Really, what is the true purpose of food?
Many people struggle with the relavence of food in the lives. Ask most people, and they'll tell you they eat for the enjoyment.
Most do not eat for the purpose that food has in our lives.
The more I study my behavior, and the more I begin to understand human nature (Thanks Emerson), the more I realize the deeply, flawed misperceptions and the tulmultuous, irrationality of human motive. All this to say - we are no different from the common animal, other than the fact that we can make a self-driven, mindless decision to do and act in a way that pleases us in the short term, and hinders our capacity and ability in the long term, regardless of the consequesnces of our actions.
Our nature is not economical. At the most basic level, an example of this type of behavior can be found in our dietary behavior.
Most poeple know (though few understand) that foods fortified with sodium, triglycerides, and simple sugars that taste good in the short term, but over time, cause significant damage to our blood vessels, brains, guts, and essentially, our metabolically active tissue. Unfortunately, that doesn't seem to matter to most, because most still consume it at a high level. Most people also know that eats such as apples, barley, kale, tomatoes, and avocadoes are 'natural' and therefore have more favorable benefits over those foods formally mentioned. But that doesn't stop us from being the most wasteful country in the world when it comes to dairy and plant-based foods (even after controlling for food subsidies).
Therefore, the question becomes this: Why do we inhernetly choose to constantly eat foods detrimental to our health, even when we know it will literally, be the death of us? In orther words, why do we continue to do what is wrong, even when the truth stares us down, and begs us to come over?
First, let me dismiss the common answers: "People love what they love." "They're addiced." "People really can't control what the eat." "It's genetic." Just as I stated in a recent blog post on whay I hate exercise. No, not so.
I believe that, somewhere in between the truth and the lie, we get comfortable with ignoring our irrational, uneconomical, evil, self-driven motives, as long as we can 'sustain.' and meet our current hierarchical needs. But I tell my students often (and now, I'm telling you), don't 'rob Peter to Pay Paul'. In other words, don't delay bad motives now, just to transparently enjoy life now, only to suffer later.
Every now and then, we'll sway back and forth between the two. Eventually, we settle with one. When someone on TV comes along and inspires us, we move to the side opposite of what we're accustomed to. When our health is threatened, we tidy up and face our crosses. When someone gives us a reason to binge out on ice cream, or decide to 'cheat' every weekend, we revert back to normal. We sway - back and forth, back and forth - waitng for deliverance, waiting for the right motive, or waiting for someone to comment on our inecurities in a motivational, 'not so harsh' way.
But it never comes.
And it never comes, because deep down, we don't want it to come. We don't want to give up Mcdonald's to drive to the store, buy groceries outside the isles, drive home, put up the groceries, and cook dinner. It's too much for us. We don't want to give up a bad diet resulting in joint pain by changing our diet to include fewer fooods cuasing inflammation via the body's natural stress and lymh systems. We don't want to give up bad relationships, because hey, at least we've got someone. So, we ignore the fact (or are ignorant to the fact...) that john and jane chronically increase our negative stress levels, which make it harder for efficient digestion to take place, and eventually cause us to gain weight at twice the normal rate.
The other, and perhaps most important thing is this: We eat, not just for ourselves, but for the sustainment of those we care about, and for the service we give to others. To be succinct, If I'm fatigued from an overdose in sodium, it's likely that I'm not going to give my wife and kid 100% of my attention, while she's discussing plans for the new house.
Be aware of what you eat, not that you secure a desirable body, but that you promote a selfless lifestyle and live a life of true and lasting wellness.