August 23, 2013

How to Eat Like an Idiot…& a Genius. ~ Jenna Penielle Lyons

Photo by Jenna P. Lyons

You are supposed to shop on the outside of the grocery store. 

Or better yet, you’re supposed to shop on the outside of the grocery store. The center of a grocery store is a vortex that leads into a river of some-sort-of-saturated fat, white sugar, some color some number dyes, some preservatives that are supposed to preserve colors and an ecological footprint that is large and consists of cardboard uppers and plastic soles.

And, most of these processed foods are banned in other nations. The color of Mountain Dew? Banned in other nations.

The waxy consistency of gas station Donettes that sticks to the roof of your mouth? Banned.

The same chemical that gives your yoga mat that clean, antimicrobial smell? It’s called azodicarbonamide—and it is in the McDonald’s McRib Sandwich.

All this talk about GMOs (genetically modified organisms) is becoming a main source of newspaper headlines worldwide. The truth is that they make the third world poorer, they make anyone who eats them sicker (over time, GMOs cause of whole slew of health problems, and they do not make more food; they make the food we grow decrease in quality.

While there are benefits of GMOs (they can be used to make new medicine and can act as catalysts in growing biofuel), they should not be part of our food.

I will confess that I have geeked out on those TLC shows about 900 lb. people who can’t leave their homes because they can’t walk or fit through the door. And to be honest, I think I am overly anal about the food I eat. But at least I am healthy.

I will raise my kids to know what farmer’s markets are, to subscribe to a CSA and to make healthy substitutions.

I will make my kids’ lunches every day and feed them good breakfasts and dinners. Maybe other kids will make fun of them at school (they made fun of the weird lunches my dad made me).

Maybe they will rebel and sneak out to fast food restaurants. But at least they will know. 

As a mindful human being, we spend time exercising, meditating, socializing, working and making our lives better. Eating good food is one of the easiest ways to reinforce the life we want to live…from the inside out. If we eat foods that came from the earth, we will be better able to live on the earth as a conscious and soulful individual.

I promise!

When I moved to Missoula, I was astounded by the huge community of people who were emotionally and physically invested in eating food that came from local farmers. The University of Montana cafeteria served a lot of gross food from Sysco, but there was also an option to eat locally grown beets, oatmeal, salmon, fresh salad (not iceberg lettuce and ranch!), and organic meat.

I had to ask for the almond milk, but they had it. Needless to say, I avoided the Freshman 15 (or 30, or 40, or 50) like the plague. I learned about organic farming and sustainable agriculture, and I was able to buy vegetables from people I knew at the farmer’s market.

My parents taught me to eat well and the people I run amok with have made healthy eating a cool way of living. My family was vegan for a large portion of my childhood, and I was vegetarian until I graduated high school.

But as an endurance athlete and a firefighter, the vegetarian, gluten-free lifestyle wasn’t working for me. I need meat. I know there are arguments against meat and for veganism, but I know my body and I have figured out what works for me.

While gluten-free dairy-free, and meat-free may work for some, it does not work for all.

But I can tell you this: fresh fruits and veggies and organic grains work for everyone, regardless of your dietary constraints, fads, or social status. No one will tell you that being healthy is stupid, and if they do, they are acting like an idiot.

Smart Foods

If you want to be sexy, eat kale, broccoli, spinach, pomegranates, bananas, apples, blueberries, raspberries, green beans, radishes, tomatoes, peppers, arugula, asparagus corn, black beans, citrus, squash, garlic, avocado, quinoa, and lentils.

Idiot Foods

When I eat at my local Mexican joint, I am being an idiot because they cook with lard. If you want to be an idiot and have cellulite and develop diabetes, there are several foods you can eat (actually, there are thousands of foods you can eat). Your choices include Doritos, Snickers, Mountain Dew, Swedish Fish, canned peaches, potato chips, packaged muffins, microwave popcorn, Lunchables, biscuits and gravy, frozen pizza, french fries, Cinnabon or Monster energy drinks.

The portobello burgers my parents used to make? I love them…I eat them feverishly. Here is a recipe. I eat kale in smoothies, in chip form, in salads, cooked with other things, and as a snack. Instead of chips, I grab snap peas or carrots.

And while I am a Nutella fiend, I realize that if I ate it all day, it would kill me. I realize that if I ate bacon every day for breakfast, my arteries would look like straws filled with mayonnaise. I know that sometimes, the craving for a corn dog comes on strong…like Arnold Schwarzenegger.

You don’t have to spend a lot of money to eat raw, organic foods; you can be creative, have a garden, and make your own kombucha or kimchi or sushi instead of buying it.

I make my own almond milk and it is more delicious than the stuff from the store. And I hardly ever eat out. And I nearly never eat processed foods.

Processed foods are making people fat and sick and unhappy.

My advice to you? Stay on the outer fringes of the grocery store…where the yogurt and fruit and vegetables are. Get to know the farmers at your farmer’s market. I promise that you’ll live longer and happier.

Don’t eat like an idiot…be sexy, be healthy, and be happy. Be a food genius!

Live long, live strong, and eat smart foods! I am going to make an effort to quit eating like an idiot, and you should too!

For more healthy alternatives to idiotic foods, check out this magical collection of recipes and this archive of recipes.



Like elephant health & wellness on Facebook.

Ed: Bryonie Wise

Read 7 Comments and Reply

Read 7 comments and reply

Top Contributors Latest

Jenna Penielle Lyons