The days of having no idea what exactly is in your meals are over for good. Today, grocery brands and restaurant chains like Chipotle are leading the way towards full knowledge about what’s in your food. Besides making it easier for healthy individuals to make informed choices about what they eat, the increase in options is invaluable for people with conditions such as heart disease, celiac disease, or type-2 diabetes.
In the past, the Urgent 9 blog has touched on the importance and power of preventative care. It’s the idea that the best approach toward treating a non-genetic disease is to not get the disease in the first place. By treating your body as your own personal temple of wellness, you set yourself up to avoid everything from the common cold to something as debilitating as type-2 diabetes.
There are two main areas that you can focus on to make sure that you’re doing the right things in terms of preventative care: diet and exercise. They’re both equally important, but diet is often the trickier of the two to stay consistent with for many people. When there are so many opportunities to eat presented to us every single day, it can be hard not to slip and either eat something you shouldn’t have, or forget to eat something that you should have.
Never underestimate the degree to which the food you put in your body is, in itself, medicine. Your body uses what you put into it as the fuel for which it operates every day. If you were gifted a brand new Ferrari sports car, you wouldn’t fill it up with dirty, discount gas from some weird no-name brand gas station, right?
Of course, even sometimes when we try our best and have the best of intentions, we still sometimes end up with diseases that need to be treated and managed on a day-to-day level. Many of those diseases come along with specific dietary restrictions, and that can make going to lunch break with your co-workers a total nightmare. Nobody wants to be the one who has to give a special order or who can’t eat at certain places.
However, the days of having to put in a ton of extra effort just to find a good lunch spot that can handle your dietary restrictions may be over. More and more, both independent restaurants and large chains such as Chipotle are making it easier than ever to know exactly what you’re eating. Chipotle in particular has gone above and beyond in this area, offering an interactive tool on their website that shows you what you should and shouldn’t be eating off of their menu based on one of 11 preset dietary conditions.
For example: have dietary restrictions that mean you need to be gluten-free at all times? Simply select that option in Chipotle’s online tool, and they’ll show you what items are safe to get, and which are not. Although perhaps not every restaurant will be quite as accommodating as Chipotle has been, going even half as far as they have will make life substantially easier for those trying to manage existing diseases.
The more transparency we have in our nutrition and in the food industry, the better. We need to stop looking at honesty in food labeling as a luxury or a fringe concern of Millennials and health freaks. It’s time to take the technology and modern nutrition science we have access to, and apply it in such a way that it starts showing a real impact in the lives of everyday consumers.
If you appreciate when restaurants or chains make their nutritional information available, let them know. Spend your dollars with them, and the rest of the industry will soon follow suit. If companies begin to realize that tools such as Chipotle’s dietary restriction “calculator” are valuable to customers, you might just start seeing this trend become a fact of life about how we eat in America.