Eat by Number

Which sounds more appealing to you?

1.  a ripe, red, fresh tomato


2.  27 calories (2 from Fat) and includes 7 mg. sodium, 2 grams of dietary fiber, 4 grams of sugar, 1 gram of protein, 25% Vitamin A, 32% Vitamin C, 1% Calcium, 2% Iron  

My guess is that most of you would prefer eating a ripe, red, fresh tomato (preferably warmed by the sun and straight off the vine).  However, as journalist Michael Pollan writes, “we’ve learned to choose our food by the numbers (calories, carbs, fats, RDA’s, price, whatever), relying more heavily on our reading and computational skills than upon our senses.”  While there might have been a beneficial purpose for the development of product labeling, it has taken us away from our ability to choose our foods through our senses of sight, taste, and smell.  Particularly when food is highly processed and found in hermetically sealed packages, it is impossible to use our senses to guide us.  Instead, we “eat by numbers.”  What I’ve noticed is that people who “eat by numbers” are far more anxious than people who eat real food.  “Eat by numbers” people seem constantly concerned with the numbers of fat grams, carbs, and proteins in each product they eat and they pay close listen to the latest scientific report about what they should and shouldn’t eat.  However, if you pay attention you might notice how “scientific” findings conflict and change by year, fad, and medical guru.  Think about eating (A) or (B) above? Which makes you feel better?  Which one tastes better?   Try placing more attention on the actual taste, touch, smell, sight of the food you eat instead of on the labels.  Mindful eating is not “eating by numbers” but directed by your own inner guidance when choosing, preparing, and eating food.  You are what you eat and your body has a wonderful wisdom.  Stop and listen.  Does it want food or a number?

Note: This blog is not suggesting that you dismiss your doctor’s orders to pay attention to specific nutritional information if that has been prescribed due to a medical condition.