Continued from Part 1.

Do You Need To Eat Less Calories? 

Or maybe you just need to eat better quality calories. Here are some ways you can go about it…

Eat mostly plants. Fill up on them first. Leave animal products to the last and in the smallest amounts.

Reduce Excess Flavoring

Cut down on salt, spices, sauces, and extra flavoring. Gradually reduce these and notice over time how your taste sensitivity increases and you find yourself pleased with relatively little spicing. Learn to appreciate foods for their natural flavoring and taste. For many plant-based foods, the closer to their unprocessed, raw (or mildly cooked) form they are, the more nuanced flavor they provide. Your brain has likely been over-stimulated from over-spicing – after some time of weaning the brain from needing so much, you’ll begin to notice and be pleased by those subtle flavors.

Eliminate refined sugars completely. I summarize our situation with sugar this way: to the body, in a calorie-scarce environment sugar is gold, while in a calorie-abundant environment sugar is poison. Almost certainly, all of you reading this live in a super, calorie-abundant environment. Allow your brain to withdraw from over-stimulation by sugar and eventually you’ll find yourself pleased with the most subtle natural sweetness of whole foods.  You’ll notice that even many vegetables are indeed sweet.

The main objective is this: use less and less, each time putting just enough additional flavoring, spicing or sweetness on things to make them taste interesting enough to you to stimulate saliva (the first stage of digestive enzyme production) and that is all you need to nourish the body with minimal calories. If you find yourself then not wanting to eat quite as much plain-tasting foods, then you’ve may have just discovered one of the biggest reasons why you’ve been eating too much.

Necessary flavoring activates saliva production so we can swallow and digest the food. Excessive flavoring is entertainment, and when done at most meals, leads to over-eating and distortions in our sense of being properly nourished. 

I propose to you that the sense of satiation that comes from nutritient-dense, plain food is a better indicator of when you’ve had enough than satiation from flavor-enhanced foods. You will find your body eating less, because your body will simply tell you its done a lot sooner than if it was artificially provoked to eat more by extra flavoring. The lower flavor-intensity will help you eat more slowly, allowing more time for digestive enzyme production to stay up with the rate of swallowing. That slower input rate will give the brain time to detect its had enough before you’ve eaten too much.

Reduce Variety

We need a variety of food in order to get the broad variety of nutrients required by the body. But we don’t need a variety of food in order to remain continually entertained by it.

Once you have planned your menu and your shopping patterns to gather each week a broad enough variety of macro-nutrients (those carb, fat, and protein substrates) and micro-nutrients to maintain your health, you can set up a fairly un-varied routine for what you eat. Just a few variations on breakfast. A list of recipes you cycle through every two weeks for lunch or dinner. Plan to make extra of two or three meals each week so you can eat leftovers for a few more. Beyond that, save a special recipe for a special occasion. But don’t do this all the time, nor even most of the time.

When meal patterns are routine, you don’t find yourself thinking about it as much, which saves time and will power. When food is ordinary you don’t get as excited to eat more than is necessary.  Novelty and spontaneity have two sides – one side excites the brain and the other urges us to eat what is not necessary or more than is necessary.


Think: What Does The Body Need?

When you are getting ready to prepare your next meal, first think, “What does my body need for nourishment right now?” rather than, “What do I want to eat?” Look at what’s available to chose that which is closest as possible to meeting that nutritional need. Once you choose the better foods, then consider how to make it more tasty.

At a particular meal time your body may need an emphasis on more complex carbohydrates, or more healthy fats, or more protein – or a balance of a couple of those. It may need more vitamins and minerals. It may need more fiber. It may be time for the big meal of the day with hours ahead for digestion, or a light one closer to bed time.

Look for ways to add or sneak more nourishing ingredients into what you’re already eating. Its amazing all the vegetables you can stack onto a sandwich, leaving less room for the animal products. Or submerge them in a plain tomato sauce or marinara, then pour that on top of whole grain rice or quinoa, rather than upon pasta.

Start with an attractive, base recipe for a smoothie. Then over time, by experimenting with what’s left in the frig, you can enjoy adding new kinds of colorful vegetables to your smoothies, with less and less need for additional sweeteners. 

Photo by Brooke Lark on Unsplash

Add nuts, seeds, fruit, and nutritious additives (like nutritional yeast, or hemp oil) to your salads and porridge.

Consume only unsalted, unflavored nuts. Or make your own mix of raw, unsalted nuts and allow just one of those variety to have some salt on it, which will cut down the total amount in the mix greatly.

Start using more brown rice and less white rice. Use more whole grains as a base rather than pasta.

Basically, study what plant-based foods – for each substrate of carbs, fats and proteins – give you more nutrition per calorie, and which offer a diversity of nutrients. Then go crazy trying to sneak more and more of those in to every meal and use them to replace inferior foods.


Aligning Want And Need

The initial trick here is to turn your attention away from what you want to what you need. The ironic thing is, that when there is a disparity between what your brain is programmed to crave and what the body actually needs for health, eating what you want never ends up making you feel better, and it doesn’t make you perform better. And, immediately switching to healthy foods will not always instantly be pleasing either.

First, you study what your body needs, and apply some faith that this will make you feel better too, given some consistency and time. Then put in effort to gradually wean yourself off of those foods that are destructive or inferior, consume more of what is constructive, and this will gradually reprogram the brain (and gut) to want what it actually needs – your brain’s want and your body’s need will become aligned. You won’t feel required to exercise so much ‘will power’ to stay eating the right things because you will be unified within yourself and actually crave what is good for you. The more you live this way, the easier it gets to view food this way and make better choices in the midst of cultural pressure to eat otherwise. 

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