Bad, Better, Best
I honestly believe that most people know the basics of what’s a healthy food and what’s not. If I had flashcards with different foods and asked you to tell me which ones were healthy and which ones weren’t, you’d probably get the majority right. Sure, there’s some foods that appear healthy, that the food industry has labeled “No Fat, Healthy, etc” but on the whole if I said which was healthier and showed you a Snickers Bar or a Banana, most of you would say the banana is healthier and you’d be correct.
Why then do we have such a problem eating healthy? Going on a diet? We have food addictions, that’s why, and breaking away from those addictions are damn hard. I would also say it’s one of the hardest addictions to break because you still have to eat, it’s not like other addictive substances, you have to eat, you don’t eat, you die. It becomes a matter of breaking bad food addictions and replacing them with healthy food.
Some people can go cold turkey and instantly start eating healthy. I wasn’t one of them. The lettuce on a burger was a salad to me, and I’d often remove it because why would anyone ruin a good cheeseburger with some nasty lettuce. I’ve always known what foods are healthy for me, but I couldn’t make that leap from delicious bad foods to healthy good foods.
I came up with a strategy though called Bad, Better, Best and I applied it to foods. The bad food is what I was eating, the best food is where I would like to end up, and then there was that better food that would bridge the gap between the two. Here’s some examples from my own life.
I’ve talked about my addiction to Coca-Cola, how I was at 6 cans a day and slowly tapered off, and now don’t drink it. The bad was the Coke, the best was no coke, so what was that middle ground? Less Coke and replacing it with Seltzer. I couldn’t go from the bad to the best. I needed that middle ground.
I also loved Snicker Bars, so that’s the bad, the best is no Snickers Bar, so the middle ground better option was Clif Builder (It’s a protein candy bar, that at least had some good qualities, all organic, 20g of protein, ton of vitamins). The better option helped me bridge that gap between the bad and the best.
Eating fruits and vegetables, ah that was a tough nut to crack for me, and I chose a path that most health food diet gurus would cringe at. Eating no fruits and veggies was the bad, the best, eating fruits and veggies, and the better for me was making the vegetables taste as good as possible, even if it meant cheese, butter, salt, whatever. I’ll use broccoli for an example of this. I regularly eat steamed broccoli now and actually like the taste, oh that wasn’t always the case, the way I got to the best option involved me eating Broccoli with Cheese Sauce, putting it into scrambled eggs, and slowly getting used to it.
Most nutritionists would just tell you to go for the best option. To me working towards that best option was a goal, not an immediate requirement, and even if you went from Bad to Better, just imagine how improved your health would be. Yesterday I was cooking some healthy lentil soup, as I was preparing the ingredients, I found myself eating a raw carrot and liking it. Good god, I’ve become one of those people, but the only way I got there was doing Bad, Better, Best.