Defensive driving is driving characterized by prudence, diligence and reasonable cautiousness with the goal of making the road a safe place not only for a defensive driver but for other people as well. Anyone who holds a driver’s license should be well-versed in this concept.
So how in the world does it apply to eating? Well, considering the fact that the North American food supply has become tainted by genetically-modified organisms, chemicals, and processing, let me count the ways.
The food landscape in our culture has become a virtual mine field. There are hidden toxins and preservatives disguised as harmless healthy foods throughout. To the average consumer, nothing seems to be amiss however upon further examination, the scene gets pretty scary.
Foods claiming to be enriched or fortified are a prime example. In fact, they’re 1 of the biggest offenders! Food manufacturers first strip them of vitamins and minerals in the manufacturing process in order to increase shelf life only to add them back in in the end.
In the case of wheat flour for instance, found in most commercialized breads, the bran and the germ (the parts of the wheat that contain vitamins and minerals) are extracted and as a result, your body absorbs it differently.
How is this bad? Instead of the process being slow and steady, providing sustainable energy along with a high supply of B vitamins, your body breaks down enriched flour much more quickly, thereby flooding your blood stream with too much sugar at 1 time.
Your body then has to work overtime to absorb the excess and ultimately stores it as fat. This results in sudden highs and lows in your blood sugar level which increases your chances of Type 2 Diabetes and obesity. Not good.
When you’re out in the matrix, confused about your choices, consider these 3 tips to help you become a defensive eater and ensure you’re getting the highest quality foods:
Tip #1: Read Labels
Believe it or not, this can be a really hard 1 for most folks. Whereas not too long ago the average ingredients on a food label were around 5, now you’re likely to find as many as 25 or more – most of which you can’t even pronounce!
A good rule of thumb here is if you can’t pronounce it, it’s not meant for human consumption. 5 ingredients or less is a good target when you’re reading labels, and they should be 1-word ingredients like broccoli, cabbage or kale. Smart shopping doesn’t require a PhD in nutrition, but having savvy shopping skills is wise.
Tip #2: Buy Whole, Organic Foods Often
I know a lot people complain about the price of organics, but did you know you pay more for conventional foods in your tax dollars?
They use a lot of pesticides to grow conventionally grown foods, and there's a price to pay for the hazardous waste cleanup. And guess who’s paying it? Certainly not Uncle Sam! It’s YOU.
Fruits and vegetables only have half the nutritional value they used to in the 1950’s nowadays because the soils have become so depleted, which in turn depletes your body of much needed nutrients and minerals.
Organics are worth the investment, not just health wise but dollar wise too. Here’s a comparison to show you what I mean:
•2 medium sized organic sweet potatoes @$1 or small fries from a fast food joint loaded with fat and salt
•2 organic red peppers @$1 or a supersized can of highly refined, overly sweetened pop
•6 organic chicken breasts @$10 or a sub combo from Subway
•2 wild caught salmon fillets @$15 or a large pizza
•18 organic eggs @$3.50 or a McDonald’s burger injected with antibiotics and hormones* (yum)
You get the gist? Most people don’t bat an eyelash at the cost of a new pair of sneakers, but $.65 for an organic apple? No way!
Food is what makes you who you are. Your hair, your skin, your nails, your ability to think and function – everything! You’re worth the investment. I’d personally rather spend my money on quality food than co-pays.
Which leads to the next tip,
Tip #3: Cook Like Your Life Depends On It, Because It Does
With our busy, fast-paced hectic lifestyles, you’re probably thinking who has time to cook! But cooking doesn’t have to take up too much of your time if you use your time effectively.
You only need a few hours a week to batch cook and have pre-cooked prepared meals on hand. For example, make an entire pot of brown rice and quinoa and use in salads, as a side dish, or a breakfast porridge throughout the week.
Or, make a double pot of chili or twice as much baked chicken as you normally would and freeze it if you have to. Cook once eat twice to make it easy on yourself!
Put these time-saving techniques to use and you’ll spare yourself boatloads of unwanted toxins and allergic substances in your food that are causing outbreaks of indigestion, psoriasis, bloating, constipation and more.
Access to health food has become rather complex but it doesn’t have to be if you arm yourself with the right information and make it a top priority every day.
* Courtesy of Scott Tousignant’s fitness blog