• Phil

The Art Of Counting Calories

Updated: Jan 10, 2019

One of the questions we constantly get of our Food Boxes is "can you provide the calorie details?" We never do. This can lead to a bit of an awkwardian sitch because prevailing wisdom states that if you want to get seriously healthy with your food, you need to know how many calories are in it. To make matters worse, counting calories works. So then, why the hell wouldn't a company that bills itself as a paragon of health and wellness provide those pesky little digits?

There are several good reasons NOT to adopt calorie counting as a method of achieving the body of a Trojan.

1) It focuses on numbers, rather than the food. Quality of calories is more important than quantity of calories. You should constantly be looking for foods that are real, whole, and close to their natural state. When an egg becomes “155 calories,” it ceases to be an egg, and is now forced to compete with any other substance that has a similar caloric score. Equal calories does not mean equal foods. Eggs and Twix are not the same - the latter will invoke a fat storage environment, while the former will provide you with a pelvic thrust of proteiny goodness. But when you're counting calories, none of that matters - it's just 155 vs 155. Equal under the eyes of the law. We adopt the position that all foods are fair game, as long as they fit within your calorie calculations. But that's absolute bull scheisser. The artwork for this vlog is rather pertinent here, counting calories would vindicate Coca Cola over and above fresh orange juice. Now to be fair, both drinks are a disaster, but there are levels, and I know which one I'd rather thrust down the old esophagus.

2) It’s completely unsustainable. As my late, great grandmother once told me: an unsustainable eating system is about as useful as a windscreen wiper on a goat's bumhole. In my entire career, I've met hundreds of people who count calories. Not once have I met someone who did it permanently. Most manage for a few weeks, and in stubborn cases months, but I know not one single person who has made it farther than that. There’s a very good scientific reason for this…. COUNTING CALORIES IS A HARROWING PAIN IN THE A*S. 300 calories of carbohydrate each day??! Peeeerlease! How long is that going to last? Counting calories is a technique for achieving a certain look for a specific moment in time (think hyper-tanned men on stage, bedecked in orange budgie-smugglers, having their bodies scored by other men). Using maths to calculate your dinner isn’t sustainable, and therein lies the problem. You and your body are in a contract for life. What good is a “system” that you can only endure for a few short months before you fall – usually spectacularly – off the wagon? The wise man will only entertain options that have a genuine shot at becoming permanent, long term, habits – counting calories is not one of them.

3) It’s completely unnecessary. You don’t need to count calories to get in seriously good shape, so don’t bother. If you get part 1 above right – that is to say you eat real foods, then the quantity of calories ceases to be such a big issue. Try getting fat on broccoli, swap the broccoli for MacDonalds and it's a different story. It’s fake and processed foods that lead to overconsumption. When whole foods packed with fibre and other satiating shiz are gracing the gums your tummy will get fuller quicker and stay fuller longer. I’m not saying portion control isn’t a real thing, but it’s far, far, far (we are talking Sharjah far) more of a thing when you’re eating poorly. Eat well and your stomach will happily tell you when it’s time to get down from the dinner table.

I will leave you with a piece of circumstantial evidence – this isn’t enough to convict the act of counting calories, but it is rather interesting. 50 years ago, no one counted calories, and 99% of the population had no problem with their weight. In the past few decades the art of food mathematics has flourished, and so too have our waistlines. What was your grandmother doing that allowed her to eat dinner without the aid of an abacus, and yet maintain her lithe and lissome figure? 

I get the impression that people think we skip the calorie information because we don't understand food. In reality, the opposite it true. We are trying to guide people away from these weird and harmful habits.

When it comes to counting calories… Just don't.

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