Engine 2 we hear far too many tragic stories of people who passed away far too young from food caused diseases that never needed to happen. We can’t imagine one food that is worth that kind of tragedy.
Dying far too young from a disease caused by the food you eat is kind of like dying because you didn’t wear your seatbelt, completely senseless.
Ok, back to the buzz word traps.
Every so often we post labels of food on facebook and ask people if the food is plant-strong or not. What we find most shocking is that when we post something completely plant-weak almost ALL of the comments will say something along the lines of “I WOULD NEVER PUT THAT IN MY MOUTH!! EVER!! I’D EAT MUD BEFORE I DID THAT!!!”
But then something really interesting happens. We post what the ‘food’ is, and people get angry, some of the very same people who just told us they would never touch the stuff. When they find out the 100% fat food with all of the chemicals that we posted is the vegan butter they have been using every day, they seem to get upset.
And we get it. Junk food, no matter what buzz words are used, is hard to give up. We seek out high calorically dense foods, it doesn’t matter what the buzz words are, a junk food is a junk food. It doesn’t matter that it might be a slightly better “junk food”.
Every day we get food journals from people who tell us they are following Engine 2 or a plant-strong diet, but they are not having success. We are always surprised what people consider to be plant-strong. And it is not surprising. 90% of Americans say they eat healthy, 38% say they eat very healthy, yet only .5% meet the bare minimum standards of a healthy diet & only 3% meet the requirements of a healthy lifestyle (thanks to Jeff Novick for the stats).
Here are some of the foods/dishes on a few food journals we got this week from people who are having trouble with their numbers/weight loss (and who told us they were following the plan completely)
Lays potato chips
Olive oil chips
Green smoothie with peanut butter, chocolate chips, dates, maple syrup
Green smoothie with coconut oil, almond butter, fruit, kale, apple juice
Hail Mary macaroons
Uncle Eddies organic cookies
Organic Whole Foods sandwich cookies
Taco bell tacos (no meat/no dairy)
Coconut milk ice-cream
Boca chicken nuggets
Homemade veg lasagna with boca crumbles, rice cheese parmesean, dayia mozzerella
Raw kale chips (store bought)
(we could go on, but you probably get the point)
If you aren’t sure why some of the things on the above list are not plant-strong, check the labels the next time you are at the store and see if they come close to any of our label reading guidelines.
It’s time that we stop looking for substitutes for every single SAD junk food only to replace them with better sounding junk food. It is time that we start focusing on changing our tastes. We have been introduced to so many dangerous foods in our society. We’re overrun with addictive substances in the form of fat, sugar and salt. It is time to break our addictions, and it’s time to not fall into the buzz word traps.
The truth is we are addicted to fat, sugar and salt. And the way to stop our addiction is not to have the junk food a little less or to pick an organic version of that junk food. Just like we wouldn’t say to have a better cigarette or sugget to an alcoholic they just switch to organic alcohol. The pleasure trap response is exactly the same to organic/vegan/gluten free junk food as it is to SAD junk food. Your brain does not care if it is organic oil or non organic oil. It is still the highest calorically dense food on the planet. Your brain does not care if it is organic sugar or regular sugar, it will still cause the same issues in your body, your pancreas does not say “OOOOH it’s organic, it’s ok, we don’t need as much insulin for that!” Will it do slightly less harm? Perhaps, but it is still not healthy.
Junk food is junk food. There is no better junk food. For some of you this is tragic news. But for most, we hope, there is a little freedom in this news.
The good news? It is easy to get plant-strong. It takes about 3-5 weeks to change your tastes. And we at Engine 2 think everyone is completely capable of changing their tastes. We believe in all of you, and we don’t want you to listen to anyone who does not believe in you, or anyone who tells you that you “NEED” junk food in order to make changes. We think you are stronger than that, even if you don’t.
And not only will your tastes change, plant-strong food will start to taste REALLY good. In fact, the junk food will not seem all that appealing. Trust your body, trust your taste buds, trust your ability to make changes.
Maybe the same warning should be on organic junk food:
For more on this subject, we are going to turn it over to our friend, Jeff Novick. Read the following articles for a greater understanding of what we wrote about in this post.
Jeff on Moderation : Part 1 and 2
Jeff on Calorie Density
Jeff on simplicity
Jeff on Label Reading
Jeff on Dates
Jeff on the top 10 super-foods
Jeff on What we should eat.
Jeff on is there pleasure in eating this way?
And now for a giveaway. Tell us if you have fallen into the ‘buzz word trap’ and how you were able to get out of that trap. Or, if you have never fallen into the trap, what are some of your tricks to staying away from the buzz word junk foods? We will pick 2 winners tomorrow!
We are giving away 2 copies of Jeff’s video “Calorie Density, How to Eat More and Weigh Less”