Food veggies on display at a night market in Khon Kaen, Isaan, Thailand

Food Consumption Control

I don’t have a weight problem; however, my organs don’t respond well to compromised food; that which is processed, overcooked, burnt, or synthetic. I wish to keep the carbohydrate intake low and the raw, plant-oriented fruit and vegetable absorption high.

It looks easy on paper; but to constantly execute this lifestyle endeavor takes discipline and prioritization. When eating or overeating the wrong foods, it can affect mood, sleep and well-being. And worse, eating poorly can drop the immune system and make us more vulnerable to who knows what.

Creating Supermarket Rules

When at home with a kitchen of your own, it is possible to create rules for what you can and can’t buy at the supermarket. I like to head right for the section where the food isn’t labeled; the produce area (greengrocers).

I try to stay away from most boxed and processed items, including sweet desserts that are tainted with high-fructose corn syrup and things of that anti nature. Although I crave and love something sweet after a meal.

Sugar in its natural whole fruit form is healthy because it's consumed and processed with fiber and other elements that make up the live, nourishing, divine fruit.  Mother nature, God, or the divine rain and sun made it that way.  

To avoid putting nasty grub into the body, namely in the form of artificially processed white sugar, mindfulness is key.

Food A nutritious and delicious smoothie bowl with seeds from Hestia on Calle 20 in Santa Marta.
Smoothie bowl with seeds from Hestia, Santa Marta, Colombia.

The easiest way to stick to eating healthily is to restrict what is bought at the store. Purchasing things like soda (fizzy drinks), and processed boxed cakes can set a person or family up for gastronomic disaster. So set a rule:

No junk-food items are allowed in the cart.

Follow that rule in the store and food-intake integrity is greatly enhanced.

If you’re on the road or living in a new place, eating well is typically more challenging.

Food Intake Control When Traveling

No matter where I roam on this vast earth, horrible food is in my perimeter. When living in new places, setting rules and following them are more challenging. Just as I finished eating before 4 p.m. today, I made a pact with myself: No food, only water, until 10 am tomorrow.

That’s an easy 18-hour water fast.

It will be an easy time of food restriction. I would have set the eating time till noon tomorrow but I have a yoga class from 6 until 7.30 a.m. The second half of that event can be intense, and will probably trigger hunger. The key will be to drink plenty of water while realizing that an 18-hour fast is mental, all willpower.

I should be doing intermittent fasting on most days. I just need to set the intention, then the rule, while leaving space for imperfection.

My fascination with street food in a new place, hasn’t helped eating optimization. Although with México’s eminent cuisine culture, it was possible to find vegan, taco-like concoctions all over.

Delicious flor de calabaza (pumkin flower) taco on a flour tortilla, from a street vendor, Mexico City.

Phenomenal eating opportunities line many of Mexico City’s food-strewn streets, yet it still has its share of unhealthy carbohydrates and cheese. In addition, this mega city in the mountains is not immune to the the world’s ubiquitous sugar dilemma.

The word for diabetes in Arabic is sukary (the sugar disease).

Generally speaking, Colombian street food is not healthy. Instead, I make it a point to go inside a restaurant and order a set vegano meal. Most places will do vegan or vegetarian with eggs, especially in a tourist area.

A set lunch typically comes with a hearty soup, plantains, beans, salad and a form of flesh which you can easily say no to and replace with eggs (huevos), or maybe more salad in lieu of the meat. Sometimes the charge will be a little bit less. Just say:

Soy vegano/vegetariano.

The establishment will usually oblige because they want your business. And in areas frequented by Europeans and North Americans, they’re used to this and probably offer vegan option(s) on the menu.

FOOD FACT: Excellent soup can be found all over Colombia. 
Food a delicious and nutritious 'menu' or set vegan lunch from Duni in Minca.
An excellent menu (set vegan lunch), from Duni, Minca, Colombia.

A menu or set meal in Colombia is wholesome and complete. I try to tell them to hold the white rice:

Sin arroz porfa.

If a person thinks not having rice is odd, they may look at you funny. If the rice comes, I try to avoid eating most of it; because it’s a useless starch that my body won’t thank me for eating.

Gastro awe-and-wonder often takes hold in a new place. I want to try everything. So I tend to sample food that’s not serving my existence positively. That said, it’s easy to overeat when new and exotic foodstuff abound.

After my first and only day in Colombo, Sri Lanka, I ended up sick with a stomach ache. The sub-par Sri Lankan bryani loaded with rice didn’t help. And the sweet cakes caused my digestive track to curse. In some areas of Colombo, like in Mt Lavinia, there is attractive looking food everywhere. Overeating caused me to feel sick for most of my second day in Sri Lanka.

Outside Big Bite Briyani restaurant, Mt. Lavinia, Sri Lanka.

When arriving in Santa Marta last October, the street food was new, so I ate from a few hawkers, including an arepa con queso or purely grotesque empty carbohydrates and useless cheese, and a cookie that was so sweet it probably consisted of 80% sugar. My feeling of wellness was far from optimal that night.

Finding Food Enlightenment: An Elusive Task

The ultimate goal is to feed the body with pure, colorful nourishment, and not too much of it. So I am setting new, more stringent rules.

Only healthy food is allowed.

Most street food isn’t permitted any more. This means remembering restaurant and café mantras like:

Sin azucar. Sin queso, en agua, no en leche.

I am preach to myself, reinforcing rules that promote optimal eating.

No more flesh food or dairy will go into my body. I will find a way to eat cheese-less pizza.

I tried pure cashew yogurt recently. It was phenomenal.

There must be a God(s). The sun and rain produce this cashew kernel in perfect sync. The Mayans were on to something.

This body is a virtually infinite universe of sacred cells.  I am beyond blessed to be a walking piece of mixed particles that demand self-respect.

I will always envision being on the way to eating enlightenment. Ohala. In’sha’Allah. I am getting closer, shooting for optimal intake.

Food psychology could be one of the most underrated topics in society. We hardly hear about it. Yet it has a major affect on our well-being. Most of us know what’s healthy and what’s not. We knew that we are absolutely what we eat. Still, it’s too challenging for the majority of us to eat for maximum health.

There are an overabundance of food options. We’re influenced by strategic marketing and advertising campaigns. Moreover, most of us have the tendency to eat in a similar way as those around us. Most people eat how they have been taught. This includes three meals a day.

Now my body is telling me that two meals is enough. And OMAD, One Meal a Day, is more ideal. NOTE: This does not apply to children who ought to be getting copious and consistent nourishment.

If striving to eat mostly plants, while keeping refined carbohdrate consumption low, routine is crucial. Daily, baby steps towards the goal is the most effective solution.

Whether you are at home or away, eating for ultimate health is a worthwhile challenge.

Are you eating close to what is a perfect diet? What kind of improvements can you make to your eating habits? Feel free to leave a comment below.

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