Real Food by Robin Trimingham

Real Food by Robin Trimingham

This past week in the grocery store I happened upon a display of cherry cola. I am not a fan of soft drinks these days but in a wild moment of nostalgia I tossed the bottle in my cart without thinking much about it.

Imagine my surprise then when I happened to glance at the bottle later to discover that although it was labeled as a single serving, it contained 70 grams of sugar. Seventy – I could hardly believe it. That is equivalent of about seventeen sugar cubes.

To further add to my horror the bottle also indicated that it contained 260 calories. That is about the same number of calories as a serving of premium ice cream, 3 pieces of rotisserie chicken, or a serving of Belgium waffles, and yet the cherry cola contains no nutritional value at all.

If your response to this is “big deal”, maybe it’s time to start thinking differently about the food you eat.

Drawing on the traveler’s adage that you should never pack more for a trip than you can carry; how would your food and beverage choices differ if you were required to carry everything that you were planning to consume in a 24-hour period in a knapsack on your back?

Would you commit to carrying around a pound of weight for every can of cola that you planned to drink? Would that 2 litre bottle of soda that seems so convenient in the store be worth the 4.4 pounds of weight that it would add to your bag?

Similarly, if you were required to walk a distance equal to the number of steps required to burn all the calories that you consumed carrying this knapsack, would that cherry cola seem so appetizing when you learned that you would need to walk for nearly an hour (at a pace of 3 mph) just to burn off that one beverage?

Or how about an iced cupcake? Sure, it only weighs a few ounces so it would be easy to carry, but it could contain anywhere between 290 and 590 calories; meaning that consuming just one would require you to walk anywhere from one to two hours without a break. This might not sound too bad until you realize that the “sugar rush” you experienced during the first few minutes of your hike has long since worn off leaving you tired, insufficiently nourished, and thirsty. A bottle of water would go down very well right now, except you didn’t bring any – it was too heavy to carry.

My hunch is that it would not take very long for you to become so sick of carrying around all that useless weight that you started to look for more efficient sources of real food – Things that are high in nutrition, light weight and satisfying. Things like oatmeal, green leafy vegetables, fruit, and water.

But doesn’t water weigh as much as soda?

Yes, a bottle of water does weigh about the same as bottle of soda but it contains no calories, meaning you can drink as much as you can carry without having to walk any extra steps, and it has the added benefit of hydrating your body so that it burns calories more efficiently as you walk.

In case you are wondering, I poured most of the cola down the drain, but I kept the bottle – it is just the right size for transporting water in my handbag, and much cheaper than the reusable water bottles sold in most stores.

By Robin Trimingham

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