Monday, October 27, 2014

Thoughts on Food and Wellness

Fall break is wrapping up here in our area. I can't say it's been terribly productive, but it has been restful. Much needed quality time with my kiddos and for myself. One of my main goals was to research nutrition. I've written about my intolerance of dairy and gluten, as well as my past unhealthy relationship with food. I know I need to reign in my eating habits and take my health more seriously. The pounds just don't come off as easily as they used to and the changes in where I'm squishy bother me.  So I queued up some of my tried and true go-to resources to look at different ideas and theories in attempt to put together my own plan. In addition to books, I watched Hungry for Change (available on Netflix) and Fed Up (available on iTunes for purchase or rental). Three commonalities in all of the media:
1) Sugar is toxic.
2) Vegetables are crucial for optimal health.
3) Processed foods should be avoided at all costs.

I don't subscribe to any one type of eating. I tend to agree with bits of many. I'm not vegetarian. I'm not all organic. I do believe in growing my own food. I don't believe GMO's are all terrible, however I do think we are straying too far away from our natural plant & animal ancestors. Bottom line: there is no such thing as truly organic produce. Unless you have the seeds or animal offspring of your great grandparent's, it's not truly organic. We've been crossing plant varieties and animals for particular features for a very long time (plants since the 1930's, animals for longer). Maybe it didn't happen in a lab, but it's all genetics, folks. Unfortunately, the way genetics is run today has caused a big problem with both food safety and quality.

There are so many things that stuck with me after viewing the two documentaries. We all know how we should eat. We try and we fail time and time again. It's so easy to say vegetables and fruits should make up most of our daily calories. It's easy to say I'm going to drink only water all day. Then at 2 o'clock you can hardly keep your eyes open, your head is throbbing, and you reach for the sugar-laden treat or drink for respite from the demonic sugar withdrawal.

Truth is food companies don't want us to eat healthy. They say all the right things about helping American's become healthy- slap a label on a package of processed chemicals and make it look healthy- TO SELL PRODUCTS. These mega-food companies control our FDA. They convince the government agencies to remove things from reports that have exposed truths about sugar in our diet. Then they stand behind the farmers and say the farmers will suffer if we remove the (insert commodity here). Farmers will be put out of business if high fructose corn syrup is removed from foods. I have a message for them: DO NOT stand behind and push me under the bus because of Your special interests. Bullshit. The farmer doesn't have the time or money to fund this stuff. This propaganda comes straight from the corporate side of agriculture and it infuriates me! I'll save my rant on corporate agriculture for another time. 

Did you know?  

  •  There are over 600,000 products at the grocery store. 80% of them have added sugar. 
  • There are 56 different names for sugar.  It's in things and we don't even know.
  • Cocaine addicted rats were given the choice between sugar and cocaine over a 15 day period. 40 of the 43 chose the sugar. 
  • Low fat items have as much, if not more sugar than their full fat counterparts. Low fat products usually taste awful. To make them taste better, they add sugar. The sugar makes you crave more food. Vicious circle. 
  • Food labels must include sugar content-- in grams only. Do you know how much a gram of sugar is? It's around a fifth of a teaspoon. Manufacturers don't list sugar as a Recommended Daily % because they don't have to and because most processed foods exceed your RD% in ONE SERVING. Our recommended daily % is 6 teaspoons, or 25 grams. 
  • There were NO diagnosed cases of juvenile type 2 diabetes in 1980. In 2010, there were over 57,000 diagnosed cases of juvenile type 2 diabetes. Correlation? The fat free movement in the 80's and 90's introduced low or no fat, prepackaged, processed foods. 

I realize there are other sociological factors at work here, but the sickening truth of the matter is slick marketing taught us to think healthy needs to be cheap and easy. As long as it tastes good we keep coming back for more, more, more. We can't help it. The physiological effect of sugar on our bodies makes our brains think we are still hungry. The sugar feeds the receptors in our brain like a junkie on drugs, fueling our need for more as our insulin levels drop. We have to kick the sugar or we are all in for a very large economic and healthcare crisis like we've never seen. It seems simple, but it's incredibly difficult. Sugar is addictive. Sugar is a drug. We are junkies created by corporate agriculture. 

I encourage you to watch either of these movies. This information has made me question everything I thought I knew about nutrition and wellness. In looking over what I have learned I'm pledging to take the challenge and go 10 days without added sugar. I'm hosting a 10 day accountability group. As part of this group you will receive recipes, tips, and inspiration in a judgement free zone. It's not going to be easy, but I promise to make it as fun as possible. Click the link below to get more information on how to ditch the sugar.

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