Education = Change


stack of books to become educatedAt any given point, you could stop by my house, wander up to my bedroom (which frankly is a strange thing for you to do) and take a peek at all of the books gathered by my bed.  Most of the time I have at least 2 to 3 books that I’m “actively” reading stacked on my bedside table.  Here’s my problem: I love to learn, I enjoy reading, but I get bored quickly, and reading usually makes me fall asleep after 3 to 5 pages.  So, as a result I will start and stop reading the same books for months, rarely finishing one.

Currently I’m reading Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer, Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser, and The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan.  I may also have a stray book or 2 on food addiction and overeating kicking around as well.  Granted some of these books have been read by the masses years ago, but I’m still having a tough time catching up.  Also, to be quite honest, most of what I’m reading is not new news to me.  After reading Diet for a New America by John Robbins many years ago, I’ve had a pretty decent understanding of factory farming, which is a common theme in a few of these books.  However, I’ve still benefited greatly from the review of this information and I have learned some new things as well!

Hence the point of this long-winded blog post: educating one’s self elicits a change in behavior in many cases.  Over the years, I’ve allowed myself to forget (or ignore) all that I know about factory farming and genetically modified foods.  With a renewed interest in the subject, I’ve been motivated to make some dietary changes that jive with my beliefs and concern for my health.  This is probably a good example of the normal progression of making a lifestyle change, it’s not always 1 straight path that we follow.  Toggling back and forth between old and new habits should be expected.

However, we might overlook the benefit of educating ourselves.  It may seem easier to go with the advice of others (or ignore the advice of others) if we are not educated on a subject, but taking the time to learn may be a more powerful motivator than simply listening to someone else.  For example, my husband has compromised kidney function.  He’s aware that eating tons of canned foods and drinking a gallon of milk in 2 days may not be the best for his kidneys, but often he does it anyway.  Recently he took the time to research what is going on with his kidneys, what his lab results mean, and why certain nutrients require added attention.  That motivated him to make changes in his eating.  Funny how that worked as opposed to having his dietitian wife nag him.

I’m curious about any changes that you’ve made recently as a result of learning.  Personally I’m going to make getting adequate amounts of omega 3 fatty acids and Vitamin D a top priority.  With my new knowledge regarding fishing practices, I’m also going to look for the best source of that omega 3 versus picking any old bottle off a shelf in a drug store.

What changes will you be striving for as a result of newly acquired knowledge?

8 responses to “Education = Change”

  1. You described my night stand perfectly! And yes, learning motivates me. What I have had to do is to remember to try and put some of these things into action! Test them for myself. Case in point. I started out my journey this time wanting to move away from processed foods. Try new things. I call my plan S.O.U.L (Slice of UR Life) Designer Diet. I work on different areas of my life that affect my eating. Things like relationships, career, etc. I attend WW for support but lost the grip of my actions when I fell into their plan and was focusing too hard on the points.
    We really do know the answers, its applying them because we want to not because someone told us to, that is the key to change.

  2. Cindy says:

    Great post, Robyn. I find this to be true as well and what a great reminder to pick up a book, watch a documentary or just plain spend some time keeping up to date on subjects that interest you or will support your goals — whatever they may be.

  3. Sagan says:

    This is excellent. We can be nagged until the cows come home (from the factory farm? Eek), but we aren’t going to really LEARN something unless we’re willing to do our own kind of research and open our minds.

    I always have a million health books on the go at the same time, too 🙂

  4. Chef Lisa says:

    My changes lately are due more to old knowledge as opposed to new. Something about the New Year rolling around makes me try to be “better”. For example, I’ve been going for that unsweetened cup of green tea for an afternoon boost instead of yet another mug o’ sugary joe. And of course, supporting local farmers whose practices are ethical, even when the price may be a little higher, is my big thang. Good for the local economy, good for you, and good for rural communities in general! Wooooooo!

  5. Robyn says:

    Julie, are you reading any of the same books that I am? I like your SOUL plan. I try to get people thinking that way about making changes in their eating habits; it’s best to look at the big picture and ALL the factors that influence food choice instead of just focusing on more nutrition education.
    Cindy – another great documentary is Killer At Large: Why Obesity is America’s Greatest Threat or if you’re looking for something a little less intense: The Botany of Desire is a fun watch (both free on Netflix)
    Sagan – “until the cows come home from the factory farm” hilarious!!
    I hear you Lisa! I just found a local egg source I’m excited about. However I won’t be trading coffee for green tea anytime soon 🙂 I love coffee.

  6. love2eatinpa says:

    i couldn’t agree more. knowledge is power! i love to read books to try to help myself with my compulsive eating recovery. and even if i only get a food tidbits out it, they are totally worth it!

  7. Leslie says:

    Robyn, my whole house is full of books, some half-read unfortunately, which are all so enticing. Michael Pollan was truely a life-changer for me. After reading his “Omnivore’s Dilemma” several years ago, I completely changed what I ate. No red meat now for two years nor any interest in it. Until I came to Green Mountain, I had no processed foods. Now, I occasionally have it as an option, but I still eat mostly fresh. Here is the latest. After hearing “Eating Animals” author Jonathan Safran Foer’s interview on NPR, I had a solution for my chicken habit. It seems as much as I want to stop eating poultry (for ethical reasons), I just can’t let go of it. His suggestion was simply to just eat less of it. That I could do! Until there is a shift in paradigm, little steps work. In Pollan’s book, “In Defense of Food”, he stated it simply. “Eat (real) food, mostly plants (meaning fruits, vegetables, whole grains), and not too much. It is the last part that is my problem. Eating healthy is not enough. I really don’t need all that much food, but I want it anyway. It must remain mindfully in tune to my body to eat when I’m hungry and stop when I’m satisfied. These great books are my teachers. Authors I met in the Green Mountain Book Store are my best companions. I have several of Susan Alber’s books now and have just finished Norman Vincent Peale’s “Enthusiasm Makes the Difference”. This helps keep my mojo going. It is all about life-long learning.

  8. Susan says:

    Since seeing the movie Food, Inc., I have started buying as much organic food as I can, and can’t bring myself to buy regular grocery store meat. I’ve been eating a lot more vegetarian fare also.
    .-= Susan’s last blog post..Making a Sacrifice =-.

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