There was a long article in the local paper Sunday profiling folks who say they want to eat healthier and end up going for what society currently says is the “bad” stuff. One gal went into Dunkin’ Donuts for a cup of coffee and came out with a breakfast sandwich. Served on a split, glazed donut. Sorry, that does not float my boat. Ham and eggs is ham and eggs. And donuts are donuts not biscuits or English Muffins. Then there was the Charles Jr. double bacon cheeseburger with six, count them, six slices of bacon. Even if they use four ounce patties, and I don’t think they do, that’s half pound of meat plus the cheese.
But it did get me thinking. I just finished Killing the Hidden Waters by Charles Bowden. While detailing how our current water usage is draining the Ogallala aquifer he spends much of the book profiling the Native American tribes known to us as the Pima. The groups range from those lived in the driest section of the Sonoran desert and were true nomads to those who had access to fairly reliable water from year to year and spent the majority of their time in either summer or winter villages.
All practiced as sustainable lifestyle as possible in a desert. Their crops seldom provided much of a surplus and they depended on rain fall or stream water, not on underground “fossil” water. For some, like the true wanderers, it was to our eyes sustainable, but also right on the edge of survival. Access to foods high in fat or sugars was seasonal and frankly, unless you were able to get a deer or a buffalo, not a whole lot at any one time even then.
That’s the way of life most humans lived until the last century or so. Even after we developed agriculture and all the trimmings of a settled lifestyle the chance that you’d get hit with bad harvests, a war, an epidemic, something that would push the food supply to the bare minimum every few years was always on the horizon. What if we’re programmed to go for high calorie foods? It didn’t used to be that big of a problem because most humans didn’t have access to those foods very often and they got a lot more exercise.
I’m not offering the human reflex to go for the gusto when you get the chance as an excuse but as a tool. If we realize WHY we’re semi programmed to skip over the rabbit food on the menu and go for sirloin or the apple pie we might have a better chance of making healthier choices. That and remembering that a serving size is really about four a ounces. Yeah, I know about the size of a deck of cards.
Our way of compensating is to go in the middle of the afternoon and combine lunch AND dinner in one meal. We still have to watch things more closely when we know we’re going out but is does help.