A Love Affair That’s Killing Us
It’s a love affair that’s killing us. America’s love affair with convenience and fast food, that is. Our society has forsaken the ways of our forefathers who ate what they hunted or raised, for the modern convenience of fast, easy, highly refined, processed, fat-laden foods. Even though the cost of these foods is relatively inexpensive, they come with a hidden but much higher price tag: our health.
Americans are more obese, more disease-ridden, take more medicine and are less active than ever before. Our elderly population is suffering at an alarming rate from diseases that most of us consider to be just a part of the ‘natural aging process.’ Wouldn’t it be great to know that we don’t have to end like that – that we can enjoy life and live it to the fullest until we die at a ripe old age of natural causes? The obvious answer is yes!
I’ve been reading the book Eat to Live by Dr. Joel Fuhrman and he provides some staggering statistics about the American diet: “Americans currently consume about forty-two percent of their calories from fiberless animal foods and another fifty-one percent from highly processed refined carbohydrates and extracted oils. Almost half of all vegetables consumed are potatoes and half of the potatoes consumed are in the form of fries or chips.” Eat to Die would be a great title for a book about the typical American diet.
People groups who consume most of their calories from unrefined plant foods have low death rates from major diseases and are rarely obese. Americans, on the other hand, consume only about ten percent of their calories from plant-based foods and have around an eighty percent death rate from killer diseases! Yes, our love affair is killing us.
I love the term ‘nutrient dense’ foods, and I really wasn’t familiar with it until I read Dr. Fuhrman’s book. After reading a few chapters, the light bulb came on for me. I realized I was eating nutrient deficient foods and was “digging my grave with a fork and knife” to quote one of his chapter titles.
Dr. Fuhrman suggests that we eat ninety percent of our diet in nutrient dense food (see his website or book) and ten percent of everything else. The Standard American Diet (SAD – yes, it is sad) recommends eating 8-11 servings of bread, cereal, rice and pasta and a mere five servings of fruits and vegetables daily, a real recipe for disaster.
I decided to give Dr. Fuhrman’s way of eating (I won’t call it a diet) a try. I worried about my low blood sugar, food cravings, heartburn that I get from certain vegetables and fruits, my sweet tooth and a host of other issues. I am happy to report that after the first week my food cravings disappeared, I never once had an issue with low blood sugar, my heartburn disappeared and I am not missing sweets! I’ve also lost 11 pounds in the month and a half that I’ve been eating nutrient dense foods and have much more energy. Have I gone off any? Yes, a couple of times when we were having family get-togethers. I hated the way I felt afterwards and so it was easy to get right back on. I’m looking forward to more weight loss and feeling even better.
Look up the phrase ‘you are what you eat’ and you will find different answers as to its origin. However, most agree that it simply means eat good food and you will be healthy – eat bad food and you won’t. To that I add a hearty amen!
Now, if I would just start exercising…but that’s another blog for another day.
Have you had good success with healthy eating? Please share in the comments.
Healthy, Wealthy and Wise Tips:
“Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.”Benjamin Franklin, from the 1735 edition of Poor Richard’s Almanack
Healthy tip for today (for your body): Make sure that you get your nutrients from whole foods in their natural state and don’t depend on supplements to make you healthy. They are called supplements for a reason – they are supposed to be a supplement to a healthy diet. Also, when eating fruit make sure you eat the whole fruit as opposed to just the fruit juice. You need the fiber and other benefits from the whole fruit that you won’t get in juice only.
Wealthy tip for today (enrichment for your soul): “Oh give thanks unto the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever.” Psalm 118:29 A heart of gratitude is essential to a healthy lifestyle. According to a 2007 study done by researchers at the University of California – Davis, feeling grateful can positively influence your well-being and quality of life. Make a list of all the things you are thankful for. Your spirits will be lifted in no time!
Wise tip for today (for the brain): Not only do walnuts kind of look like the brain, they are good for the brain – just as our Creator intended. Walnuts contain many of the nutrients, especially omega-3s, that our brains need for proper functioning and improving memory. Be sure to eat the brown skin on the shelled walnuts even though it may taste a little bitter. This flaky outer layer also contains many vital nutrients. In addition, walnuts seem to increase your levels of melatonin, a hormone which regulates sleep. Try a snack of walnuts before bedtime and your brain will thank you for the good night’s rest. I like to eat walnuts as a snack, but they are also great in salads, oatmeal and many other recipes.