Whole foods continue to grow in popularity. Increasing awareness of the negative health implications of processed foods is driving more and more away from them. Increased awareness of the importance and availability of locally grown produce is helping to feed the trend (and bad puns as well).
Fortunately, most of us know about whole foods, though the same is not true about other aspects of our lives. Just as much of the food that we consume is not so healthy, there are also parts of our lives that are less healthy than others. These parts are the equivalent of processed food. Like processed food they are too readily available and we too readily turn to them.
The analogy of a food desert is appropriate. Often the more healthy aspects of our lives often are those that we cannot easily access. The way that our world is structured results in these less healthy aspects being predominantly what is available. As a result, the way we structure and live our lives places emphasis on these less healthy aspects because they are what is readily available.
We also turn to processed foods because they are typically more economical. Similarly, many of the aspects of our lives that are unhealthy also have better economics. For instance, it is easy to tolerate a job that is unhealthy if it pays well or live in a specific location if it costs less, even if it gives little in return beyond a place to live.
Like with whole foods, the parts of life that are healthier don’t hold the same appeal for everyone. Some like the turmeric so much they might be found chewing on a raw chunk of it while preparing their veggie-protein shake. Others find it entirely unappealing but love a salad with walnuts, tomato, radish and avocado.
Another barrier to whole foods for many is their exposure to them. If your parents largely ate processed foods and did not cook on a regular basis, it is likely that you will follow suit. If this was your experience and you have overcome it, you know the value of making the shift from what is seemingly easy to what is seemingly difficult. Cooking whole foods often becomes natural and even a passion once you make it a habit and experience the results. The same is true for the healthier aspects of life that feed your fulfillment.
What are these healthier parts of life? They are different for each of us, and are based upon what you find essential, what you know to be fundamentally true, your aspirations, what you place value in and what you find meaningful. Similar to the foods that you prefer, their specifics are determined by your individuality. Like with shifting your diet to whole foods, knowing and making them the focus of your life an investment in yourself is better for your whole person.