To be or not to be -- healthy, that is.
The world is suffering from an epidemic -- of not taking their health seriously, until it's too late. This is especially true in the United States and it is critical that people wake up to this fact and make a conscious choice to change their culinary course.
If you care at all about your health and/or the health of people you love, we challenge you to open your eyes and see the quicksand that is the American diet. Now this is not rocket science that we speak of. Everyone knows that "you are what you eat". One has to wonder, "then why is everyone killing themselves if they know this?" We believe there are many reasons.
Society has led us to this epidemic in many ways. Convenience has become a necessity in our crazy, over-tasked lives. You want to put something healthy before your family but just don't have the time to invest in preparing a good meal. So pulling out a ready-made lunch or box of this-or-that is a time saver. And what the heck--they love it, so it's a win/win, right??? WRONG. Additionally, fast food restaurants have instilled in the greater part of today's population that "grabbing a quick bite" around the corner needn't prompt a second thought. Everyone frequents them so it must be okay, right??? WRONG. Sit-down restaurants have portion sizes that 100 years ago would have fed two, if not three, people. And stress is another culprit. Americans are all stressed out and don't have the energy to fight the battle between choosing something good to eat vs. something bad for you that tastes great.
It is important to understand that fat is also not the only culprit in our food problem...carbohydrates are an enormous enemy, as well as all of the chemicals used to process, preserve and flavor enhance the foods we eat. The average person would be doing themselves a favor to consume less than 200 grams of carbohydrates per day and steer clear of processed foods. Especially if the bulk of the ingredients are not even pronounceable. When they put enough chemicals in something to give it a shelf life of years, meaning not even germs wanna eat it, then you really need to ask yourself if it's something you should consume! When you start looking at your nutrition information labels, you'll quickly realize what has caused people to cry on their scales, sent them to the doctor, zapped them of all energy, dulled their minds and memories and even killed them of cancer, etc. Because it's not an instant reaction to our choices, we justify our behavior rather than listening to our intuition that knows better.
Then there's soda. That wonderful, bubbly and refreshing 44 ounces of chemicals! And to think that a tiny 4oz. glass of soda water (without the syrup) was a treat in the early part of the last century. Now we have bottomless cups. We've literally witnessed soda formulas that erode the rubber gasket inside of a soda gun! Imagine what it's doing to your tubes!
So what is the answer? What is the bottom line? -- Getting back to basics. Moderation. Words that few Americans want to think about -- but it's the only sensible way. Think about the lifestyle of people from the past. Our grandmother's grandmother would have fallen over in disgust if you had tried to serve her what is common today. People from a hundred or two hundred years ago (and obviously anything earlier) were living long lives. Reaching 100 was not a newsworthy event, but instead not uncommon. Obesity was almost never seen. And all of this without "modern medicine", "modern conveniences" and the "modern mind". We think we're so much smarter these days and that those people were just ignorant peasants. But those people weren't huffing and puffing at having to ascend a flight of stairs. They thought nothing of walking a mile to gather their food for the next day. They enjoyed what the earth provided for them and were generally very happy. They were satisfied with the fruits of their labor. Plagues occurred, of course. But at least people weren't plaguing themselves with what are essentially poisons and putting a load on themselves that would one day become impossible to bear. We need to learn from our ancestors. It's really quite simple if you can get past what has become the norm in this country and start defending yourself as if your life depends on it -- because it does!
The best thing people can do when at the supermarket is to shop the perimeter. You've probably heard this before and there's a reason why. This is where fresh fruits, vegetables, dairy, meat and grains are primarily found. This is where it gets tough and most people, even those with good intentions, fold. Somehow the box of donuts or chips on the end cap of that aisle you just passed comes creeping into your mind and the struggle begins. That's the time when you need to ask yourself "Do I really want to be fighting cancer 10 years from now? Do I really want to feel like garbage 30 minutes from now after crashing from a carb overload? Should I really be putting things into my body that most humans cannot identify?" Only you can make the choice. But the beauty is that you truly do have a choice. So start taking responsibility for yourself. Nobody else will do it for you, nor should they--it's YOUR body. Once you break away from an unhealthy lifestyle, you will wonder how you ever went down that dark and gloomy road to begin with. After only a short while, you'll see a bowl of strawberries beside a giant cookie and opt for the berries and find them just as tasty. Hopefully you could find that a fresh baked loaf of bread (by the local bakery or, even better, by you!) is so much more satisfying and healthy than store-bought bread which contains so many chemicals and additives that it's mind boggling. You will feel the physical change in your body relatively quickly, regardless of your size. And you will have re-gained your strength, both physical and mental. You will find your stress levels melting away and before you know it -- you'll feel healthy!
One thing that may deter you in following a healthy diet is cost. Shopping the perimeter is ALWAYS going to be more costly. Well, as with anything else -- you get what you pay for. In a day and age when people don't blink an eye at shelling out several thousand for a plasma TV, or 40k for a car....then food shouldn't be a place where they skimp. Prioritize. If you can't afford to eat right, then quit spending your money on all those things that you don't really need. You owe it to yourself to eat right!
So, the next time you get the urge to pick up some mac-n-cheese, a box of cereal that's more fit for use as kitty litter or a cute little plastic tray filled with perfectly placed pieces of ham, crackers, cheese and cookies--ask yourself, "Would grandma's grandma have eaten this?" If you can't answer yes to that question, then you'd be better off putting it down and finding something else.
Here's to happy, healthy living. May it catch on soon, before it's too late.