How I Got My Family To Eat Healthy
Written by: Kirsten Cowart
How often do you go way out of your way to make a healthy meal, only to have the people around you complain about how it tastes or end up snacking on unhealthy foods afterwards anyways?
Well, for me and my family, that used to happen all the time. My family would resist healthy smoothies, juices and meals, because they didn’t care for the initial taste.
I have spent some time trying to figure out how to introduce healthy eating to my family and what has actually brought us the most success came from a powerful technique of mindfulness meditation.
This technique that we use together seems to have literally rewired our brains in a way that we are now asking for healthy food for nearly every meal!
Why Do People Resist Healthy Food?
For so many of us, the traditional American diet is all that we know. That diet is full of sugar, dairy, fried foods, fats, simple carbs and domesticated fruits and vegetables. That’s right, domesticated. If you were to go out into the wild and harvest a wild broccoli, it would taste very different from the broccoli you buy at the store.
Instead of food being an adventure, society has made food as predictable as possible. If you eat something new, many of us don’t slow down and enjoy the flavors. You also typically compare it to everything you have ever eaten before. This limits your experience and makes it harder to enjoy raw and healthy foods that you are less familiar with eating.
Fats, Sugar, Dairy And Fried Foods
What you may not realize until you stop eating these foods is that, not only are they addictive, but they also dull your senses. Typically, when you think of senses being dulled, you point towards smoking or old age. Believe it or not, sugar and other low-quality foods overwhelm your senses and numb you to the subtle flavors of other high-quality foods.
After you have been away from these foods – especially sugar – for about a week, you will start to notice a huge difference in your body, mind and senses. You will be able to think more clearly, feel better physically, have more energy and be able to smell and taste much more than you did before.
How My Family Started Eating Healthy
Just like the mindfulness meditation where you observe your senses without attachment, we began to do that with our food and various drinks. Normally, you judge food by that first bite. Every bite after that is a desperate attempt to recreate that first initial blast of euphoria. Sometimes, the seeking of pleasure through eating will lead you to overeat.
What you forget, though, is that the initial taste of your food isn’t the brunt of the eating experience. A huge part of eating that you often forget to look at is how you feel afterwards. Do you feel tired or drained? Does your stomach hurt? Do you get moody or feel weighed down? Or do you feel uplifted, light, satisfied, happy, energetic, motivated and clear-headed? Honestly, most of us haven’t taken the time to ask ourselves these questions.
How Do You Feel?
What is great about this technique is that my family didn’t even know consciously what was going on. I just started asking simple questions after meal time and after a while a conscious recognition about how their bodies reacted to each food became known.
When fast food was consumed and I asked my family, “How do you feel now after eating X, Y, or Z?” they would think about it, slow down and feel into their bodies. They started to notice that they didn’t feel good. The initial euphoria became fleeting compared to the hours of uncomfortable digestion and sluggishness that came with it.
Then, when my family would eat something healthy, even if the taste was a bit foreign to them, I would ask the question. “How did that meal make you feel?” We would talk about how we felt physically, mentally and emotionally. This added awareness to the higher quality and nutrition in the healthy food.
Then My Family Changed Themselves
After a few weeks of asking questions, I began to be surprised about how my family’s eating habits changed. Meal and snack choices started to be about the long term effects of how we would feel afterwards instead of some momentarily misunderstood craving.
The first few weeks, they started to change by requesting healthy dinners, such as vegan, vegetarian and paleo meals. Then after that, I started to see them going out of their way to make salads, sandwiches and healthy meals for themselves. It seemed as though suddenly, eating healthy was something they naturally wanted to do on their own.
There was no nagging, no stress, no speeches about how this food or that food was good for them, they just started to pay attention to how they felt and made the changes themselves.
Now that eating healthy has become such a big and important part of my family’s life, they have even begun to ask questions, or look up ingredients online to find out why they feel so good after eating them. This has lead to my family suggesting new healthy ingredients to be added into our lives.
We have also begun to focus on eating foods that benefit those areas of our bodies that we have struggled with. For example, eating ginger for digestion and turmeric for inflammation.
Rewiring Brains and Taste Buds
Not only has this whole process been a passive one, but it has happened in a way that is creating powerful lifestyle changes and building habits that will carry my family further in life. It may take some time at first, but I strongly believe that through repetition and awareness, we literally can rewire our brains.
When you go to eat a food, remembering how it makes you feel after can actually change your perception of the food you are eating. Foods that you know make you feel sick will start to taste bad to you, whereas foods that follow up with good feelings will start to taste better to you.
Try out this simple technique on yourself and include your family and friends, then let us know about your experiences in the comments below.
Kirsten Cowart is a writer and researcher that has worked in the spiritual, mental health and medical fields.Kirsten enjoys studying and experiencing the benefits of yoga, meditation, nutrition, herbalism, organic gardening and alternative health.She worked hard in 2014 losing over 40 lbs. and has since maintained a healthy lifestyle.Follow her to learn more about her journey on Twitter, Facebook & Youtube!
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