How Ready Meals Keep You Addicted to Sugar, or Why the Third Princess Inherited the Kingdom
Life is so busy, who has time (and the skills) to cook food from scratch for every meal?
Who Cooks For Whom?
It’s not just in our modern day that people have turned to other people to make their food. Street food exists in most cultures that are even vaguely urban. And the rich of every society has enjoyed the benefits of paying people to cook for them, be they Pharoahs, Roman citizens, or feudal lords.
Now, getting other peope to make your food for you has become incredibly affordable. Possibly even cheaper than trying to cook for yourself, given economies of scale. It’s a strange irony that it is now corporations who make money from people buying food made by others, rather than it being just the wealthy who pay for their food.
Whether it’s a takeaway from a local restaurant or a ready meal from the supermarket, food prepared by someone else is now within the reach of almost everyone. However, is that a good thing?
What’s In Your Food?
There’s a fairytale in which a King asks his daughters to give him the most valuable thing in the kingdom, to decide who should become Queen after him. He is very unimpressed by his third daughter, who gives him salt. Until, that is, he has to eat food without salt.
Now, you may have noticed that over the last decade there has been a huge upsurge in foods that mix salt and sugar. For example, all those yummy salted caramel chocolates, or sea salt chocolate, or salty and sweet popcorn. These are just the obvious tip of the sugar and salt iceberg.
Salt is a flavour enhancer, and it can even enhance the already powerful (and addictive) delights of sugar. Sweet and savoury are no longer seen as things to be kept separate, but are often combined. And even when the two aren’t sold as complementary flavours, most prepared foods do combine them.
For example, look at the label on any ready made sauce, like a bolognaise or a thai green curry. There is sugar in practically all of them, and plenty of salt, too.
It’s Not Just Ready Meals
In fact, it’s not just ready meals and other processed foods. If you look at a cookery book from fifty years ago and compare the recipes, you’ll find they contain a lot less sugar and salt than the equivalent recipes in a book today! So, even if you’re cooking at home, you may be putting quite a bit of salt and sugar into your food.
So, what’s the solution?
Eat More Real Food
Eating real food is faster, easier and cheaper than you may think. Even if you don’t want to change everything, just adding a few elements of real food will make a difference.
For example, alongside something you get from the supermarket, you could steam up some fresh veggies. Or cook your own rice to go with a takeaway.
A great mantra for cooking real food is KISS: Keep it Short and Simple. Depending on your diet, you could have pasta with steamed veg and either some tofu, some almonds or some salmon. Just add a little oil and some herbs (or chili, if you’re so inclined), and you have a healthy meal in minutes.
Fall In Love With Fruit
If you have a sweet tooth, try substituting fruit for some of your sweet treats. Medjool dates, for instance, are incredibly sweet and juicy. Or try dipping some chopped fruit into dark chocolate for a choc-fix with less calories and more nutrients.
The Flavour Point Diet
This is a fascinating concept. The basic idea is that humans recognise only a limited number of distinct meta-flavours, such as sweet, salty, spicy. When you eat something, you need to keep eating that meta-flavour until you are satisfied. So, if you eat something that is sweet and spicy, you will need to eat more to satisfy both of those flavours, than if you were just eating something sweet.
In a simple version, plenty of studies show that if you have a limited number of food types/flavours in any given meal, you naturally eat less, and feel more satisfied. So, for example, surf-and-turf, buffet meals, or a tasting menu of seven courses, are about the worst thing that you can go for. At any meal, try to stick to just one or two dishes.
Another fun fact is that if you can make the shape and colour of the food on your plate similar, this also reduces how much you eat. So, can you have all green (or yellow, or red) foods and chop all of it in the same shape? Having a single sauce for the entire dish will also trigger those satiety messages.
How Hypnosis Can Help
Hypnosis can help by increasing your motivation to eat and cook better. It can help you de-stress, so that you feel like you have more time and energy to spend on your food. Equally, it can make sure you notice just how quick and easy it can be to make delicious meals. And hypnosis can bring to the fore the part of you that savours and enjoys healthy food.
You can also use hypnosis to look at old baggage that may be getting in your way. For instance, messages from childhood about what you should or shouldn’t eat, or about what food means, may be sabotaging you. Finding and changing these messages can make a huge difference.
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