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What does the word “Food” mean to you?  Food is one of the greatest pleasures we have in life.  Food is also the one item that appears in every single event or celebration we attend.  Food provides us with comfort and just the smell of certain foods brings back memories.  During this festive season I find myself reflecting on the purpose of Food.

Webster defines food as a substance usually of animal or plant origin that consists of “essential” body nutrients Carbohydrates (CHO), Fats, Protein, vitamins/minerals and is ingested and assimilated to produce: energy, stimulate growth and “Maintain Life.”

The first mention of food coincides with creation of humans, and considering the complexity of both humans and food it had to be by Devine design.  Data states there are nutrients within food that have NOT been discovered and we are learning new things about the body every day.  It is by no accident for both the human body and food to consist of the same chemical makeup-organic matter.  For example, the same chemicals you would see on your lab results are identical to what you will find on the food nutrition facts labels, such as sodium, potassium, CHO (glucose) and cholesterol, just to mention a few.   Truly, you are what you eat.  Food was created to include and not to exclude: Carbohydrates, Proteins and Fats to maintain and sustain life.

The Purpose of Carbohydrates (CHO): Remember reading this verse: Every tree bearing fruit, and plant yielding seed shall be yours for FOOD.  I do not know if in the beginning in that perfect garden of Eden if grains, legumes, vegetables and fruit were called (CHO), however, these foods are our body’s preferred energy source.  Carbohydrates- “glucose” is fuel for the brain and body.  The two forms of CHO areSimple– table sugars, honey, molasses and fructose.  This is what many of us will sample during this festive season in the form of cookies, cakes, pies, and candy just to name a few.  My memory trigger is my grandmother’s homemade “Eggnog”- a simple (CHO) full of warmth and love.  Complex CHO – whole grains, wheat flours i.e. (rolls), potatoes i.e. (sweet potato casserole), brown rice, pasta, red lentils, green beans i.e. (green bean casserole), carrots/cauliflower (vegetables,) providing fiber and other essential nutrients.

The Purpose of Proteins:  Research notes proteins (meat, fish, poultry) consumption dates back beyond 2.6 million years.  Today we know protein is needed to repair body cells as they wear out and they also protect us from bacteria and viruses.  Recently, studies show proteins give a full feeling, and recommend consuming protein sources in the mornings to avoid snacking and hunger.  Daily recommendation for protein is 6-8 ounces, or calculated as .8gm/kg of body weight, we really do not need as much as we consume.  Remember all “excess” nutrients are stored as fat.   Consider this as you consume turkey, roast beef, leg of lamb, pork roast or salmon/ fish for your holiday entrée.  Side bar: early humans were advised to consume only seafood that had fins and scales.   Could they have known then, these fish were high in Omega-3 fats which reduce inflammation, lower blood pressure and offer many more health benefits

The Purpose of Fats:  Fats are needed to store energy, insulate and protect vital organs, and spare the use of protein for energy in the absence of CHO.  During this festive season. include Monounsaturated and Polyunsaturated Fats in your meals olive oil, canola oil, safflower oil and corn oil.   Avoid Trans Fats tube margarines, partially hydrogenated oil (Crisco) and limit Saturated Fats red meats, butter, coconut oil, cheese and ice cream.

Throughout this holiday season, I give special thanks to a Creator that designed my body and a substance called Food which maintains and sustains. I have learned to include and not exclude any of these substances He created because every single one was created for a purpose-tomaintain and sustain Life”.

Happy Holidays!  Eat Drink and Be Healthy- all things in moderation!