Resolution with a Purpose - Week 7 - Eating

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If you truly get in touch with a piece of carrot, you get in touch with the soil, the rain, the sunshine. You get in touch with Mother Earth and eating in such a way, you feel in touch with true life, your roots, and that is meditation. If we chew every morsel of our food in that way we become grateful and when you are grateful, you are happy.
-Thich Nhat Hanh


We are throwing away the food trackers. No more counting Calories. No more weighing our foods. No more pressure. No more confusion. No more guilt.

Let's explore the approach shared by my friend Rachel of Rachel's Nourishing Kitchen:

CONNECT with your food -- why you eat, how it makes you feel, where it comes from, and the impact it has beyond your plate -- and with community.

SAVOR your food by slowing down and making eating an experience, so you can enjoy your food instead of feeling guilty about it.

NOURISH your body with energizing, healing, life-giving foods, so you can look and feel like the best version of yourself.


In a 2002 study conducted in Israel, judges were monitored minute by minute throughout the day to determine what factors influenced their parole decisions. Two of the main factors turned out to be the prisoners' previous incarcerations and the availability of a rehabilitation program.

The judges were far more influenced, however, by whether they'd just eaten a meal. In the morning, after breakfast, the judges granted parole to roughly 65 percent of prisoners. As morning wore on, the parole rate dropped to nearly zero. Then they would have a snack, and the rate went back to roughly 65 percent. As afternoon dragged on, another drop to 10 percent. After midafternoon lunch, it shot back up to around 65 percent.

What, how much, and when we eat has a huge influence on the way we think and act. If we want more energy and willpower, we must eat well.

Glucose & Willpower


 One such glucose-fueled activity is self-control, or willpower. Hypoglycemia (low blood glucose) is associated with a lack of self-control. Roy Baumeister and John Tierney have studied and shown that low glucose levels are found in over 90 percent of juvenile delinquents and that hypoglycemia is associated with traffic violations, public profanity, shoplifting, destruction of property, exhibitionism, arson, spouse abuse, and child abuse.

Studies have demonstrated that sips of lemonade with sugar (glucose) versus lemonade with diet sweetener improves willpower. This result supports findings in the general population that overweight and obese individuals drink more diet beverages than healthy-weight individuals and that, importantly, heavier people who drink diet beverages consume more solid-food calories than those who drink sugar-sweetened beverages.

***This is not a recommendation to consume excessive amounts of sugary beverages.***

The best way to ensure a slow, steady release of glucose throughout the day is to eat foods that are low in what dietitians call 'glycemic load.' An example of these foods are the staples of the Mediterranean diet: vegetables and fruits, yogurt, multigrain breads and cereals, beans and chickpeas (hummus), and nuts.

High-glycemic load foods (such as rice, pasta, and baked goods with white flower) produce sharp spikes in blood glucose, which is usually followed by a sharp drop, resulting in fatigue and hunger. Eating low-glycemic foods throughout the day allows you to maintain your energy and willpower without gorging on a huge lunch or dinner.

More Snacks!!!


To keep glucose levels more or less constant throughout the day you might consider snacking on fruit, vegetables, yogurt, low-fat cottage cheese, nuts, sunflower or pumpkin seeds or trail mix.

A study followed over four hundred college students for thirteen days and found that both fruit and vegetable intake was associated with more purpose in life and creativity.

Eat with Purpose

There's no need to be excessive about diet - in either direction. Aristotle proposed a golden rule for eating: "If we drink or eat too much, that will destroy our health, whereas drinking and eating proportionate amounts creates, increases, and preserves it." Many of the most purposeful people I know find a way to maintain a reasonable, enjoyable, well-balanced diet.

Tips for Eating Well

  • Eat slowly. Pause now and then to check in on your satisfaction level. Smell the food. Then taste it. If you catch yourself taking the express train rather than the local, try putting your fork down after each bite.
  • Approaching each meal armed with a scale and a calorie chart is a good way to improve your diet, and lose your friends. Fill half your plate with vegetables, a fourth with protein (fish, lean meat, beans, lentils, etc.), and the rest with a healthy starch (potato, rice, pasta, etc.).
  • Eat light and eat often. This will maintain blood glucose for energy and willpower without causing dramatic peaks and valleys.
  • If you have a choice, control portion sizes by using smaller plates and glasses.
  • Try to avoid multitasking at the table; the distractions make it easy to go on autopilot.
  • Instead of waiting until you're running on fumes, then screeching into a gas station to fill 'er up, make each meal just big enough to get through the next few hours. There's even an added bonus: your next meal will come that much sooner!
  • Fiber is your friend. Keep things moving through your digestive pipeline with a generous daily intake of whole grains, fruits, vegetables, beans, peas, and nuts.
  • Sugar can be sneaky! Look for it hiding in your food under other names on the ingredients list of packaged foods - ingredients like high fructose corn syrup, can syrup, or any of several other nasty characters with names ending in -ose.
  • Ask for a to-go box as you order. Not only does this help reduce portion size, but it provides another great meal for later.
  • At the grocery store, shop the perimeter. Fresh foods are often found out at the edges, while processed foods full of fat and sugar line the aisles. Outsmart the marketing wizards by avoiding the middle.
  • When possible, eat locally sourced, seasonal produce. It supports our local economy and nourishes you with a variety of fresh, field-to-table nutrients.