Change How You Think About Food

Table of Contents

Understanding the basics:

In order to have the right outlook on food, we should first be able to define it and understand its purpose.

What is food? “ A natural or manufactured product, solid or liquid, that contains one or more of the nutrients that the human organism requires for the development of vital functions.” Encyclopedia of Foods and their healing power, Vol 1.

And of course, if food provides nutrients, we should also understand what these are.

Nutrients: “are substances used in the body for the production of energy and to provide the necessary building blocks to support and maintain life.  You can think of nutrients as the basic currency of good nutrition that produces energy and keeps the body in homeostasis or equilibrium.” Wildwood College of Health Evangelism

Since nutrients are the currency for good nutrition, we should also understand the concept of nutrition.

Nutrition: “The process by which a living organism utilizes food and uses it to maintain and support life.” Wildwood College of Health Evangelism

What conclusion can we draw here about the purpose of food?

We see here that the purpose of food is to support life. This should if nothing else begin to change our outlook on food. It would therefore stand to reason that anything we consume as food should play a vital role in not just providing calories, but rather nutrients to support our very existence and well being. If what we consume does not serve this vital role, then what does it do? The answer is straight forward; it destroys us.

So the next time you select something to eat, ask yourself, “Will this food support my life or destroy it.

One of our favorite quotations on food says. ” Food is meant to nourish and serve us, not deplete us.”

How do you change your outlook on food?

There is only one way to change your outlook on food. Purposefully think about it differently.

  1. Ask yourself whether the item you are about to select or purchase is “real food”.

    Real food or whole food consists of food as close to their natural state as possible. There is little interference with their natural qualities or composition and as a result maintain all or most of their nutritional value. There is no added sugar, artificial sweeteners and preservatives. Unfortunately, most of the food consumed today is highly processed and stripped of essential nutrients that our bodies need to thrive. Here are some examples of how you can implement this principle as it relates to rethinking food:

    • Think potatoes over French fries
    • Think whole grain rice over white rice
    • Think fruits over fruits juice
    • Think whole corn over corn chips
    • Think homemade tomato sauce with fresh tomatoes as opposed to store bought pasta sauce
    • Think dried beans over canned beans
  2. Develop this key principle: “Eat to live, don’t live to eat:

    If you follow a hedonic pattern of eating, then you are simply eating for pleasure rather than energy and sustenance. You will consume anything that you desire, at the time you feel for it, whether it will nourish your body or not. As you develop the pattern of thinking of “eating to live”, this will change your approach to food and your food habits. It will influence your food selection and even when and how much food you consume. Your meal selections or preparations will be those that will enhance your health not deteriorate it.

  3. Think of food as your raw material:

    Get into the habit of using real/whole foods as raw materials to create limitless healthy meals and snacks. With proper planning and preparation you can create wholesome and nutritious meals without the added fat, artificial sweeteners, high sodium and preservatives that come with buying processed foods. In other words, create more, consume less! Let’s make this principle practical:

    • Use fresh avocadoes to make dressing or guacamole

    • Use cooked dried beans to make burgers

    • Use cashews to create a spread or ‘milk’

    • Use frozen fruits to make ice-cream or soft serve

    • Use whole wheat flour to make pizza dough or pie crusts

    • Use oats, dried fruit and nut and seeds to make granola cereal

  4. Food should never serve as your crutch:

    It has become particularly easy, especially for women to eat in response to an emotion. Emotional eating is not a new phenomena. However, the increase in the vast number of highly palatable foods(feel good foods) now available on our shelves offers quick convenience and has made it easier to use food as a crutch. Who hasn’t after a frustrating day at the job, headed home and plunged on the couch with a chocolate or ice-cream or a bag of chips? It seems to make everything better doesn’t it? It is often the case that we are left feeling worse especially after a dose of uncontrollable eating. Unfortunately, the outcome of this is adverse health effects, unresolved situations and perhaps even more compounding emotional issues. Resolve in your mind that your food should nourish you, provide you with energy for vital functions, sustain your health and as a result, save your life.

How will changing your outlook on food benefit your life?

  1. It will help you take back control:

    Some people experience significant and prolonged cravings for certain foods and eat dangerously high levels. They will go lengths to acquire it and even experience withdrawal symptoms if they have not had it for a while. They may further be unable to focus, work or fulfill other obligations as a result of not having this or these particular foods and become extremely irritable. Although the term food addiction is highly controversial, we cannot argue that the above experiences are similar to that of other addicts, and therefore should not be taken lightly. In a systematic review entitled “What is the evidence for food addiction? ” by Eliza L. Gordon, Aviva H. Ariel-Donges, Viviana Bauman, and Lisa J. Merlo published in 2018 Apr 12, it was reported that “The evidence further suggests that certain foods, particularly processed foods with added sweeteners and fats, demonstrate the greatest addictive potential”.

    Changing our outlook on food strongly involves not just will power but a phycological process and shift. If you are one of those who have experienced total helplessness as it pertains to certain foods, rethinking about what is food and its actual purpose will help you gain control as you purchase less and less processed foods and more and more wholesome foods.

  2. It will prevent destructive eating disorders:

    Research highlights that eating disorder prevalence and impact are on the rise. If we truly understand the importance, functions and impact of “real” food, it will be easier for us to make more informed and positive decisions surrounding our food choices as well as habits.

  3. It will help you lose dangerous weight and maintain healthy weight:

    A 2016 review, shows that fatty, sugary, and salty foods have the potential to become addictive. These mostly come in the form of processed foods and are the very foods that contribute to unhealthy weight among most populations. Changing our outlook on food will propel us to make healthier food choices, selecting wholesome food rather than processed. The result will be a healthy BMI and a healthier you.

  4. It will save you money:

    Consider the following;

    According to data from the Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service, spending on food-away-from-home accounted for 56% of all food expenditures in the U.S. in 2022. In fact, expenditures on food outside of the home rose over 20% in 2022 alone, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. It is undeniable that the popularity of fast food in the United States continues to grow, with fast-food restaurants in the U.S. earning an incredible $278.6 billion in revenue in 2021. In 2023, people spent, on average, $148 every month on fast food.

    In addition to the facts above, think of all the money that is also spent in the grocery or supermarkets buying processed foods such as chips, sodas, high sugar cereals, frozen dinners etc. Imagine how your grocery bill would drastically decrease if you chose to buy foods that nourish and sustain you rather than deplete you.

    Read More:

  5. It will reduce your risk for chronic diseases:

    According to a study which evaluated the impact of a whole-foods, plant-based nutrition intervention on metabolic markers of patients with chronic disease in an underserved community setting, by Shipra Bansal, MD, Meaghan Connolly, BSA, and Tasha Harder, DO, published online 2021 Jun 6.Diet plays a central role in our current chronic disease crisis. Since 2017, diet has been the leading cause of premature morbidity and mortality in the United States, surpassing tobacco. 3 In general, the standard American diet is high in added salt, sugar, and saturated fats. This predominant dietary pattern means that only about 1 in 10 adults in the United States eat the recommended number of servings of fruits and vegetables, and more than 50% of all calories consumed come from ultra processed foods.4,5 These dietary trends contribute significantly to the alarming situation in the United States where over 40% of adults are obese.” 6

    This is just one of a plethora of studies that show the importance of wholesome foods. Again changing our outlook on food will help us drastically reduce the risks for chronic disease as we make better food options. Even when persons have consumed a mostly processed food diet for the majority of their lives, studies report a change in health markers only after a few weeks of switching to wholesome foods.

  6. It will help produce other positive attitudes and behaviors:

    It is often the case when we have overcome a challenging habit, that it paves the way for further personal victories. It is a principle of self efficacy when we now feel more confident and impowered to take on more challenges. Changing your outlook on food requires not only knowledge and will power, but discipline and perseverance. These values when put into practice in one situation, become easier to practice in other situations.


Whereas persons and situations may motivate you to change, the need for change has to extend beyond external factors. You must desire this for yourself. You must want better for yourself. You have the right and privilege to live a healthy life!

Get Our Health Tips Newsletter

Monthly | Diet, Wellness, Disease Management & more