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Crowd Out, Don’t Cut Out

July 21, 2008

The relationships we have with food are a lot like the relationships we have with some people. You may have those people in your life that do not make you feel good about yourself or cause unnecessary stress, but you cannot get rid of them because they have been present for a while.  

The same goes with food. There are foods that taste good and have been a part of your diet for a while, but you know they aren’t good for you. Getting rid of these foods is like taking heroin away from a heroin addict. It can be very difficult to say goodbye to them.  

There’s good news. You do not need to get rid of these foods completely, but rather bring in more of the good. We call this idea crowding out. It’s hard to eat five fruits and vegetables a day and binge on ice cream. Try incorporating more vegetables that are high in vitamins and minerals. The great thing is you can eat a lot of them without gaining weight! If you fill your body with healthy-nutrient dense foods it’s only natural that cravings for unhealthy foods will lessen substantially.  

It may be helpful to organize your day so those healthful foods are easily accessible, especially when you feel like snacking at work or when you are traveling. Then you can make it to your evening meal without impulsively eating junk food because that’s the only thing available.  

This change will not happen overnight, but over time you will notice that you are able to crowd out those foods that do not provide the valuable nutrients. This natural process will lead you to notice that by slowly crowding out you will not feel deprived.  

Have you tried to crowd out a food? How did it make you feel?

About the author

Joshua Rosenthal is the Founder and Director of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. He has worked in the nutrition field for more than 25 years, teaching at the school alongside health leaders including Andrew Weil, Deepak Chopra and Barry Sears. At Integrative Nutrition students are trained as Health Coaches, receiving the holistic nutrition education necessary for them go out into the world and help others improve their health and happiness.