“You are what you eat.”
But what if we don’t know what we’re eating and how we are eating?
Many of us undoubtedly have some poor nutritional habits. Some of us are not aware of our environment when we eat, and thus may often overeat. Others do not know what we are putting into our mouths, due to the increased amount of chemicals on foods going into grocery stores.
The Environmental Working Group (EWG) recently compiled a list of cleanest and dirtiest produce after studying 100,000 produce pesticide reports from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Topping the charts for dirtiest include: celery, which contains on average 13 pesticides per stalk, peaches, laced with 67 different chemicals, strawberries, apples, blueberries, cherries, spinach, kale, collard greens, and potatoes. These fruits and vegetables either require high maintenance to ward off insects or have skin that cannot protect themselves from harmful pesticides.
Besides not being conscious of what we are eating, many people do not pay attention to how we are eating. Recent studies show that eating in a setting with bright colors and upbeat, loud music causes people to eat more quickly and thus eat more. However, people tend to eat more slowly and less food when they are placed in a darker setting with calmer music. Furthermore, the shapes and sizes of the plates and utensils we use to eat affect people’s consumption behaviors. For example, many people hesitate to pile food up to the rims of plates, thus they eat less food on plates of same size but with bigger rims. Similarly, people served with smaller utensils often eat less than do people using bigger serving spoons. Finally, eating in front of the TV does, in fact, cause people to space out and overeat.
By knowing what foods to avoid (or to buy organic) and knowing how exactly we should settle ourselves before eating a meal, we can develop good nutritional habits that will keep us healthy.