Eating to Live, Living to Eat

I’m sitting at my desk. It’s mid-afternoon, and my energy’s crashing. My mind feels slow and blurry. I’d like a nap, but I have to keep working and get some more productive hours in. I reach for…

My bottle of water. I almost always keep a filled 27 oz. water bottle with me. Mine happens to be a Kleen Kanteen, because I like the stainless steel bottle (durability and no plasticky chemicals) and the leak proof lid.

A source of protein. Nuts are easy to always have on hand, delicious, and quickly do the trick. Nuts can get expensive, but buying them in bulk reduces the cost significantly. Fresh fruit’s great too: put an apple in your bag for later.

Jody Jessup, a registered dietitian and professional psychotherapist who specializes in nutrition counseling, provided a fantastic analogy: “We wouldn’t dream of putting the wrong fuel in our vehicle. It can be a really cumbersome, expensive fix.”

“Most of us go through our lives not really understanding how to maximize the nutrition we get from food,” she continued. “We’ve lost the social nature of sharing food together. It’s become a chore. We’ve made nutrition into a hobby instead of a basic need.”

Feeding ourselves can be simple, yet few of us know how to make the right choices. Our bodies are capable of telling us when they are hungry, full, or what they’re hungry for. We just don’t give them a chance to tell us, or know how to listen.

“I try to teach people the value of understanding how to keep your fuel source – blood sugar or glucose – on cruise control. Generally speaking even the perfect meal can only hold you steady for five hours. Then your blood sugar’s flat-lining. It’s a lot harder to bring it back up then to keep it stable.”

This leads many people to eat whatever is closest and easiest, and not necessarily healthiest. To start eating better, we need to be willing to organize our lives so that healthy choices are available.

Jessup said, “My golden rule of eating is to keep it as nutrient dense as possible. You want to get the most nutrition for the calories. Your brain’s main job is to regulate your blood sugar. You’re best off to make sure that’s taken care of first. It’s a much better thinking machine if it’s fed.”

People have stopped eating to live, and started living to eat. It’s less about putting the best fuel in our bodies and more about driving through at McDonalds because it’s fast and tasty.

Some Tips from Jody Jessup on Improving Your Nutrition Today

Stay hydrated: Instead of reaching for another cup of coffee or soda, drink more water. According to Jessup, water improves energy, mood and concentration, moves waste out of the body, and keeps the kidneys functioning smoothly.

Breakfast: Eat within an hour of getting up in the morning, so you’re not just running on caffeine. Make sure you include a source of protein; your body burns carbohydrates more quickly.

Food labels: Labels are good for comparing product to product. Like cereal to cereal: which has more fiber? Or yogurt to yogurt: which has more protein?

Eat: Meals should be no longer than five hours apart. If you know it’s going to be longer, bring a snack.

Choose: Foods that are high in protein and nutrient dense. They help keep your blood sugar buffered. It can be as simple as an apple smeared with peanut butter.

Pay attention: What do you eat, when do you eat, and are you hydrated?

“Eating should be pleasure filled, but it needs to be intelligent as well. I don’t want eating to live to be so calculated and scientific: it should be creative, joyful, feed the body, mind and soul.”

To get in touch with Jody Jessup about food coaching, call her at 920.839.9900 or go online to