We Are What We Eat: Are You a Carrot or Top Ramen?



The other day, in an attempt to drive home a point with our 10-year-old about the difference between food and “chemicals disguised as food”, I asked him to read me the ingredients listed on a package of Top Ramen. I told him to keep track of the ingredients he knew to be food, and those that he didn’t. The only other information I provided to him was that ingredients are listed on pre-packaged foods in order of how much is in the product (most to least), and that words he found difficult to pronounce are probably chemicals. It took about five seconds for him to get the point: dehydrated carrots fall into the food category (somewhat), monosodium glutamate does not.

That simple interaction got me thinking about the adage, “we are what we eat”. Conceptually, I think we all know that’s an accurate statement. And many of us have discovered that it holds true in practice as well. But have you ever really examined it? I mean, are you a Carrot or are you Top Ramen?

When I’m working with new clients, I often suggest the use a food journal as a somewhat objective way to observe their eating habits. When we step away from our day-to-day food choices and write them down without self-judgment, we learn a lot about what we’re eating, how the food makes us feel (physically and emotionally), and why we make such choices.

Going back to the question of being a Carrot or Top Ramen, it occurred to me that it might be interesting to create a list of the ten most common ingredients that I put into my body. So, for your reading enjoyment, here’s my list, in order of the amount I consume (highest to lowest):

  1. Water
  2. Lean proteins
  3. Fresh fruits and vegetables
  4. Coffee
  5. Almond milk
  6. Green tea
  7. Herbal tea (decaffeinated)
  8. Earth Balance soy-free, dairy-free natural buttery spread
  9. Kombucha
  10. LARA bars

I was surprised by a few of the items that didn’t show up on my top ten list, such as organic dark chocolate, gluten-free bread and bacon (all of which are guilty pleasures that I am, apparently, moderating better than I thought). With that being said, I guess I’m a Carrot. That wasn’t always the case, though, as it doesn’t seem that long ago when I ate all the sugar, fat, sodium and chemicals I could get my hands on. So I guess it’s safe to say that I am a proud and grateful Carrot, with a Top Ramen past.

Share your own stories of being what you eat here. Nobody will judge you, I promise.

By Catherine Mason

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