Speaker 1 (00:00):
You are listening to, Nott Another Diet, The Podcast. This is episode six. I have two working titles. One is Why Do I Eat So Much? And the other is, 10 Companies Own your ability to Stop Eating. So today we're going to cover why it's the food, it's the food, it's the food itself. Everyone thinks they're struggling with their weight, but actually they're struggling with the food. Let's get into it. I want to ask you a few questions about how you think about yourself and food. Do you feel hungry most of the time? Do you wish you could stop eating sooner in the meal? Do you secretly think you probably eat too much, but don't understand? Why do you find yourself reaching for sweets or junk even though you promised yourself you wouldn't? Is food part of how you self-soothe difficult emotions? Now, you can answer these questions privately, and I encourage you to be honest with yourself at that and have compassionate honesty.
And if you listen to any of my episodes, and this is your first one, I hope not, you should go back and listen, especially to the calorie counting because this episode on food processing is really a fantastic counterpart to the others, and there's a reason that I did this as a season so that we could build your learning. Having said that, if you answered yes to any of those questions, I want you to know that this is not a personal problem. There's actually nothing wrong with you at all. You are experiencing the side effects of what modern food is designed to do. So again, let me just say this one more time if you answered yes to any of those questions. And the truth is, if you are experiencing chronic weight gain, you are eating too much. And I don't mean that as in bad.
You just go eat less. If you've listened to my prior episodes, you know that that is not at all what I'm trying to say to you. What I am saying is that the ways in which you think about yourself and food are actually a byproduct of modern food processing. IE what is done to a food. So let's talk about modern food. Let's talk about what I mean by modern food because I am not suggesting that you go out into the woods and pick berries and live off of that, although that does sound like a fun afternoon to be honest. But that's not what I'm suggesting for you. I understand you have to live in the modern world and you're a modern person and you can navigate this, but you have to understand what modern food is before you can do that. So what do I mean by modern food?
What I mean by modern food is modern food processing, anything that takes a raw ingredient and does a bunch of things to those raw ingredients and then it ends up in a package as food on your plate. Now, there's all kinds of food processing. I'm not suggesting that all food processing is bad for you. There is such a thing as beneficial food processing. I'll give you a quick example of that. Tofu is an example of a heritage food, as I call it, and that is a processed food. There is a process to make the food and then it ends up on your plate. What we're talking about today is ultra processing. This is the process of turning a raw ingredient into an unrecognizable food. It starts out as one thing and then many things are added to it and it's changed and it's shaped and it's powdered.
And God only knows I'm not a food scientist and I am not an expert on how food is made. What I am bringing to you and what I do understand is that all the things that you want out of eating, and again, if you've listened to prior episodes, you know that what I understand that people want and certainly that I have accomplished for myself, is that you want to eat naturally and in tune with your body. That's what people want and have that produce a healthy weight. What I'm going to lay out for you today is that modern food processing is the reason that you can't do that. And until you understand what is actually happening and the obstacles that you are putting in your own way to keep you out of harm's way, you will continue to struggle with food and then by extension your weight.
So ultra processed food is when I say to you, what is an ultra processed food, what you will probably say to me is, well, it's chips, it's Doritos, it's Twinkies. It's the stuff that we know to be junk. But here's the thing, 74% of all of the food that's on grocery shelves now qualifies as an ultra processed food, 74%. That means that when you walk into one of those, think of those giant grocery stores where you walk in and it's like an airplane hanger of food and you think, oh, there, there's so much choice here. There's so much amazing choice. And what is actually true is that 10 companies own all of those different brands, all of them. And what they have done is use teams of scientists to make food that breaks down in your mouth quickly, that goes into your body quickly, that affects your brain quickly.
And the result is in fact all kinds of physical and psychological problems. And the reason that we don't seem to have the warning bells about this, I mean food processing has been rising. If you listen to the calorie count, part one and part two, in part one, I talk about how food processing began in the 1960s, which coincidentally or not coincidentally, is when diet culture sprang up. You have food that you can't control, and then you have diets that pretend to give you a path to control the food. But they're all predicated on a huge misconception about food processing. And I'm going to read you this beautiful quote that I think really sums it up, at least it does for me, about the misconceptions that we have about modified food. Nutrition research is plagued by inconsistencies and contradictory findings, and a lot of that confusion appears to stem from the legacy belief that you can break down a food into its component parts, assess those parts individually and extrapolate from those assessments meaningful conclusions about a food's health profile.
By and large, you can't. So there's a food that I think really encapsulates this brilliant quote, and I encourage you to, if you need to stop and re-listen to that. Or if you're listening to this on YouTube, stop and look at this quote and really take it in. Because what they're saying is that nutrition research has made it possible for us to take a food and break it down into different parts and then take in nutrition information from each one of those parts. And then it doesn't matter how it was put back together, reassembled the Franken food, somehow it remains a whole food. It doesn't take those veggie straws that people are putting in their kids' lunches that bear no resemblance to vegetables. I really don't understand that food at all. It's like air in your mouth. And we're supposed to believe that there's some kind of relationship to vegetables.
Even if vegetables were once one of the raw ingredients, by the time it turns into a veggie straw, it's unrecognizable. And if we're taking nutrition information from the components of the veggie straws and then putting them on a label, you can sort of massage your brain into believing that you're actually eating a little bit of vegetables. Well, I'm putting a little bit of vegetables in my kids' lunch. Uhuh. No, no, there's nothing redeeming left in there, nothing at all. And it's that mythology that keeps us buying processed foods and wondering why we're having such a hard time with them. And remember, these company's goals are very different from your own. They want sales and they do that by creating hyper palatable foods, things that break down in your mouth, things that break down quickly in your body. They light up your brain. And if your goal is to eat naturally and produce a healthy weight, you can see where that is going to run smack into a company's stated goal of selling you more and more and more food.
They want you to eat more in one sitting and they want you to come back sooner. But that's not your goal. Your goal is something very different. And this, by the way, is why I call self-care, self-defense. I don't think of self-care as shopping, bubble baths, candles. I'm not against any of those things, by the way, but they do nothing for you in terms of protecting you and protecting your health. And so for me, self-care is about self-defense. This is a key point because when I say you're okay, this is exactly what I mean. What you need is to defend yourself and to defend your environment and to defend your relationships and your thinking from this kind of predatory food system. You don't need to alter yourself. You need to see what's affecting you and do something about that. That's a very different mindset and one that really endures over time because that's your gateway to a full and happy life.
I think choice is mostly a myth, and we think that because we walk into the grocery store and see all these just aisles and aisles and aisles of packaged foods. But the truth is 10 companies in the world own all of these brands, all of them. And the reason that matters is that it looks like we have so much availability and what is actually happening is that we're drowning in processed foods, we're drowning in them, we're swimming in them, and they have overtaken us. And it feels like all the choices that are out there are nothing but processed food. And when that happens, we eat more processed food. And I mean, it's pretty obvious. I think the new statistic is that over 60% of the western diet comes from ultra processed food. That's 60% of all the food that is eaten comes from ultra processed food.
And of course you can link that directly with obesity. So the two are definitely correlated. But why do we do this? We do this because it looks like there's so much availability and you're choosing from these different brands and we think we're being good little consumers. But in actuality, if you look at it differently or you look at it the way that I look at it, which is that I see a sea of sameness, that's what I see. Yeah, there's 10, 15 different brands of pasta sauces, but they all have sugar in them. So no thank you and we'll get to that in a second. But let's talk about what we know food processing does to our bodies, what we know. This is where the science has taken us already, and we can point to it, right? And there's this endless debate about carbs or no carbs, and I have a great article on medium about this, and it's an asinine debate.
Let me just put it to rest. It's ridiculous. There's absolutely nothing wrong with eating carbs. It's an essential element of life. Where the problem comes in is that we're eating processed carbohydrates, and that is a food component. It probably has had the fiber taken out most likely. If you've got something that's been turned into a powder and then reconstituted as a food, I don't really care where it originally came from. You could be making it out of zucchinis or superfoods, but the result is no longer anything close to where it's started from. So we often have this sort of hand wringing debate a bit in weight loss about should you eat carbs, should you not eat carbs? I think it's a meaningless question actually. What it really goes back to is food processing. Here's a few of the things that we know food processing does.
Number one, your body uses more of the calories it takes more of them in. So if you flip that, one of the reasons that people who eat whole and unprocessed food diets a little bit like I do, and I'd say my ratio is about 80%. About 80% of what I eat constitute comes from a whole and unprocessed food. So beans, vegetables, things like that. And when I do that, use many less of the calories. Many less of the calories are used by my body, which means that I eat a lot. So people who are around me always think that I eat a lot of food. I do eat a lot of food a lot. Part of the reason for that is that my body simply just doesn't use all of the calories because it comes from a hole and unprocessed food. If you invert that back over to ultra processed foods, it's using a tremendous amount of the calories from those foods.
Your body, think of it as like a vacuum. It just sucked it all in as opposed to moving it out. Which also, if you think about that in the context of calorie counting, how crazy that is that you're now counting calories and you're eating a food that your body just readily sucks in and absorbs, but now you have to count it to hold it down. Here's an example I love of that. People who eat high amounts of food processing consume on average 500 calories more per day just to feel the same level of satiation as someone who eats whole and unprocessed foods. I'm not a big calorie counter. And as I mentioned during the calorie episodes where I think it's helpful to talk about calories as density. So this is an example of that. No, I don't want somebody to go count calories, but if you're talking about consuming more, this is a double whammy.
You have to eat more to feel the same amount of fullness and your body uptakes more of those calories for energy. Or as it turns out, storage and ultra processed foods compel you to eat more in the sitting and later on through this alchemy that they've created of salt and sugar and chemicals and essentially chemicals. And we'll get into that. I'm going to give you really practical ways to figure out if what you're eating is ultra processed. It's actually a very easy formula to figure out, and that's one of the things that I've done is simplify everything. I think food tracking and all of the and modern dieting makes things difficult, but I want to make it easy. So here's another aspect that people don't think about. There are people who are addicted to ultra processed foods. This may or may not be you, but it's worth noting that there's a significant portion of the population that behaves in an addictive manner with these foods.
And why does that matter to you? Well, number one, it could be you and you may be telling yourself a story about how you were just personally deficient because you can't stay away from these foods. But also, I personally don't want to mess with food that does that to a significant portion of the population. When is the day that it's going to happen to me? And I already know there's a few foods that I can taste them or take a bite of them, and if they're left out on the counter, I'll eat the whole thing. And to me, that is a very addictive behavior. It's overriding my hunger signals, it's overriding my satiation. It's overriding what I want for myself, which, oh, let's talk about that for a second. If the food is compelling you to do something that is against what you have set out for yourself, you don't even need to look any further.
That is an ultra process food. That is what it is. Here's an example in my own life where this happened. This was a couple years ago, and I went on a little trip with a friend and she insisted on having a bunch of junk food around which I really should have put some boundaries around that. This was well into my weight loss journey. But we were going on a mountain biking trip and I figured we'd burn a lot. No, there were Oreos, there were m and ms, there was all kinds of junk food all over the place, and I dove into them dove headfirst. I could have done one of those like woo, just off the deep end of the pool into those foods. And for someone who never eats them, who never buys any of that stuff, it really caused a big problem for me.
It was probably a couple of months before I was able to wean myself back off of sugar again, and it just lit up my brain. It just lit it up. And ah, that is an addictive food and I may not be clinically addicted to it, but it is doing something to me that is very difficult. Here's a quote from the book Hooked, which if you want to explore the science of food processing and its addictive, nature is a great one to explore. One crucial element that influences the addictive nature of a substance and whether or not we consume it compulsively is how quickly it excites the brain. The faster it hits our reward circuitry, the stronger its impact. So I encourage you to take a moment and if there's a food that comes up immediately that you've eaten in your history that does that to you, or even something in your kitchen right now that is an ultra processed food and it is having a profound effect on your ability to eat with moderation.
Another side effect of ultra processed food is clinical depression. And this is such a strong correlation now that there's actually an entire field of psychiatry that's devoted to eating whole and unprocessed food. How do we bring this back into our lives to be able to calm our depression and anxiety? And boy is that one a self-reinforcing problem because we eat that food to release a little bit of dopamine, right? And then, oh, you feel better. But now you're deeper and deeper and deeper into these cycles. And look, I'm not bringing this to you as an expert in psychiatry, but if you have struggled with these things in your life, you might consider that the food is part of what is causing the problem. It's not you just going out and getting these foods to feel better. It is actually a baseline trigger for anxiety and depression.
And also I tend to think that this whole system of like eating ultra processed foods, feeling compelled to eat it, having bodies that we can't manage anymore, and then going to diets to just hold our eating down, that's enough to make anybody depressed. So if you're part of that cycle and you feel badly about it, that's correct. You should feel badly about it, not about you personally, but it's a bad system. It's just you're trapped in a bad system. And part of the reason I do this work is to help people find their way out. And the last little bit is how can you tell if a food is ultra processed? This is really important because health washing is now run rampant. They love to put their benefits on the front without telling you it's actually an ultra processed food, but I'm going to make it super easy for you.
There's actually two things that you need to turn the package over and I read every single package without exception, I never eat it or buy it without reading the back. Two things, does it have added sugar and does it have chemicals that you do not recognize as a food? Now I'm going to expand on those two things, but if you want to take a pause and go into your kitchen and pull something out and look at the back of it and just start going through your freezer, this is a good time to do that. I think you'll be very shocked at what you have assumed is moderately healthy food that is in fact ultra processed food. So let's talk about the added sugar first. This is a big deal. This is a serious problem. Part of the reason that I completely stay away from added sugars, and this is not the same thing as having a treat.
You can have treats in your life without eating added sugar at every meal with every food. This is a much different thing. You're essentially microdosing yourself with sugar all the time if you eat a lot of ultra processed foods. So there's now 56 different names for sugars. Food manufacturers have done an amazing job at trying to obscure these ingredients, but thankfully, you can actually read the nutrition label and see if it has added sugars. The new version shows you very clearly if there are added sugars. Now I read both. I read the ingredients and I read the nutrition label, and if I even get a whiff of added sugar, it goes back up on the shelf. That's a no for me. If you are going to make this meal and you wouldn't put sugar in that meal, there is no reason for it to be in the ingredients.
And it's even in innocuous things like chicken stock. I make chicken stock. I've never once put sugar in chicken stock, never. And one of the very first things that I did when I was on the beginning of my own weight loss journey was actually start reading, getting sugar out of my life, out of my everyday life. And a very good way to do it is to start looking for added sugars and eliminating them out of your packaged food. You will see an immediate benefit to that. The second one is a little more complex. I have heard all the arguments about the chemicals in food and we are almost completely inured to the chemicals in food now. I think people look at it and don't know what they're eating and they can look at a bunch of ingredients on the back and it doesn't seem troubling to them that half of them are completely unrecognizable.
I think it should be very troubling. Now, the counterargument that I have heard, the only one that I've heard that I'm going to give any credence to or voice to is that not all chemicals are bad, and that's true, that's true, but many of them are there for hyper palatability. So the idea being how it falls apart in your mouth and which then goes to the subject of how quickly you're eating it, how quickly you're consuming it, right? And I don't know about you, but I want to be in charge of my own eating. I want my body and my normal brain and my normal satiation and hunger to play center stage in feeding myself. I do not want to have a chemical inside of food or a process inside of food dictate how a food falls apart in my mouth, how quickly I take it in.
So my answer to that is, okay, yes, some chemicals might not fall into that category. Which ones do you want to be a food scientist? Do you want to go and stay ahead of the latest trends on food science and figure out which one is just a normal preservative and which one actually does double duty for hyper palatability? I don't know about you, but I want to go through my life a lot more easily and simply than that. So my rule of thumb is very simple. If my grandparent wouldn't my great grandparent because my grandparent actually ate a lot of cool whip, which is definitely an ultra processed food, but if your ancestors would not recognize that as a food, that ingredient as a food, if you would not buy it and have it in your cabinets, if you would not cook a meal with it, put it back very simple.
It's really that simple. The issue is not that it's difficult to spot in ultra processed foods, and we're going to get into the obstacles next. These are two very simple ways to understand whether or not what's in front of you is an ultra processed food, and you already know that I'm on the side of putting it back. I really, if you want to eat naturally, if you want to listen to your hunger, to your satiation and have that easily produce a healthy weight that you can live with the rest of your life, you need to take the ultra processed foods almost entirely out of your life. And I don't mean this is where also the moderation. You hear this argument, everything in moderation, and I'm going to cover this in a future episode on intuitive eating, but I'm going to blast a little bit of it right now.
There's this argument that everything is fine in moderation. No, no, it's not. No, it's not. That is wrong. That's true. If you're eating real food, that's true. If you're occasionally having a treat, that is not true. If you're bringing food into your life designed to overwhelm your body's signals, if it's so obvious that ultra processed foods are responsible for most of the problems in people's lives as it relates to their eating and health, then why isn't it simple and easy to just stop eating them and get them out of your life? And let's talk about it. This is why I say that your life is complex, that you are complex and that the problem is thorny. If you've read my stuff before, you know that I talk about how weight loss is actually a thorny problem or weight gain, I guess is actually a thorny problem.
What I mean by that is that it comes into your life in all kinds of different ways, which is why diets are so woefully inadequate to deal with what is actually happening in your life, which is this avalanche of garbage. One of the things I notice that people do is sort of discount the obvious. They'll say, oh, it's not that big of a problem. Or they're discounting what is right under their noses for a larger problem, which is that my metabolism is bad, or I'm just born this way, or all kinds of these sort of bigger things that are outside themselves when in fact what's right in front of you is a sea of ultra processed foods. So that leads into one of the reasons. One of the obstacles is in fact that we're swimming. I think of us as swimming through life constantly being offered or shown ultra processed foods.
And if you think about your wiring as a human being, you're wired to be very in tune with other people and very in tune with your environment and your environment is nothing but ultra processed foods. And here's a great little exercise. If you don't believe me, which I suspect you probably do a little bit, but maybe really haven't quantified it in your own life, take a day and make a little. You could even do a little stick on a piece of paper. Make a little note, right? Every time you see or are offered ultra processed foods, that could be you walked into a convenience store. That could be you went and got gas. That could be advertisement on your phone, that could be looked at a restaurant menu, and it goes on and on, it goes on and on. You drove by fast food places.
You think there's a reason that those signs are huge. It's not just to advertise their brand, but also to put it in your head that you might want some of those ultrapro foods. And if you've ever driven by one of those and had this feeling inside of you that it evokes right to the food, right to that thing that lights up your brain. That's a perfect example of you are swimming, living, breathing, an obesogenic environment. And if you are going to live in this modern context where you're just being offered it constantly, constantly, you have to find a way to defend yourself. So back to the idea of self-care as self-defense, you have to defend yourself against this onslaught of suggestions to eat and eat more and eat more, and then have food that actually compels you to do exactly that, right? Another issue that people, this one is by design, and this is one I find so insidious for this exact reason.
We call it the health washing of food. You look on the front and there's all kinds of marketing like, oh, made from whole grains and blah, blah, blah, which whole grains are fine. But the truth is, if you turn over the label and look on the back, that's where the real story is. But on the front, you see all kinds of stuff. Ancient grains, that was my favorite. So in one of my lessons, I teach about this bag of pretzels that my ex-boyfriend brought over to my house. And from the front it looked awesome, like ancient grains and sea salt and blah, blah, blah. I don't even remember all the health washing on the front, but the back told a very different story. Almost no fiber, therefore no whole grains. And there were other problems too. I think it had added sugar and I don't remember anymore, but the back tells the real story.
So you almost have to become completely immune to health claims on the front of a package. They're meaningless. They could just be like, and it would mean the same thing. The real story is in the ingredient list. And remember, we're looking for added sugar and chemicals you don't recognize as food. And whether or not there's fiber, and I'm not going to get into that one because that's a whole other thing, but if there's no intact fiber, it is not in fact a whole food. It's not a real food. Another way we discount the role of ultra processed foods in our lives is that you'll have other members of your household who are not experiencing weight gain the way you are, and they're eating the same food. And that is a tricky one. That's a tricky one because not all bodies are the same bodies. I also have a body that puts on weight very quickly.
I know exactly how to start gaining weight, which is essentially eating what I used to eat. But the problem inside that household is that you're saying, well, it must be a personal problem because it's only happening to me. And I would say to you that households should be structured for the most vulnerable members of the household, and that means that if you put on weight easily, that if you find that food difficult to stay away from, then that household should be structured around you. That doesn't mean the other person can never eat those things. It means that within your household you have to renegotiate what actually is food. And one of the things that I do with my members when they go through the program is I want you to have an open and honest discussion in your own household about what is food. Not go up to them and tell them they can't have things anymore, that it's not they're adults, but that what do we agree as a household is food and what do we agree as a household or treats? And that requires some really honest dialogue, but it also requires you to see that just because it's happening to your body doesn't mean it's not a household problem.
Let's talk about kids' food. Oh, that's a big subject and I don't have a ton to say, but I have a little bit to say about that. We are raising children on junk, absolute garbage. This is junk food. Children's food is junk food. I'd love to pull punches on this one, but I'm not going to because I think it's so bad. And what I hear sometimes members saying is, well, the kids want it in the house and because the kids want it in the house, two things are happening. One is you think you have to have it in your household because other households also have kids' junk in the house. If you have that in your household, if you are serving that to your children and you're a busy person and you think you're going to be eating something different, you're not. You are also going to eat junk food, and it's a problem for everybody in that household, even if your children are not experiencing health consequences immediately, although diabetes is rising for children under 15, which is absolutely a household issue, you cannot be surprised that their food ends up on your body.
That's what it is. That's what's happening. And I understand that there's some difficult moments in making a transition to a real food household, but I'll leave you with this. If you want your children to be free of this issue, if you want them to understand how to take care of themselves as adults and to not struggle with their bodies and to not have this issue, help them now cook with them now, now is the time to show them what nutrition means, what real food means, how we handle treats in the modern world, why we don't go through drive-throughs, all kinds of things. This is incredibly important. Parenting work and the benefits will go through their entire lives and carry on to the next generation. That's how important I think it is. But the upshot of this is don't be surprised if you have kid food in your household that it is ending up on you.
That's your environment. And if you're eating ultra processed foods with your children or they're around, this is an obesogenic environment for all of you. Social occasions and friendship, woo, that's a toughie. I'm going to give you a quote here from a reader and then we're going to dissect it together. She says, I would love to hear more. For those of us who are surrounded by office, potlucks, donuts brought in always a cupcake here or a candy bowl there and picky kids at home. And what she was looking for was tips to navigate this tips. How do I make myself not participate in this? And I don't want to tell you that there's no tools. What I want to do is back up for a second and not just give you, I'm not a women's magazine. If somebody wrote this into a women's magazine, they'd be like, well, here's some ways that, here's some tips that you can do to navigate that.
Well, I'm not going to do that. My answer is a little more difficult. My answer is that you need to do some deeper work in your life. Now, I understand that you can't always control your environment, but really most of us are going through life doing no control over our environment, none. And you can move potlucks to rooms. One of the things that I suggest for workplaces is moving obesogenic foods to be out of the way so that they're not constantly in the way of people who don't want to participate in them. This is another aspect of having difficult conversations. What I want to tell you is that there are a few tools that you can use to navigate life to keep yourself from constantly reaching in to open and available obesogenic food, but that comes after the deep work of restructuring your life to make access a lot more difficult.
That's number one. And that happens through conversations, boundaries, conversations, boundaries. Those are difficult things to do. Those are difficult conversations to have and boundaries. When you set a boundary or you say no, or you ask people to do things differently, there's social consequences for that. And we are social animals. We don't like being outside the herd. We don't like to say, please do things differently for us. But if maintaining a healthy weight without constantly fighting with yourself is high on the list, and I can tell you it was for me, I owned it at age 38 that I didn't want this anymore. I made it one of the most important things in my life. Then it makes it easier to have that restructuring those difficult conversations. There are no tips to make you less human, and it is a very human thing to see donuts.
And the first thing that happens in your brain, the back of your brain goes woo woo donuts. And the next thing is you reach for it. That's a very human thing to do, and I don't know how to make you less human. I know how to coach you so that you can restrict access to yourself and so that you're not lighting up your primal brain all the time, but I don't know how to make it. So you'd effectively have to give yourself a lobotomy, and I don't want to make it seem like there are no tools. One of the things that I teach is pre-deciding that, and this is not a podcast to teach you my program. This is a podcast to illuminate what's happening in your life. But there's no way to wake up one day and not want obesogenic food. There is a way to reduce your access to it.
The last one in this obstacles section is time for cooking, time and willingness for cooking. I don't think we think about cooking at home as being something for your weight care to lose weight. The first thing that happens when people think about losing weight isn't go in your kitchen and cook, but it should be. Let me tell you, your healthy weight lives in your kitchen. Your healthy weight lives in your kitchen. No other place. It's not at a restaurant, it's not in an app. It's not in a diet. It's nowhere but your kitchen. And the reason for that is that if you're going to eat whole and unprocessed foods, and I hope you do, you need to go cook. There isn't a better place in your kitchen. That does not mean you have to walk into your kitchen and make a whole lot of fancy meals.
What it means is that you need the time and the space to assemble whole foods, and there's going to be a little bit of a learning curve. If you've never cooked them, that's fine, no big deal. There's a little bit of a learning curve that comes with making whole and unprocessed foods, but it's not nearly as problematic as you think. What is the actual obstacle is that our lives are filled to the brimm, and what people will say is, I don't have time to cook, and then you don't have time to keep a healthy weight. That's my reply to that. This is part of the work of life simplification, which is a larger subject, and that's part of what I teach through my program. But you need the time and the space to take care of yourself. That could be walking, that could be a lot of things.
But as it relates to feeding yourself, you need the time and the space to prepare your own meals at home from whole and unprocessed foods. If you want a healthy weight that doesn't require you to overly manage it, that doesn't require you to calculate everything, and that is pleasurable and satiating. You have to go back and get in your kitchen. And one of the key ways of doing that if you are accustomed to doing everything in your household, is to start asking for help. Now, women are particularly guilty of this, but it can go across gender lines. I don't know you, maybe you're a man who does everything in your household. You'd be a bit of a unicorn to be honest. Mostly this is women, but women take everything on and then think to themselves, I'll take care of myself on the margins. And my answer to that is, have you been able to take care of yourself on the margins or has your ability to take care of yourself completely eroded away with all of your time responsibilities? So there's some food for thought on the obstacles on why we eat so many ultra processed foods and why we discount eating whole and unprocessed foods.
So what's the fix for this mess? As you well know, there's probably not one fix, but if there is any life-changing magic that I can share with you, everybody's looking for life-changing magic when it comes to weight loss and dieting, and there actually is one that I can wholeheartedly recommend, and that is the more you eat whole and unprocessed foods, the less you have to think about food, calories, macros, any of it. You can literally just set all that down and never think about it again. Never dissect a particular meal or take pictures of it and send it to a nutritionist or all of the ways that we're encouraged to be incredibly neurotic with our food. You can stop thinking about it and actually just enjoy pleasurable meal. Trust yourself, trust your body. All of the things that we think of as sort of like a psychological deficiency are actually a byproduct of whether or not you're eating ultra processed food or real food.
One of the things that I hear quite often is that they want to feel calm around food. They want to feel calm. And what I think they're meaning is that the food is not activating their brains. This is the life-changing magic that will make that happen. Eat real food, real ingredients, things that your ancestors would recognize as food. If you put it in front of them, they would know either how to cook with it or what it is or how to eat it. And I say ancestors because really processed food has been around long enough that our grandparents probably partake partook in some of it. So now we need to go back to ancestral food. And it doesn't mean I need you out there collecting things in the woods, although if you liked foraging, that's kind of a fun thing to do. But no, you can go to farmer's markets.
You can absolutely eat out of the perimeter of the grocery store. There's lots of ways to navigate all of this, but you have to start with real ingredients, beans, vegetables, meats, and the way I put it is that it's been picked, fished, harvested, or slaughtered. That's how you know that these things are real food, and it's just an easy way. If you're a vegan, you can obviously cut out what doesn't resonate for you or a vegetarian. All of it still applies. Many of the problems that you have diagnosed about that your metabolism is off, that your hormones are off. I hear it all the time, or that our gut flora is off and this is responsible for the problems. Let's reverse engineer it. Those are outcomes of eating ultra processed food. If you want your body to correct itself, and I don't want to take any supplements to correct my body, I don't need it to do any of that.
What I need is to support my body back to its health or into a healthy state. And the way that you do that is eating whole and unprocessed foods. You will allow your metabolism to regulate itself. You will allow your body, your hormones will regulate themselves even if you're going through menopause, which by the way, I've done all the way through no weight gain through menopause, eating whole and unprocessed foods. I know I'm making it sound like a cure all, and I don't mean that food is curing disease. What I mean is that it's going to cure problems, metabolic issues, as they relate to environmental factors like eating ultra processed foods. So you can allow your body to heal it itself through good nutrition, through real food. You don't need to do anything else besides that.
And I'm going to close with this really important idea about food freedom. This is what I call eating whole and unprocessed foods is food freedom. What do I mean by that? I don't have to think about it. I don't have to connate about what I'm eating or think about how to balance my macros, or am I eating too many carbs or have I eaten too much in the day? Here was the dream for me that I have now accomplished for 13 years and counting through adopting Whole Foods into my life is I wanted to just eat what I was hungry, know when I'd had enough, enjoy my food, get actual pleasure out of eating, and have that produce a healthy weight that was stable and consistent. If you said that to most people on the street, they would be like, that sounds like utopia. It's not utopia.
It's the byproduct of centering your life around food that supports healthy eating and never having to wonder when you pick up a package, whether or not you're eating something healthful or to rely on marketing. And I love this as a final example of what it is that we're talking about. This is actually just almonds. It's just almonds. If you look at the ingredients, it's just almonds, which would meet the test for me immediately of real food. Is it real? It was picked. I don't need to think about it any further than that. But in order to sell almonds now, they have to put things on the front like smart eating and net carbs as though people who are eating almonds need to count their carbs. And you absolutely, if you're eating a diet of real food, do not need to count anything. Much less net carbs per serving.
I couldn't care less how many net carbs or actual carbs or a lot of carbs this thing has. It doesn't matter. It's real food, and therefore you can sort of remove it from your mind about something that needs to be quantified and held down. So it's a life of simplicity. That's what it offers. It offers a life of simplicity. And what would you do with the extra time in your life that you don't have to think about food as being something to hold down or hold away from you or be suspicious of. You can just live your life, eat, have a pleasure, and then move on with it. So I hope this was helpful to you today.
This whole season is free yourself, and I want you to free yourself from ultra processed foods so that you can free yourself from dieting. It's just that simple. Dieting is just a gauntlet. That's all it is. But creating a life that supports a healthy weight is an enduring lifelong value. If this episode has sparked your interest in food processing as it relates to weight, I actually have a workshop that you can buy, and it goes through all of the different kinds of food processing. So there's beneficial food processing, which I call heritage foods. And then it helps you go through the whole spectrum to understand how food processing works and how to designate it when you're in the grocery store. So really what you want is have simplicity when you go shopping, right? Make it super easy to pick up things that are going to be good for you or marginal or truly bad. My workshop does all of that, and you can find a link to purchase that in the show notes. The next episode of the Free Yourself season. It's going to be all about ozempic or the glides and whether or not those are a diet. So please make sure you subscribe anywhere that you find your favorite podcasts. I'm on Apple Podcasts and Spotify, and definitely on YouTube. I'll see you next time.