The First Lady has been quite vocal in the last few years about children eating healthy foods and getting exercise, but the need to “eat right and stay fit” is probably not really news to many of us. Still, we often find ourselves resorting to the French fries and the doughnuts instead of the carrot sticks and the oatmeal. Well, let me give you some additional reasons why we should all improve our diets.
A couple of years ago, I read a fascinating book called Nourishing Traditions. It explained about how the foods traditionally eaten in many diverse cultures produced healthy people even in the absence of dental care and modern medicines. The secret? Eating whole real foods rather than eating processed foods containing only parts of the original organism.
You Can Run…
One of the omnipresent ingredients in modern food is high fructose corn syrup. The reasons for why are many and could take a whole book to explain, so I’ll stick to addressing other issues, mainly why we should be avoiding products containing it.
Corn has been a staple in Latino cultures for ages. In its whole and untampered-with state, it’s fairly nutritious, especially when combined with beans. But only a tiny portion of the corn grown in this country is ingested that way and genetically, it hardly resembles the food the Central American people ate for so long (we can thank the GMO companies for that). The most common corn-based food we eat is actually just the concentrated sugar form that is used to sweeten everything from breakfast cereal to ketchup. It provides nothing but “empty calories.”
In our infinite wisdom, we human beings have fiddled with the wholesome foods God created and reinvented them in ways that remove most of the nutrition or at least bind it with things we were never meant to consume. The result has been “food” that delivers calories without vitamins, minerals, or a balance of types of food. We eat far too much white flour with all the good stuff (bran, etc) removed and way too few fruits and vegetables. We eat things with “kreme” filling that doesn’t contain a bit of dairy or calcium. How can we expect our bodies to repair themselves or grow with those things as the building blocks?
Overfed, But Malnourished
We need to become a label reading nation and vote with our dollars for real food. At present, we are an obese, but under-nourished nation. We are also prone to health problems because of it. We can do something about it.
Why should you commit to improving your diet? Because that should improve your health. But can’t my doctor just give me a pill or something if I get sick? Well, maybe, but maybe not.
Given a choice, I’d rather prevent a health problem than cure it. And if I get sick, I’d rather use a natural remedy than a chemical one anyway.
No Guarantees of Future Availability
Here’s the thing, though- what if you can’t get medicine to fix these problems? What if the pharmaceutical company goes bankrupt or gasoline to run the trucks that bring the medicine just isn’t available anymore because people in the Middle East are mad at us? In an uncertain future, you may find yourself needing to do more physical labor- you need to be fit enough to handle it. You can do so much to stay healthy and it starts with what you put in your body.
There are some folks who advocate a vegetarian diet or a raw foods only diet. There may be a lot of merit to them, but I’m not trying to sell you a specific regimen or a lifestyle devoid of all the foods you enjoy. Heaven knows how much I like chocolate! But if we are more deliberate about eating things that provide a balance of the nutrients our bodies truly need to work properly, we will reap the benefits.
Vitamins and Minerals
Having said that, most of us are not getting all the things our bodies need even when we try. Joe and I consider good vitamin supplements to be crucial. Do your own research. There is a lot out there to suggest that you can prevent a lot of health problems (or maybe even reverse the ones you have) by giving your body what it is lacking. Stock up on supplements now to make sure you have what you need.
With all the other stresses out of your control, this is one area that you can be very proactive and do something about. Get healthy now so you will need a doctor less later on.