|Diet Principle #6: Food Should Be Enjoyed!|
Have you found yourself thinking, "How can I possibly enjoy eating if I'm unable to have so many of the foods I love?"
You can. In fact, you'll likely discover new enjoyment in food that you didn't have before. Dr. Davis, author of Track Your Plaque, explains:
"About ten years ago, I visited the Pritikin Center in Miami Beach, Florida. I learned that the people at Pritikin had succeeding in elevating healthy eating to a gourmet level. The food was absolutely fabulous: Tasty, beautifully-presented, and fun. It was a convincing demonstration of just how interesting a healthy diet could be."
Until this experience, I had looked at dietary changes as a necessary sacrifice, leaving mostly bland and coarse foods. But this is simply untrue. A healthy diet can be every bit as interesting as an unhealthy one. In fact, my experience and that of many of my patients is that these changes usually lead to a heightened enjoyment of food. I think that people start regarding their diet as a creative activity that supports their health. They re-discover the enjoyment of food that had been lost in the prepared, highly-processed, fast-food world.
Eating healthy foods does not mean leading a life deprived of enjoyment. Your eating habits can have a uniquely personal stamp on them, one that you and your family create in your own style. World-famous chef Michel Nischan, author of Taste: Pure and Simple, says:
"From dining out with friends as well as from cooking for restaurant customers, I have come to understand why we Americans tend to be overweight and often unhealthy. For example, when friends and I eat at country-style restaurants, like those I grew up with in the Midwest, I select an entrée and then ask for a side of greens, beans, okra, or some other veggie. My friends order fried chicken with mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese, and fried hush puppies! Given the choice, most Americans gladly eat a horribly unbalanced diet. Restaurateurs recognize this, and so menus at fast-food drive-throughs and upscale restaurants alike are geared toward indulgent foods. Everyone is seduced by convenience, and sometimes it seems the only way to go, but if you start caring more about taste and goodness and less about saving time…your taste buds will thank you."
Re-creating your diet is a necessary process. Look at foods with the Track Your Plaque principles in mind, and you'll see food in an entirely new light. You'll find it impossible to enjoy breakfast cereal or snack chips when you understand what terribly destructive foods they are. You'll also find it much easier to enjoy creating new dishes using vegetables, healthy oils, finding new ways to incorporate nuts and seeds, etc. when you recognize the profound healthful benefits of these foods.
These changes are best accomplished with a partner—your spouse, a close friend. However, it is important that you involve your partner in the entire process so that they understand why you're making these changes. If your partner understands the rationale for the changes you're making, they're more likely to willingly work with you and even help you achieve your goals. Psychological studies of the health habits of married couples clearly show that the eating and exercise practices of one partner very closely mirror that of the other. It's best you don't go at this alone.
It is human nature to stick to things we enjoy and find rewarding. It is essential that you gravitate towards foods and styles of preparation that make food enjoyable for you, rather than something you have to do for health, since we eventually reject things we are "forced" to do.
For ideas on creative healthy cooking, here are some additional resources:
Track Your Plaque Functional Recipes—our collection of recipes that shows you how foods can be used to achieve specific goals.
The South Beach Diet by Dr. Arthur Agatston—A wonderful program with many simple yet delicious recipes all consistent with Track Your Plaque principles.
The South Beach Diet Cookbook by Dr. Arthur Agatston—The full-length cookbook packed full of recipes applying Dr. Agatston's South Beach Diet approach. Contains many excellent recipes that vary from simple to moderate in complexity.
Taste: Pure and Simple by Michel Nischan—If you've exhausted the simpler recipes of ours and South Beach, you may be ready for the gourmet level of Michel Nischan. This book contains more complicated but spectacular dishes from a former French chef who re-invented many recipes with health as the primary focus.