The hope of living longer and healthier led us to invent society. So you’d think we wouldn’t have all these roadblocks between us and healthy eating. We should walk into the grocery store and see everything arranged clearly starting with a “healthy” section going on to “terribly delicious, but awful for your body” section. Then you could make an informed decision about what you buy and consume. This would allow people with family history of diabetes, heart disease, certain types of cancer and other life threatening diseases to easily select the food that is best for them.
But in our stupid world, trying to put nutrients in our body without also poisoning ourselves is a lifelong struggle that we are all but guaranteed to lose. There are a million factors that are keeping us from achieving nutritional nirvana. Instead of a million, we’ll examine three.
You Stocked up Too Much
One of my favorite foods are those plastic bowls of microwavable mac and cheese and they are killing me. And I can forget that I have it for weeks on end. Then, when I’m rooting around my cabinet for snacks in a state of inebriation, I’ll find it. That feels like Christmas. It’s like getting a present from heaven since I don’t remember buying it.
Plastic bowls of mac and cheese are stale pasta smothered in salt goo, so they taste like stale pasta smothered in salt goo. But that’s part of the allure. It is untainted by any other means and certainly not with effort. It’s just like how the sixth bagel in the “buy 5, get 1 free” box of bagels always tastes the best. Of course, bagels can kill you too.
But that’s not how healthy food works. Celery turns into flaccid, inedible mud-sticks. Vegetable rot into little puddles of brown goo when you leave them around too long. Fish, when left too long, not only emits a horrible stick, but also transforms itself into something totally unrecognizable. In less than a week, anyone who decides to “cook instead of using DoorDash” so they can “start eating healthy” will be battling fungus demons that rise from the bottom of the refrigerator at 3 AM. You run the risk of getting destroyed by tiny, pain-inducing monsters.
It’s another thing to keep track of and plan every week. Where will this extra energy come from?
You didn’t become an entirely new person
Stocking a kitchen with healthy food requires knowledge. It’s similar to the difference between learning to drive a car and learning to fix a car. Anyone can get a car from their garage to work and back, but far fewer can replace the head gasket, or even know what it is. Healthy eating is a lifestyle change. You can’t eat like me, and then eat healthy one day and stay the same person. Creating healthy diet habits means a life make over.
I don’t like any part of cooking. The planning, the construction, the standing in the kitchen and idly stirring until something’s consistency changes – all of it is awful. I’d rather throw a plastic bowl of instant mac and cheese in the microwave, hit the button, stare at it for 90 seconds, and then shovel that pile of starch and salty goo down my neck so fast that I can’t even tell I’ve burned my stomach lining.
One major problem is that healthy foods like vegetables and fruit are far more expensive than bags of Ramen noodles and pudding packs. An even bigger problem is the effort it takes to prepare food. The way I eat now, I just have to grab some slices of white bread, slather them in mayonnaise and some slices of ham and cheese and I’ve got my meal resolved in about 3 minutes. In order to have a healthy diet, I have to learn how to cook. Then I have to purchase a plethora of ingredients, including quinoa, eggplant, bell peppers, and spices. Fundamentally, I have to use them and consume them before they go bad in my fridge. Then when it’s time to eat, it just doesn’t taste greasy or salty enough. So I add a layer of cheese on top and suddenly my meal isn’t healthy anymore. I made all that effort and then packed my arteries full of cheese anyway.
In order to eat healthy, you have to be interested enough in food to learn how to make different kinds, rich enough to buy healthy, and a good cook in order to transform it into tasty meals. Finally, you have to be organized enough to know what you bought and sufficient time to prepare it.
Healthy Eating Can Can Seem Like a Punishment
There’s a reason you can still buy the poster that says, “’Stressed’ is ‘desserts’ spelled backwards.” It’s not just because it’s clever.
You are what you eat. A healthy diet makes you feel better. Chocolate is an antidepressant. Plastic bowls of mac cheese are just excellent. Also, not having time to cook also means not having time, period. So you’re tense and exhausted and deserving something delicious to ease your nerves
, but unfortunately, having a diet filled with unhealthy things makes you feel more sluggish.
After working hard all day you want to relax, not labor in the kitchen. It’s especially so when what you cook just seems to be so… bland. Why deny yourself the pleasure when you deserve it. You worked hard today. You met all your deadlines, went to the gym and visited your friend in the hospital. You should be allowed to shove something decadent in your mouth.
The immediate rewards of eating unhealthy food are so strong when compared with the rewards you’ll see far in the future if you
eat a better diet. This makes it incredibly hard to change habits. But, of course, if you really want a longer healthier life, you have to alter your habits. In twenty years you’ll thank yourself.