At Lettuce Deliver, we meet some customers who are really (and we mean really) giving themselves a hard time about not making the switch to organic produce sooner.
In our view, any switch is a good one. No matter what triggered the change or how you ate before, there’s no point in beating yourself up about prior eating habits.
Switching to organic produce is a process. You have to go through a bunch of different steps to be able to get to your food goals. There’s your produce, pantry and fridge to consider.
But there’s also a wealth of days, weeks, months and years of food relationship to deal with. While organic produce and other food items are yummy, it does take time to train our palate and our mind.
So in this special blog from Lettuce Deliver, we’d like you to take a step back from worrying about your food choices and to applaud the desire to change. The decision to change your food habits is a big one. It’s not always an easy one.
Here’s why you need to cut yourself a little slack while you change your eating habits for the better
We come from a default position of trust
When you think about it, the average Australian is pretty busy. We’ve got work, family, friends, community activities, leisure and all sorts of moving parts at any given time.
Food is a simple idea with a lot of complex information surrounding it. So if you have felt overwhelmed by organic produce and healthy food claims previously, it’s understandable. Part of the game of food marketing is to bait and switch with the message and to rely on that trust. There is probably an element of relying on your fatigue when it comes to sifting through all the messages and issues.
So we don’t always have time to unpack all the claims on the packaging. Plus, we’re trusting even if we are cynical. We’d like to think that profit doesn’t come before consumer health. And there’s probably part of us that doesn’t want to sound like we should be wearing a tin foil hat with conspiracies as well.
Becoming aware of your diet and your food intake is a powerful thing. Waking up to the questions around food and food production, especially when eating is something we do often with little awareness from childhood through to adulthood, takes time.
Food habits are often deeply ingrained
We don’t even remember our first meals and foray into solid food. Eating becomes an automatic process. Our days are divided up into feedings and later into play lunch, lunch and after school snacks. Our meals are set by our parents and their meals often by the parents before them. So it isn’t surprising we run on auto-pilot for a considerable part of our lives.
Because these habits are so automatic, they do become like rituals for us. They also become situations where we might start to like things that draw us in like sugar, salt and fat. Some of the substances in food can be highly addictive and cause us to crave and repeat habits. Even when we’ve become aware of our relationship with these foods may not be as positive as we'd like.
We also eat along with things like our desk, TV viewing, when we’re at low ebb emotionally and so on. So we have moments where we aren’t always conscious of what we ingest.
When you factor in some pretty deep training and lifelong habits together with the addictive nature of some foods, it can be quite challenging to make changes. It’s a lot of stuff to re-evaluate in our minds, let alone turn to something more positive.
Choosing organic produce and/or changing the contents of the pantry and fridge is one thing. Unpacking potential decades of our food relationship is another thing entirely.
From organic produce through to veganism, all change starts with small key turns
You’ve probably heard a million claims about how diets fail and how reality weight loss shows have an unsustainable approach to getting healthy. One of the most common factors in these stories is that change was too extreme, too much and too fast.
All change comes in small steps. It also comes in small steps and stumbles backwards. Clearing out the entire cupboard and throwing every piece of temptation away may seem like a bright idea. But removing temptation doesn’t make the feelings behind temptation dissipate.
Buying organic produce and switching out the snacks for healthy items may seem like a good idea. But what about the lunch on the run at work? Or eating out with friends? It’s much harder to manage your relationship with food if you don’t have to depend on isolation from temptation to get you through.
What it comes down to is choice and change. When we choose to make a change, we understand the process behind the change. We find something of our own to motivate us. And it makes sense because our goals with change and how we’re undertaking it align.
When we clean out the entire cupboard and are “so good for weeks” before scoffing down the naughtiest possible lunch we can think of, it feels like we’ve failed. Once we break that, we’re back at zero and the climb feels like a massive event, making it harder and harder to get back to where we were.
On a big journey, you’re bound to find a stone in your shoe. Or take a wrong turn or stumble. But that doesn’t mean you have to forgo progress and head back to the beginning. It simply means you should keep moving. Because journeys and changes and goals are never straight line, quick adventures to Success Mountain.
Your food relationship starts now
Musician Michael Franti has a beautiful lyric in one of his songs and that lyric is “it's never too late to start the day over.”
The world is currently reinventing its relationship with food. But it’s a process. Yes, some of us come to organic produce through wanting to do the right thing by farmers. Or we care about the environment and what farming does to the planet. We might be inspired to raise the rebel flags who want to profit from feeding us unhealthy information and equally unhealthy food for profit.
Most of us come to organic produce, clean eating, major changes in food habits, veganism or simply looking closer at the food we eat because of health. This could be through wanting to lead by better example for the kids or pregnancy. It might be through having sporting goals or feeling the pinch of age upon you. Or like many Australians, it could be through digestive ailments, increased food intolerances, health scares or diseases like cancer.
Sometimes we get a massive shock that propels us forward to taking action. And maybe there is regret and concern and worry interwoven into the decision making process.
But it isn’t a case of running down the clock or making a change in the last innings. It’s a case of recognising it’s pretty brave to throw away convenience, preconception, a life time of habits and everything you know about one of the most ritualised things on the planet and start again.
No matter what road lead you to a healthier relationship with food, be proud of that decision. Don’t lament the Tim Tams in the freezer or that naughty lunch. Just take comfort in the fact you are willing and able and inspired to make a change for the better.
Because that decision alone is powerful.