Nearly everyone has the desire to be more healthy. No big secret that one of the principle elements to this is how you eat. Eat better, and you’ll feel better. Feel better, and you’ll be more on top of it. Be more on top of it, and you’ll perform better at work. Perform better at work, and you’ll succeed more. This isn’t rocket science folks…which leads us to the first point….

1) Don’t treat eating better like it’s rocket science. KISS: Keep It Simple Stupid. Stay away from complex diet plans. Eat simple quality. Avoid elaborate calorie counts, carb counts, special meal timings, etc., as all make staying on course difficult.

2) No Franken-foods. Author Michael Pollan put it best with a few simple adages: “Don’t eat anything that your great-great-grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food,” and “Is it food, or is it food-like?” Go deeper with Pollan’s easy guide Food Rules http://michaelpollan.com/books/food-rules/

3) Eat Only Ethical Meat, And Eat Less Of It. Corn-fed beef is like “fine Corinthian leather,” in that it’s an attribute manufactured by an ethically-challenged marketer. Corinthian leather, was a term that was both meaningless and harmless. In the case of corn-fed beef, it is neither. Actual cows were designed by mother nature to eat grass, not corn, and have to be pumped full of antibiotics to keep them alive on such an unnatural corn-based diet. The factory-based system of meat production has countless other challenges. Eat only naturally-raised, grass fed/grass finished beef, and other “ethical meats.”

4) Give up soda. Start today. All soda, including energy drinks. Not just that bad HFCS stuff, but also the stuff that contains the ‘natural’ sugars and sweeteners. Diet stuff too. Quick, before you tell yourself you can’t, resolve to chuck it, and chuck it now. Cold turkey. You are stronger than it, and you know it. So prove it. So, now where to get the caffeine? For some, black coffee is love at first sight. For others, it’s an acquired taste. So acquire it already. Or, go for alternatives that many folks feel are superior for you and the environment, specifically teas, or my preference yerba maté. With any of the above, treat yourself to quality. Don’t sweeten it. In just a few days, you’ll acquire the taste and enjoy it for the rest of your (now longer) life. Do NOT replace your soda with nearly-equally-iffy substitutes like flavored waters, and pre-sweetened bottled coffee/teas/mate.

5) Become A Food Zealot. Reprogram yourself by developing a distrust of the commodity food system. Come again? Yep, there’s no easier way to keep up an activity then if you believe in the principles behind it. In the western world, it’s not really ‘programming’ as much as it’s ‘deprogramming.’ We’ve been taught to believe that if it’s on the shelf in the grocery store, or on the menu, then it must be okay. It’s not. Not by a long shot. A common reaction is “I don’t want to know (because then I’ll have to change my eating to reflect the new knowledge).” Yes, you will. And that is the point. If you’re so lazy, tired or weak-willed that just the idea of this turns you away, then I truly wonder how you got this far. But you’re neither. Accordingly, the last two points here are tools by which to reprogram. The first step is to admit there is a problem. However, this problem is not with you. The problem is with our food and our food system. Believe in it, and you expose your physical and mental health to its ills. Develop a healthy (key word there) distrust, and you might just have a chance.

6) Sit Back & Watch. Movies and TV. Get in touch with your inner couch potato, and be entertained and educated at the same time. Here’s my top three choices:

  • Food, Inc. – Must viewing. Well-written, filmed and produced with some of the most engaging leading minds on the subject of food and our food system in America.
  • Jamie Oliver’s TED Talk – A short 20 minutes. Highly engaging.
  • Mark Bittman’s TED TalkThe New York Times Food writer Bittman delivers an insightful and compelling talk about the interrelational connections between food, our health and the health of our planet.

7) Read. Face it, re-education is going to take a little reading. Don’t worry, these are great writers, and the books are fascinating. Although the “must read” list could be pages long, I’ll keep it to just two modern day classics.

  • The Omnivore’s Dilemma, Michael Pollan – THE tome. Fascinating. Intriguing. Engagingly written. Required reading for anyone who eats.
  • Fast Food Nation, Eric Schlosser – Nothing like a little well-researched muck-raking…as long as it pulls the reader along on the journey as this one does.