Written by Jamila Holder
Let’s be honest — chances are, you have read a New Year’s article on resolutions before. You probably know health-related resolutions are among the five most popular kinds. Aren’t we all familiar with the benefits of eating healthy, whether it’s paleo, keto, vegetarian, organic, vegan… but wait!
Before you tune me out, what if I told you that food is not the problem or the enemy? The truth is, we actually have to make an effort to be ignorant about our food choices — which leaves us to pose the question, If we know better, what is stopping us from taking action and eating healthier?
Like any New Year’s resolution, getting started is arguably the hardest part, but what if I told you that there is another battle that few master when it comes sustaining food resolutions? I bet you know this battle all too well – go ahead and try a new food and you will know what I am talking about.
I realized what this battle was about last November, when I participated in a Daniel Fast. I am a true foodie, so you can imagine how fasting is not a strength of mine, and how eliminating sugar and meat from my diet could even seem ungodly.
After the first week of withdrawal symptoms, I began to discover alternative healthier options that looked delicious, but I had to be willing to try them. There is something interesting that happens when we try new foods; it’s almost like our bodies go into hyper-critical mode. Our brain begins to wonder, Will I like this? Every muscle in our face stands on high alert as our tongue is given the role of being a guinea pig.
When a strange taste and texture interact with your mouth, your mind combs through its archives of similar taste experiences to draw the final conclusion: Do I like this or do I hate it?
If you decide you like it, you will most likely finish your plate, perhaps even ask for seconds. However, if you decide you hate it, the likelihood of ever trying it again diminishes.
A few years ago I saw the most ingenious food ad. It was an ad for Tums, and the tag line “Is your food fighting you?” stuck with me. The battle I want to highlight could be summarized by a similar question: Is your tongue fighting you?
The tongue is usually the first to abort our healthy eating mission. It is the first point of contact that determines which foods we would eat. Unconsciously we have trained our tongue to enjoy the foods we do. It loves what it loves and hates what it hates because we trained it to. In conjunction with our brain, our tongue will determine whether we achieve our healthy eating goals in 2018.
After surveying friends, I began to realize that we are all fighting a losing battle. We have developed a psychological framework of excuses that are inhibiting our ability to achieve our food goals, the main excuse being that we didn’t like the taste of “healthy food.”
However, the realization that my body is the only ticket that grants me access to exist on earth, trumps all excuses.
As a believer, I have found that we ourselves are the biggest transgressor of eating unhealthily. I was taught to bless my food before partaking; “Father bless this food and let it bring nourishment to my body,” but if the meal I chose was not nutritious to begin with…you get my point.
We know our bodies are the temple of God. Is your body in its current state the best dwelling place for God? If not, it’s time for some resolutions. In 2018 let’s ask God to help us to tame our tongue, so we can introduce it to a new food and re-train it to love what is good for our body, mind and well-being.