Conscious awareness – The way to begin dietary change

Eating a McDonald’s Chicken McNugget, which contains more than 25 ingredients, is not the same as eating a home-cooked chicken nugget, which could contain as few as four ingredients, the fourth being “spices.” The Chicken McNugget is lots of things … including chicken. Those who cultivate conscious awareness will pay attention to the difference between the McDonald’s Chicken McNugget and a homemade chicken nugget, for instance.

We choose fast food and quicky microwave meals for lots of reasons, including familiarity, palatability, convenience and cost. Modern American life is busy, and health-promoting foods are not always a consideration. Yet healthy eating qualifies as one of the most important things we should give our attention to. Whether it’s a cheeseburger or a bowl of broccoli, you should get into the habit of thinking about what you eat. Really thinking about it … so you can avoid eating mindlessly. Eating mindlessly disconnects us from a holistic health perspective. In a holistic framework, eating goes beyond merely sustaining ourselves, fulfilling cravings or indulging in pleasures. From a holistic perspective, eating is a proactive choice to promote health and vitality by deliberately choosing foods that align with this objective.

You might conclude the McNugget is little more than a piece of chicken — seasoned, breaded and fried. You might reason, “It’s chicken — a better choice than a double cheeseburger.” Maybe for you the McNugget warrants no thought, so you don’t give it any.

The mindless consumption of the conventional microwave meal is an example of exerting little effort in determining what you feed your body. Pop a microwave meal into the microwave. Consume it. Done. There aren’t even any dishes to wash. Busy Americans do this because making the same meal from scratch would be time-consuming and potentially more expensive.

Do you regularly consume this meal? Just sometimes? Have you thought about its ingredients? Have you read the package label? Have you acknowledged the meal is likely a compilation of chemicals and additives? Have you wondered about any of them and what purpose they serve? There’s plenty to ponder. And we should ponder this …  instead of permitting a global conglomerate to do this for us.

Eating an occasional laboratory-inspired, processed microwave meal disguised as food is probably not going to harm anyone. And too, there are differences between conventionally produced microwave meals and naturally produced microwave meals. Typically, naturally produced microwave meals contain fewer chemical additives. So, when you do consume microwave meals, it’s a good idea to choose those with the fewest ingredients and additives. Maintaining your health is something you can influence if you’re thinking about nutrition and educating yourself on some of the basics.

Take charge. Wonder. Ask questions. Find answers.

You might believe the McNugget is a chemically manipulated unnatural food product that originates in a factory farm where sick and diseased chickens are crowded into barns, cages and pens. Animals in these environments are routinely injected with antibiotics to fight disease and infection, since they live in unnatural conditions and eat unnatural diets, which include genetically modified feed.

You could argue the best alternative is a pasture-raised, organic chicken from a non‑factory farm, raised in the ways of nature, considered healthier because it’s chemical free with less fat. Some people won’t entertain any of this. They’ll enjoy food as they please, arguing “something’s going to kill me.” They readily accept potentially shortening and compromising the quality of their lives. Unlike these individuals, you accept the promise of healthy eating. You recognize you can influence the quality of your life by making intelligent dietary decisions. You know you can make choices that minimize toxic assaults and their effects. You understand healthy eating supports the creation of health in your life.

An informed decision, versus a mindless one, starts with a thought, which could be a simple question: Am I seeking optimal health? The answer could lead to discoveries around healthy habits. Which could lead to incorporating healthy habits. Which could lead to sustaining these healthy habits — all shaping healthful outcomes. Keeping diet and nutrition front and center means asking yourself questions.   

Ask yourself this at the end of the day today. Did my meal choices:

  • Nurture me? (Soul, spirit, emotionally)
  • Strengthen me?
  • Weaken me?
  • Aggravate an existing medical condition?
  • Promote healing from an existing medical condition?

You could take this a step further by deeply examining what you eat. You could measure and track everything that goes into your mouth and add those values to one of the free or fee-based online calorie counters or nutrition apps.

Whatever you put into your mouth, consider if it’s even a food, but instead a product … an amalgamation of chemicals … a food injected with growth hormones, stimulants, artificial flavoring and artificial coloring … a collection of unpronounceable additives.

woman reading food label

On the McDonald’s website (accessed Jan 30, 2024, typos notwithstanding) McDonald’s asks:

“Wondering what are McDonald’s Chicken Nuggets made of? Chicken McNuggets® are made with all white meat chicken and no artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives.”

We also know there’s no peanut butter, cabbage or kidney beans in the Chicken McNugget. Beware of trickery and deception. We look at the ingredients to learn what’s in the food, not so much to learn what it doesn’t contain.

And if we wanted to know what those Chicken McNuggets were made of, this “response” hardly tells the whole story. The answer is found elsewhere on the site. asks:

Wondering what McDonald’s Chicken Nuggets are made of? Chicken McNuggets® are made with:

  • White Boneless Chicken
  • Water
  • Vegetable Oil (Canola Oil, Corn Oil, Soybean Oil, Hydrogenated Soybean Oil)
  • Enriched Flour (Bleached Wheat Flour, Niacin, Reduced Iron, Thiamine Mononitrate, Riboflavin, Folic Acid)
  • Bleached Wheat Flour
  • Yellow Corn Flour
  • Vegetable Starch (modified Corn, Wheat, Rice, Pea, Corn)
  • Salt
  • Leavening (Baking Soda, Sodium Aluminum Phosphate, Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate, Calcium Lactate, Monocalcium Phosphate)
  • Spices
  • Yeast Extract
  • Lemon Juice Solids
  • Dextrose
  • Natural Flavors
  • (Contains Wheat)

The goal here is not to pick apart these ingredients and determine good, bad or dubious. Instead the goal is truth-seeking.

Contemplate if your lifestyle is generating good health. Think about your life and how you live it and your body and what you give it. This understanding helps us develop a conscious awareness of what we put into our bodies. It’s only through awareness of your nutritional habits that you can begin to improve your nutritional health. Your body deserves worthwhile consideration of what you feed it.

Conscious awareness precedes the path to change. When you think about the food you eat, consider if it’s creating health for you. And sit with this for a minute if you have doubts.

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