By: Nikki Nies
Human consumption of food originated as a means of nutrition and energy. However, it’s use has evolved into a spectacle into everyday life.With said evolution, we’re all in a different place, figuratively, when it comes to our eating habits and ‘levels.’
To get a better idea of where you are, check out the below table, which provides an overview of the four different levels of eating.
Level I—Eating for Pleasure
|Level II—Eating for Energy||
Level III—Eating for Recovery
Level IV–Eating for Health
|Common Characteristics||Immature and impulsive||Blood sugar regulation drives one’s food choices||Inevitable cumulative effects of Level I & II||Lifelong optimal learning about optimal nutrition|
|Excessive alcohol, chocolate, coffee||Foods picked to allay hunger||Tries varies diets—Atkins, blood type, Weight Watchers, food combining, raw, ornish||Allows personal choice|
|Immediate gratification||Often consume burritos and burgers||Positive effects of diets eventually diminish||Chooses from healthy, organic foods|
|Emotional eating in response to stress||Quality’s not an issue||Can become tiresome, judgemental and supplemental driven||Eats in moderation|
|Maximizing pleasure, minimizing pain||Highly acidic forming, allergy inducing and clogging||Cares in preparation and presentation|
|Refined foods—cookies, ice cream, candies||Unconcerned with ecological impact of food choices||Food’s understood and appreciated as instrument of personal healing and sharing with community|
|i.e. “I ate it because it tasted good”||Goal: fill up and not have to eat again for 3-4 hours||i.e. “food’s the best medicine”|
This concept of Levels of Eating was developed by Ed Bauman and provides an accurate assumption about where one’s mental state is in association with the four levels. Bauman emphasizes that these levels are a process, not a method.
I’m sure we’ve all experienced all four of these levels. Some levels are more awe inspiring than others, but like life, it’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon. Of course, the goal is to reach level IV and maintain that status. One can’t really know what there’s to lose if level IV becomes the norm.
I’m not advocating you to binge on hamburgers and burritos, but to recognize that they’re not the best source for healthy living. Perhaps, these levels expose you to aspects of your diet you may want to alter and how to better rise to level IV.