Yup, that’s us America, fat…overfed…and under nourished. There are 3rd world countries that are dying of hunger that are rated healthier than the United States. We also have some of the highest rates of nutritional deficiencies in the world, which makes absolutely no sense, when we are the most overfed. The problem is our thinking. We become obsessed with labels, calories and fat! Well truth is, the most nutritious food does not have a label, because it’s not in a box. It does not really matter if you eat 1,000 calories, or 10,000 calories, what matters is WHERE YOUR CALORIES COME FROM! It is very hard to eat a high calorie diet when you are eating “whole” foods, meaning foods found in nature. So, what would we consider to be “whole” foods: Vegetables, Fruits, Raw Nuts and Seeds, Good fats like: Avocado, Raw Coconut Oil, Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Grapeseed Oil, Free Range Chicken, Free Range eggs, Wild Caught Fish, Grass Fed free range beef, Sweet Potatoes, All squash varities….Just to name a few.
Let me put it this way, have you ever seen a bread field? How about a pasta plant? The answer is obviously NO. And the more we play with food found in nature and process it to get from field, plant or animal to table, the less nutritious it is going to be because no matter how you look at it, it needs to be refined. Now, there are some whole grains that are not manipulated much at all such as brown rice and quinoa, but be careful if something requires a lot of work to make it edible. Beans for instance, I’m not saying beans are bad, I’m just saying that to make a bean even be edible, you have to soak it, and then cook it for hours.
The more you eat foods that are naturally found in nature, the closer you will come to your ideal weight. As inflammation comes down, energy increases, bloating and swelling decreased, digestive issues improve, your skin looks clearer, your brain is more alert and bottom line, you feel better and are at a lower risk for dis-ease. So, you literally are what you eat.
Sugar is hands down one of the most addictive foods, and the reason is, when you eat it, your blood sugar elevates, and what goes up must come down, so next your body will crave sugar to get your sugar levels back up. Studies have shown that sugar is as addictive as nicotine, alcohol and drugs. Gluten is also a very addictive food which just like sugar, can cause inflammation.
So why are we adding all this un-natural stuff like artificial coloring, high fructose corn syrup, genetically modified ingredients, hydrogenated oils and artificial sweeteners to our food? To make it cheaper, to make it last longer, to make it look pretty and to make it edible. The truth is, if a food requires these ingredients, it’s because it has no color and no taste. Our bodies are naturally repelled to eating food that look, smell or taste ugly. Because many of the foods we are eating have no nutrients, they have no color and no flavor, therefore need to be enhanced with artificial ingredients to make them edible.
Fruits, vegetables, raw nuts and seeds, healthy fats and animals that are raised in a happy and healthy environment are full of color and flavor. We often become de-sensitized to the flavors in these foods, because we’ve literally become addicted to the flavors of artificial sweeteners, fats and sugars.
Statistically, the less you eat sugar, the less you will crave it. When you are eating enough fiber, protein, vitamins and minerals and enough good fat, you won’t crave sugar.
So, without feeling guilty, the next time you go to put something in your mouth, take a second and ask yourself “what is the purpose of this food?” This can help you understand if you are eating to nourish your body, because you are hungry, or if you are eating out of emotion or even thirst.
I’m not saying you have to be perfect, but sometimes facing our addictions makes us aware of areas of our health and life that can improve. Because remember…. awareness precedes change. If you are unaware of what you are eating and drinking, keep a 3 day food log. All of my patients are required to turn this in prior to ever meeting with me, and I’ll tell you what, a majority of people who are unhealthy come in with a 3 day log without a single vegetable or fruit, and hardly any water.
3 small steps that add up:
- Drink more water. (without artificial ingredients added to it)
- Eat more vegetables and whole foods daily
- Avoid artificial sweeteners, fat and coloring.
These 3 steps add up to huge lifestyle changes over time.