Updated: Aug 11, 2018
We take our food choices seriously at La Misión Fitness & Yoga. Of course we think healthy food selection is important, and we as a staff are conscientious of how much we eat, but we also really love eating food! There are so many fresh, delicious options in our area. Living in La Misión and the surrounding communities places you within a short drive from some of the finest restaurants in the world, and there are weekly farmers markets (including our own Organic Market) that provide fresh produce.
All this is to say that it is easy for residents of La Misión to know where their food comes from. In our valley we are relatively far removed from the big corporate dining options of the United States. Even most taco stands prepare food that has been locally sourced. However, there are surprisingly different health outcomes between mostly eating out, and mostly eating in.
Food prepared in restaurants, particularly fast food restaurants, are made to be especially delicious. To accomplish this, commercial kitchens use large amounts of sugars, fats, oils, and salt. They do this because these ingredients are relatively cheap, and our bodies have an addictive-like response to them. In fact, are body can crave foods high in sugar/fat/salt so much that we easily eat past our body’s “full signal” and overeat (just count the basket of chips you eat at your favorite mexican restaurant at your next visit). Not only are we physiologically unable to stop eating when dining out, we are often psychologically motivated to overeat in order to “get our money’s worth” of food. This phenomena is why all-you-can eat buffets and ‘bottomless’ options are so popular. If healthy food choices are a priority, then the cards are stacked against you every time you eat out.
In contrast, recent studies have found there is a high correlation between better health and eating meals at home. When preparing our own food, we typically make just enough for our appetite. We are also not easily motivated to overeat because more food requires more preparation and clean up afterwards. On average, we even use less sugar, fats, oils, and salt cooking at home than a restaurant does. However, even if you prepare less healthy meals in your kitchen, it’s argued that eating at home will still result in better health than regularly eating out. Therefore, if healthy eating is a priority, then eating most of your meals at home should also be a priority.
Please understand, we do not hate restaurants. Our staff enjoys eating out just as much as anyone else. What we encourage our clients to do however, is practice a balance of eating in versus eating out. The majority of our meals should be from our own kitchens, and it is okay to eat out some of the time. An 8:2 ratio seems to be ideal for most health goals. That is: For every eight meals you eat at home, 2 meals eaten at a restaurant is fine. We also understand that everyone has different tastes and have different schedules. Some of us are too busy to cook for ourselves, others might not be comfortable cooking, or not know how to prepare certain foods. That is also okay. Start the transition to eating home-prepped meals slowly and with what you can manage.
Healthy eating habits are much simpler than many make them out to be. We want our community and members of La Misión Fitness & Yoga to be healthier, and one of the most powerful health choices anyone can make is to cook their own meals. Feel empowered this week to cook for yourself, and let us know how you feel.
-Corey Evans, CSCS, CISSN