We’ve all heard it many times…eat more veggies, reduce the sugar in your life, eat whole foods, and drink your water. Sometimes we get numb to these recommendations because we hear them over and over and over again.
I find that looking at the bigger picture of what is going on in our food supply and dietary habits as a nation helps me to see what is happening TO me through food producers, marketeers, and growers as well as what is happening THROUGH me by the choices I make which are part of a huge culture of fake food consumption and contribute to the overall health challenges that occur in me. My health challenges are a microcosm of the larger health challenges going on communally in our nation.
The following are statistics gathered and provided through the Nutritional Therapy Association:
The Problem with The American Diet
A recent survey conducted by the National Cancer Institute asked Americans about their diet from the previous day. Only 9% of those asked consumed three or more servings of vegetables or two or more servings of fruit on the previous day. One in nine surveyed had no servings of fruits or vegetables on the previous day.
In the United States, 46% of every food dollar is spent on meals and snacks away from home.
Convenience stores have increased by 50% in the last decade.
The typical American consumes 48 pounds of high fructose corn syrup annually, usually in soft drinks.
In 1990 Americans consumed their body weight in sweeteners and salt.
Four percent of the energy use in the United States goes to packing food, which is about the same amount as the energy used to grow food. This is almost as much energy as flows through the Alaska pipeline.
The 36 million tons of food packaging used in 1990 equals about 290 pounds per person.
Americans drink more carbonated soft drinks than plain water.
Soft drink output rose from 64 billion servings (12 ounces) in 1980, to 85 billion servings in 1990.
In 1990 Americans spent $5 billion on potato chips and corn chips, $66 billion on fast food, and $44 billion for soft drinks.
So, what does all this mean?
Did you know that our physiology is 99.9% the same as our hunter-gatherer ancestors? The environmental (weather, food availability, etc) influences that developed our physiology to be adaptable and robust to walk and live upon this earth did not include potato chips, high fructose corn syrup, distorted foods packaged up for our convenience, fast food, and soft drinks. Consuming these types of manipulated food products challenges our bodies which were designed to eat food directly from the ground and trees overhead, from the animals’ milk and eggs, from the gift of life through game-meat, and from the water moving and pulsing with life from rivers and streams. We are very removed from the “hows” of our original gathering of food and the “whats” of what our bodies were designed to thrive upon.
So, with this bigger picture in mind, let’s get back to where we started – more veggies, fruit, water, wholesome home-cooked food.
To fuel your body to be robust, vibrant, and functioning well it needs the nourishment from foods that are real (not manipulated in a factory setting) and diverse (we now consume on average about 100 different foods each year and while historically we consumed between 300-1000 varieties of food each year).
Here are back-to-the-basics baby steps to fueling your body with what it loves:
Drink pure, filtered water - If you never drink water, start with 1 glass per day.
Eat a vegetable from the produce section that you touch and cut open yourself (not packaged or already cooked at the food bar from the store). Cut up an apple, a red pepper, or munch on lettuce leaves. Connect with your food.
Cut out the fake fats – Fake fats? Yes, these are distorted food products that are toxic and damaging to our bodies. Steer clear of canola, soy, corn, and “veggie” oils. Use traditional fats – coconut oil, butter, first cold-pressed olive oil. Your body loves these fats.