I never thought I would grow up to be called a “health nut,” or even “healthy.” I grew up eating Captain Crunch, Pop Tarts, Red Baron Pizza, and would drink the cream they bring with the coffee at restaurants. (I waited for my mom to drink all of her coffee, then I would pour the cream into the mug and drink it so I didn’t draw unnecessary attention by drinking it out of the cream container).
Honestly, I never thought about my food, where it came from, what was put in it, or how they made fruit and vegetables available year-round. I just ate whatever was in the fridge, and I believed it was really real food. How does a grocery store NOT sell real food?
When I got to College, my food got even worse. I had to take out loans, so I was on a n0t-so-healthy diet of Ramen noodles, Little Caesar’s Pizza (it’s $5 for a large pizza for goodness’ sake), and whatever was on sale at Kroger. And the college food was not the best, either – hamburgers, fries, chocolate milk, tacos … I was living in a fried food paradise.
After college, I got a 9 to 5 job and nothing about my food changed. I changed, though. My metabolism slowed, I stopped running every day (College soccer), and sat all day at a cubicle. Recipe for disaster, needless to say. I gained 30 pounds over 5 years, but nothing functionally changed in the food I ate.
But then my wife had an allergic reaction to dairy, and I started to look into food allergies. I watched “Super Size Me,” and that got me thinking about what is in our fast “food.” Then we watched “Food, Inc.,” which was when we seriously thought about our food, what is in it, and how that might actually affect us. We started doing research, looking at the Center for Disease Control and FDA websites, and found videos like this one http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rixyrCNVVGA
We also found studies from the CDC which showed how fast our food choices and amount of food intake is affecting Americans. It said that in 1985, 8 states had 10%-14% of their residents who were obese (Body Mass Index greater than 30%), and 12 states where 1%-9% of the residents were obese, but over the last 25 years, obesity has exploded. In 2010, NOT ONE STATE had an obesity rate under 20%. The overwhelming majority of states have an obesity rate of 25%-30%. Watch the map of the US light up with obesity. http://www.cdc.gov/obesity/data/trends.HTML
Why? It’s a simple question. Why has obesity exploded? Why does the US have the highest rates of Cancer in the world? Why are 1 out of 2 American men and 1 out of 3 American women expected to get cancer in their lifetimes? Why do we spend more on our Healthcare than any other country? Why are 1 out of 8 women getting breast cancer? Have you ever thought about this?
We also started to see how America began allowing genetically altered dairy products, corn products, soy products, and meat products in the early 1990’s without any labeling and without any studies, clinical trials, or idea on how it would affect humans. What’s crazy is that this was allowed by the USA, but Japan, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, and all 27 countries in Europe did NOT allow genetically modified foods when they were introduced in 1994.
Then we started to understand that our food has been so affected by these genetic modifications that chemicals, pesticides, and even dangerous/harmful toxins (like meat washed in ammonia) are used to make these “foods” safer on the front end, but at what cost? Isn’t ammonia bad for us? Shouldn’t we keep E coli bacteria out of our foods instead of putting in into our foods? Don’t we realize that porous fruits and veggies absorb these very powerful and dangerous chemicals? You wouldn’t swallow them out of the bottle, would you?
The New England Journal of Medicine and the President’s Cancer Panel are cited as saying that 95% of Cancers are NOT genetic but environmental, i.e., what we eat, drink, and what we surround ourselves with. Also, I saw this study done by Rutgers University on the difference in nutrition value from Organic and Non-Organic foods. It’s amazing how vast the difference is.
So what should you do? Look into it for yourself. Do some research. Get interested. And consider the financial AND health costs. I know Organic is more expensive, but what is more important from a physical health perspective than what we put into our bodies every day, 3 times a day? I’ve spent a little more money on a car to get power windows and lower mileage because I know a little more money goes a long way. But I’ve also looked at two different brands of beans and chosen the one that is 10 cents less, having no idea what the difference in nutritional value is. When it comes to the fuel for our bodies, why do we tend to put the cheapest, lowest grade food in it? If I took my car to the gas station and all the gas was $4, but one pump had gas for $1, I might use it, but I would eventually ask WHY that gas is so much cheaper than the rest. Then I would worry about HOW that gas would affect my car, it’s longevity, and functionality. Same thing with food. It’s the age-old adage, “You tend to get out what you put in.”
Another thing you can do is watch the movies “Food, Inc.,” “Food Matters,” and “Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead” if you can. They are all on Instant viewing on Netflix.
Also, consider signing up for Urban Acres – it will save you money on organic fruit and vegetables (30 pounds of seasonal fruit/veggies for $50, every 2 weeks). Here is the website: http://urbanacres.wordpress.com/
Finally, start shopping at Whole foods or a local Farmer’s Market. I can actually taste the difference in organic vs non-organic foods. Give it a try. It may change your life.