One in five deaths globally are diet-related. Think about that. Too much sodium (salty snacks), sugar (refined carbohydrates and sugary drinks), and not enough whole grains, fruits or vegetables are the culprit. And it’s something most can control. No surprise, diets in the healthiest countries — Japan, Israel, France and Spain — contain lots of vegetables, nuts, fruits, and healthy oils (similar to the Mediterranean diet).
I’ve never been one to count calories or try one fad diet after another. Instead of “dieting,” I prefer the idea of eating in a new (and hopefully healthier) way. Moderation is my guide. Although white flour and white sugar are health no-nos for everyone, I do believe the body reveals what is best. (I just need to listen!) My thought process and physical energy, for instance, scream for a nap after eating refined carbs. Protein, greens and healthy fats like olive oil, on the other hand, are hi-test.
For years, I struggled with the notion that “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day” because I’m rarely hungry upon waking or for several hours afterward. When making myself eat when not hungry, I gained weight. Being a recovering potato chip addict, I love carbs but when I dump the potatoes and pasta and oh, that fresh-baked crusty bread, I lose weight — and feel better.
I can easily make a healthy salad at home but when traveling I doubt I’ll see salad on the breakfast menu. Still, I’m hopeful since fruit earned its place there long ago and breakfast smoothies have been popping up. So, go ahead, try it. Eat some greens for breakfast and see how you feel.
Fool Me Once A turn of the calendar page indicates April Fools Day is near. But many of us have been fools all along, duped into believing that all grocery store items provide sustenance.
Fooled for a long time, I trusted government agencies and legislators. If they allowed processed ingredients, hormones, antibiotics, preservatives, herbicides and pesticides into our food, they must be safe, right? Well actually, I hadn’t given it much thought. But, when a devastating illness forced me to become more aware of what I was eating, I learned that food produced from “ingredients” and “packaged” in a bag or box was really not so good for me.
noun: a person who is duped; a person who acts unwisely or imprudently.
verb: to trick or deceive someone; dupe them.
I understand how easy it is to be fooled when I don’t have the information to know better. I also understand how I become foolish when I do have the information to know better but don’t — a classic case of acting unwisely.
Thankfully, the truth is more readily available today about what’s marketed loosely as “food.” Still, many don’t have an interest or take time to investigate as evidenced by numerous fast food chains, and shopping carts overflowing with junk food, and potential “meals” like frozen peanut butter and jelly sandwiches (Really?) or microwavable pancakes and sausage “on a stick.” (No wonder we have a health care crisis when we don’t care about ourselves or what and how we eat.)
noun: any nutritious substance that people or animals eat or drink or that plants absorb in order to maintain life and growth.
Don’t Fool Me Twice
That bag of potato chips or cheese curls is not life giving. Becoming addicted, our cravings ignore the label of artificial ingredients — at least, perhaps, until we feel really sick.
Author and health activist Bri Maya Tiwari introduced me to the unseen benefits of preparing my own food — like the energy I place into it by hand chopping or slicing rather than tossing it in a food “processor.” Her book, The Path of Practice – A Woman’s Book of Healing with Food, Breath, and Sound made food prep a meditative activity for me, and my kitchen a more sacred space.
You can Fool Some of the People Some of the Time…
A few years later, a vegan friend educated me on the horrors of factory farming and Monsanto’s blatant denial of poisoning our earth, food, and people. I knew schools had soda and candy vending machines, and that lobbyists ensured potatoes would be included in school diets. What I didn’t know, that Michael Pollan exposed in his book, The Omnivore’s Dilemna: A Natural History of Four Meals, is that, among other shocking details, caustic sprays poison workers in potato fields. (How can we let this happen?)
The Pesticide Data Program of the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) suggests that any of these residues may be found on potatoes:
Suspected hormone disruptors
Known or probable carcinogens
Developmental or reproductive toxins
How long will we be convinced that ingesting contaminated potatoes won’t harm our bodies? Still craving those french fries?
“It is the nature of every person to error, but only the fool perseveres in error.” – Cicero
Listing the overwhelming number of toxicants allowed in our food chain might make you too afraid to eat much of anything. That is not my intent, nor is it to fool you into thinking I eat perfectly healthy all the time.
Becoming more mindful of what I consume is a beginning. Making one conscious choice is one healthier step than foolishly pretending unnatural, chemically-treated foodstuffs won’t harm me. Hearing the increasing cases of cancer and allergies – even in the youngest of children, I can’t ignore the information I’ve uncovered. I simply have to value my self enough to follow it and not be fooled on April 1st — or any other day for that matter.
Thoughts for Food
Being present with my food, activities and the people in my life makes a huge difference in the energy I extend to the world and in my health.
What are your experiences with food? Has your grocery shopping or food prep changed over time? I’d love to hear what books influenced your eating selections or habits. Please do share!
Feature photo original image by Momentmal from Pixabay