Saturday, September 11, 2010
I find myself wondering more and more lately, "Why do we poison ourselves day after day with foods that do nothing for us and chemicals that have been bundled up into a nice little food-like package?"
This is not an "I failed again" post, but rather one brought on by weeks of successful and healthy eating. It has become somewhat of an addiction for me to find just how many different nutrients I can put into my salad or how many healthy things I can include in a turkey sandwich. I have done a lot more research on the effects of foods and tried to incorporate some that were missing such as alfalfa sprouts, mustard greens, garlic, onions, green peppers, mushrooms, barley, and sweet potatoes to name a few. I avoid meats with added nitrites and check 100% Whole Wheat bread to see whether or not the word "enriched" precedes "wheat flour".
I don't usually spring for organic but if the price is similar (as it is on very rare occasions!) I will opt for that as well. This isn't because I am a health snob, but because I think there is something to the notion that the chemicals and hormones used to make food bigger and more desirable can be very harmful to our bodies especially in large doses. What might be ruled an acceptable level in one food, could definitely be detrimental when multiplied to include all the different foods a person consumes in a day.
In the last month I have tried to really focus on what I am eating and make sure that there is a reason for it, rather than relying on impulse to guide me. I I feel healthier, am losing weight, and am proud to look back at my daily intake without regret.
I think one of the best things a person can do is to approach the food industry with caution. "Diet" versions of food are not there because the company cares about your well-being. They exist because there is a HUGE (no pun intended...ok maybe a little) market for these foods because people are looking for an easy answer in a box. These foods may be low in calories, but can be filled with a massive amount of things which you should be even more cautious of. What people need to do is put a little time into researching foods and see how they affect your body and find out what foods are the most beneficial. Research growth hormones, HFC, pesticides, to name a few and learn what affects, if any, things like this can produce. Go and read how studies have shown that mustard greens can help to improve focus and concentration, along with having cancer-fighting effects. Find out how alfalfa sprouts have been shown to help reduce cholesterol levels, reduce blood sugar, and detoxify the body. Mushrooms contain high amounts of selenium and studies have shown that they can reduce the risk of prostate cancer.
You really have to wonder if maybe rather than "looking for a cure" for many of our present day illnesses and ailments, we should spend a little money instead to educate people about prevention in the form of a healthy diet. I can truly say that a desire to increase my knowledge about food in general has made sticking to a healthy lifestyle that much easier for me. That isn't to say I won't find room for a piece of chocolate or even a slice of birthday cake every now and then, after all I'm only human. When I do, I will recognize it as a rare treat and not the start of a string of failures.
So I guess my best advice is to learn about food, not just what you are eating, but also what benefits does that food provide? If you really understand intricately the affects of bad food and the benefits of good food, it makes it much simpler to keep yourself on track.