Whenever I am discussing this ancestrally informed way of eating with folks, I hear comments like, “I could just never sacrifice all that food.” A lot of the people who say this (like a lot of the population) have any number of health issues that might be addressed by eating more nutrient dense food and less brown glop – tasty or not. I spend a disproportionate amount of time thinking about these comments, and I’ve recently realized why.
First, this way of eating unquestionably provides the most indulgent meals I have ever eaten. I enjoy pulled pork (from which I know the source) with Primal Mayo mixed in, along with crispy, roasted broccoli, and curried cauliflower fried rice more completely than I ever enjoyed pizza and a beer (or six) ten years ago. Frittatas, burgers, a salad with a fried egg and some homemade dressing, and many other meals all satisfy me as much as a plate of nachos used to.
These were my surface level thoughts about this comment, but something still didn’t sit right with me about it. The more I pondered, the more I found myself thinking about what food really is at it’s essence: an energy source. There are plenty of evolutionary reasons why food tastes wonderful, sugar in particular, and I appreciate the taste of the juice of a freshly picked raspberry or a tender pork chop as much as I can. However, since I began focusing hard on nutrient dense foods, I have found that the emotional pleasure I get from eating has increased exponentially. When I think about the food I eat in the course of a week, a month, a year, or even a lifetime, I find that four seconds of the taste of a nutritionally empty food suddenly becomes really fleeting compared with the knowledge that I am contributing to my longevity, wellbeing, and happiness by making a choice that is both incredibly delicious and nourishing.
I am absolutely all for enjoyment when it comes to eating. If we are hungry or we are unsatisfied, whatever way of eating we choose to employ will not work. Period. I also think that there is real pleasure in knowing we are making choices that will serve us in the short and the long term. It feels like a being in a relationship that is based on physical attraction only vs. a relationship based on attraction, depth of character, variety of experience, and a deep trust that both parties want to grow, change, and improve together.
By all means, enjoy your food. I wonder if there is also space to enjoy the knowledge that you are fueling yourself for the long term with healthy and delicious choices.