Building and sustaining a healthy nutritional environment does not happen overnight. There are quite a few crucial little habits and skills that you have to put in place, some of which will take quite a bit of time. You should therefore not be discouraged by a slow start.
Today, my eating habits are pretty close to perfect, but five years ago, they were distinctly average. And yes, an average diet within our modern society is terribly unhealthy. I grew up in South Africa – a place where only red meat is actually meat and chicken is considered to be a salad 😉 We love to barbecue on a real fire made with real wood and even have our own word for it – “braai”. A South African guy is at his happiest when he is sitting next to the braai, talking about his favorite sport (rugby) or complaining about the complete circus that is South African politics.
Obviously, I love red meat of all kinds and, what’s more, I used to hate vegetables so much that my mom actually had to pay me to eat some greens. To her credit, she persisted and wore me down to the point that I would wolf down some lettuce and cucumber right at the start of the meal if it was placed strategically at the side of my plate. But that was about as close to healthy nutrient dense foods as I ever got.
To make matters eve worse, I have a massive sweet tooth. Even today, if I have a bag of sweets or chocolates in my home, it will get eaten – and pretty quickly as well.
Luckily, I was always very active while growing up and my regular participation in sports kept me in good shape. And even more luckily, I began learning about good nutrition just within that uncomfortable transition to the grown-up world where many people start to put on weight.
When I began my personal development journey about five years ago, nurtrition regularly came up in the materials I was reading. I timidly began eating some more fruit and vegetables and, to my great surprise, found that this did not kill me. I also began to eliminate obvious evils like Coca Cola and other concentrated sources of refined sugar.
When I moved to Norway at the start of 2009 to start my career, my eating habits were probably slightly above average, but I still had a long way to go. The next change came when I learnt about the massive importance of replacing processed foods with whole foods and the importance of healthy fats. Initially, making these changes were quite challenging, but I was gradually putting together the theory for intelligent micro-environment design which helped me a lot.
Gradually, I managed to take more and more control over my eating habits and, as I started noticing a total absence of all forms of illness, my motivation grew. The next step was to greatly reduce my meat intake – something which I thought would be almost impossible considering my background. But actually, it was laughably easy. My growing understanding of nutrition and my healthy nutritional environment easily took care of this crucial transition and today I only eat meat once in a while at special occasions. I also learnt to make healthy eating a highly pleasurable experience through fruits, nuts, seeds and berries and easily keep my sweet tooth under control in this way.
Today, I can honestly say that my healthy nutritional environment runs totally on autopilot and makes unhealthy eating all but impossible. I sincerely hope that you can set something similar up in your own life.