Do we eat to live or live to eat? We can argue that we do both – we eat to live because food provides the necessary nutrients to support growth, development, maintenance of tissue and physiological function, but we also live to eat because eating is a behavior that has many personal, social and cultural influences and consequences.
Considering this, we should learn to appreciate that the foods people eat; what, where and how they prepare it or make choices are extremely complex and should never be viewed one-dimensionally from a physiological standpoint of healthy versus unhealthy, or as calories in versus calories out. In other words, the foods we eat are oftentimes deeply connected to personal life experiences, to emotions, to moods and to thoughts – subsequently, one should never simply tell a person what to eat without first considering their reasons for making that choice, and consider the consequences of removing it.
For example, when I smell fresh-baked bread in a grocery store, I inevitably find myself buying a warm baguette and probably eating part of before checking out. While I recognize that white bread is relatively unhealthy and that this behavior is undesirable, shouldn't I just cease-and-desist? Before answering, take a moment to understand why I make this choice before telling me what to do. This action is deeply rooted to a positive childhood experience where, on Fridays, I would accompany my mother to the bakery to buy bread for the weekend after she picked me up from pre-school. What this moment represented to me wasn't about food, but the start of 48-hours of playtime with my friends which, at that age, was something special. Now, removing that bread is not simply removing empty calories, but depriving me of a positive experience that is deeply rooted.
So, although food is both a source of pleasure, perhaps for celebrating with family and friends and our source of nourishment, eating leaves many of us confused, bewildered and frustrated about how we can achieve optimal health and fitness. Eating in the Orange Zone has been designed and developed to clear the muddied water and help guide you to improved health, fat loss and increased energy. My book, Caloric Responsibility, provides much of the essential information and applications needed to help individuals understand the roles of key macronutrients (carbohydrates, proteins, fats) within the body, energy balance and effective fueling and hydrational strategies to optimize health and exercise performance.