Eating a brownie versus not eating a brownie. The choice is often seen as immediate gratification versus, as the Apostle Paul would say, blessings from afar–meaning that we choose not to eat the brownie because of long-awaited desires. The brownie today is right here, right now, whereas brownie abstention means smaller pants sizes and better health in some distant future. When looked at things this way, it’s hard to forego the brownie.
So, what are–if any–the blessings of trying to maintain a whole-food diet? Are there any that are immediate? And what do I mean by a whole-food life? What does a whole-food life look like?
A whole-food life simply means you chose to eat food in its purest forms. Fruit and vegetables from the produce section. Nuts and seeds. Meats. You make sauces but instead of pouring them over pasta, you serve them over cooked zucchini or carrots. You eat homemade soups without a lot of added sodium or fat.
And why do you do this? Is it because you want to look good in a pair of jeans, walk up a flight of stairs without feeling winded, or live until you’re a hundred and nine? Those are all valid reasons, but they may take a while to achieve.
So, here’s what I find to be the immediate blessings of a whole-food lifestyle. These are in random order and I can’t promise that your body will respond the same way as mine. One of the beauties of our bodies is that they are all created differently. We all have to learn how to care and nurture our own bodies. But this is my experience with being whole-food versus being too busy to bother about nutrition. When I eat whole-foods I:
- Sleep through the night. This, for me, is huge. When I sleep through the night, life is glorious and good. When I don’t–life sucks. Mornings are hard. People are annoying. I’m generally crankier.
- Don’t need an afternoon nap. That sluggish afternoon lull is replaced with a what-can-I-do-now feeling.
- No longer have food cravings. This may take a few days, but generally by day four, the brownie desires have subsided. Unhealthy foods lose their siren call.
- Am happier. When my twin daughters left for college, I was in a serious funk. I cried every day and often. I read this talk: and this quote struck me.
“The more food we eat in its natural state—without additives—and the less it is refined, the healthier it will be for us. Food can affect the mind, and deficiencies of certain elements in the body can promote mental depression. Rest and physical exercise are essential, and a walk in the fresh air can refresh the spirit. Wholesome recreation is part of our religion and is a necessary change of pace; even its anticipation can lift the spirit.” Ezra Taft Benson. I went to the store and bought a bunch of vegetables. I stopped crying that day.
- Have better digestion. Less gas. Regular bowel movements. Seriously, when your diet is mostly plant-based, everything works better and your co-workers will thank you.
I’m not suggesting you give up brownies for life, preach abstinence at parties, or hand out potatoes for Halloween. But these are the blessings I’ve discovered from trying to maintain a whole-food lifestyle. Your experience may vary, because your body is different from mine. And that’s a good thing.
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