Food Awareness

I was walking through Rockefeller Center Plaza the other morning, admiring the newly planted flowers. I stopped to look down on where the ice skating rink was just a week or two ago – they are just replacing it this morning with an outdoor bar for the summer.

A woman and her two kids were talking about where to get breakfast. Her son wanted to go to McDonald’s and was trying to convince her that it really wasn’t that far away. I turned, and she saw me and asked, “Do you know where the nearest McDonald’s is?” I thought for a few seconds and then told her, “You know, I haven’t gone to one in years, so I have no idea.”

I thought about that afterwards. I really couldn’t remember the last time that I ate at a McDonald’s. It may have been 7 or 8 years ago at this point. I remembered that as a kid, I thought McDonald’s was so good, and I’d love it when we’d go for lunch or dinner. It was a special treat. I also remembered how I used to crave the French fries when I was a teenager. I drove through many times for lunch when I was a senior in high school or when I’d return from college over breaks. It’s so interesting how I can’t even imagine going to one now.

This is not to say that I’m a food saint by any means. I’m just so much more aware of how the foods I eat affect my body. I know that if I ate at McDonald’s, I would probably feel great for a little while, and then crash a couple of hours later – not unlike Morgan Spurlock in “Super Size Me.” And I know what to eat when I want more energy or if I want to feel more grounded. I know what foods can make me heal simple ailments.

You can learn how to do this, too, when you experiment with different foods. Are you aware of which foods give you energy? Or which foods leave you feeling hungry or tired? A simple way to learn about how foods affect your body is to keep a food diary. Write down what you eat and also how you felt before and after you ate – you’ll soon get to know what works for you and what doesn’t.

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