Should be a simple question, right? It is but, let’s dig a little deeper and truly understand what food is to each of us. For some it’s merely a way of sustaining life. To others it’s a way of showing gratitude. Some of us use it to cope with stress while others use it to celebrate accomplishments. Whatever your take on food there are 2 very important characteristics you should remember before your next bite: Food is INFORMATION and your body is SMART.
Food contains macronutrients, micronutrients, vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, zoochemicals, and so much more. Each of these traits of food contains information being passed through our bodies. How our body use this food varies in as many ways as there are varieties of foods. In fact, the same exact foods that help you decrease body fat could increase body fat in another. The same foods that help lower LDL (bad) cholesterol could raise LDL in someone else. Why? Food is information. Information that sends signals through our entire body: do this, don’t do this, activate this hormone, deactivate this hormone, express this protein, inhibit this protein, and so on.
Despite how you feel your body is smart at interpreting this information. It doesn’t care how you look; it just knows what it should do with the food you consume. Eat too much sodium? Your body has a response for it. Not getting enough protein? Your body as a response for that as well. You may not like the responses but your body knows what it’s doing. Its job is to figure out how to keep you alive with the food (aka information) you provide it. Heck, your body can figure out ways to keep you breathing even if you haven’t eaten anything for weeks!
Food is not merely energy. Our body isn’t a mindless machine. The fittest, healthiest people in the world understand this concept. Foods and our body’s work in sync, for better or worse. What “information” is on your plate? What “knowledge” is being passed into your body? How will your body interpret this information? These are probably deeper questions than you care to answer when it comes to your next meal but take a minute and consider the implications. Would you download random “security” software from an email? Probably not. Why? Because, you don’t want to infect your computer with a virus. Your computer will crash, all your work will be lost, and someone could know your search history (uh oh lol). Why not treat your body the same way?
See food as fuel but also see it as a means of enjoying life, to celebrate, learn, understand, and connect. So, what does food mean to you?