calorie restricted diets, calorie restriction, Cattle feeding, CLA, counting calories, digesting food, factory farms, fast food industry, Food, Free range eggs, government subsidies, grass-fed beef, Health, healthy fats, maintaining a healthy weight, Meat, muscle tissue, Organic farming, rBST, starvation mode, United States, United States Department of Agriculture, weight control, Why is proper nutrition important?
Contrary to what most people seem to believe, there is much more to reaching and maintaining a healthy weight than just exercising and counting calories. While it is true that some people do indeed eat too much and exercise too little, for most people the problem of weight control is much more complex than that. In fact, the quality of the food you eat is much more important than the quantity, or even how much or how little you exercise.
While it is not healthy to stuff yourself, it is important to eat until you are satisfied, from one to three times a day, with no snacking. Diabetics need to eat frequent small meals during the day to keep their blood sugar from crashing. But, most people do not need to do that, and for most of us, it is healthier to eat fewer meals, and eat until we are satisfied enough so that we have no need to eat again for at least 5 or 6 hours. The body has many jobs to do, and keeping it busy digesting food constantly interferes with its ability to do those other jobs.
Eating too little for extended periods can actually be worse than eating too much. The human body is programmed to go into what is known as starvation mode, whenever it thinks it is entering a period of famine. Starvation mode causes the body to hold onto every calorie you consume, and this greatly lowers your metabolism. The body also begins burning your muscle tissue for energy, and this lowers your metabolism even further. Food was not always as readily available as it is today, and this mechanism protected the species from extinction when periods of famine were more common.
Of course, an occasional, short-term fast will not cause this to occur, but extended periods of severe calorie restriction-such as weight lose diets, generally will. That is why calorie restricted diets do not work for most people.
There are several factors which cause weight gain, and a number of other health problems. Most of these factors began around the middle of the 20th century and steadily increased. After WWII, there were large amounts of chemicals left over from the war which the government didn’t know what to do with. They decided to process these chemicals into marketable fertilizers and pesticides, and sell them to the farmers. That was the beginning of Big Agra-business and factory farming.
Before long, there was more and more chemically laden, processed foods available in the grocery stores. This has steadily increased over the past several decades. In addition, the number of factory farming operations steadily grew. Factory farmed live stock is raised in inhumane, unnatural conditions. The animals are fed diets designed to make them gain weight quickly, produce more milk and eggs, etc. The conditions these animals are raised in, is unconscionable. They rarely, if ever, get to see the light of day. They are kept in cramped spaces with little or no room to move around. The conditions make them sick, so they are given anti-biotic drugs in their feed, along with hormones to make them produce more. I will not go into all the cruelties that these animals are forced to endure, but when you buy factory farmed meat and dairy, you are supporting these atrocities.
In addition to the cruelty, the meat from these animals is unhealthy for humans, because the conditions they are raised in, have made them sick. And eating sick animal flesh, makes us sick, too.
Also, the fast food industry got its start around the middle of the 20th century, and it has since grown into a multi-trillion dollar industry. I seriously doubt if there are very many people who actually believe that fast food is even remotely healthy.
Why are these foods generally priced so much lower than organic grass-fed beef, or organic vegetable, or free range eggs? It is basically because the government subsidizes the factory farmed meats, and the conventionally grown vegetables, and does not subsidize organic farmers. So, in essence, the government is actually rewarding producers of the least healthy, least sustaining, least sustainable, and least nutritious foods possible. And at the same time, they are actually paying farmers for NOT growing certain crops. Thanks to these government subsidies, it is actually much more difficult for people of limited means to make the healthiest food choices, even if they know how.
The most processed, and least nutritious foods, which are actually the most fattening as well, are also the most affordable. That’s the real reason that there are a great many more obese people among the lowest income groups in this country. It is not because they are eating too much, it is because they are eating the wrong foods. Many overweight and obese people are actually severely malnourished. Many people don’t realize this, but a person can weigh up to 600 pounds or even more, and still be malnourished. This is because the quality of the food they are eating is so poor and nutritionally depleted. The greatest percentage of overweight people are low-income people, and that is because the lower quality of the food that they are able to afford is what is making them fat.
The Chemicals that are put into processed foods are designed for several purposes. Some are for tricking our taste buds into detecting the food tastes better than it actually does. Some, are for increasing profit by giving the foods a longer shelf life. Some are intended to make the food look more appetizing. Some are intended to get us addicted to the food so that we will keep buying it over and over again. Some are intended to cause us to gain weight and even become obese. Some are intended to keep us hungry all the time and produce cravings in the brain. Some, such as the rBST hormones given to dairy cows are intended to increase milk production to increase profits. One of those health problems is that it seems to cause the onset of puberty in progressively younger and younger children.
Some of us have recently come to understand that this rSBT causes numerous health problems in humans when we drink milk which contains it. So, more and more milk producers have begun to label their dairy products as rSBT free.
Chemical additives such as MSG and Aspartame are known excito-toxins which actually penetrate the blood/brain barrier and kill brain cells.
Even healthy foods like fruits and vegetables, are not as nutrient dense as they one were. This is due to mono-culture and other farming methods, which have drastically eroded the top soil and basically killed all the living organisms in what is left of the soil. This has turned many formerly fertile areas into barren desert wastelands.
Currently, the most nutritionally dense foods on the planet are as follows: Organically raised and 100% pastured meats and poultry; wild caught, low mercury containing fish; raw, organic, dairy products from 100% grass-fed, A 2 cows, free range, nature fed, and wild poultry; eggs from free range poultry; wild edible perennials, and produce grown either organically or by permaculture or hydroponic or aquaponic methods.
The things that make perennials so vastly superior to annuals is first of all, the fact that these plants come back year after year without ever having to be reseeded, and secondly, they produce a much longer tap root which reaches deep into the earth to pull up all the nutrients from way down there.
Even though organically grown vegetables are much more nutritious and much less toxic than conventionally grown ones (due to the fact that chemical fertilizers and pesticides and herbicides are not used on the organically grown ones), most garden vegetables are annuals. And perennials are always more nutritious than annuals, because of their deep tap roots. Perennials are still the champions of the plant-based food world.
The healthiest and most fortunate people on the planet, are those with the available land, and the knowledge to grow their own food using permaculture methods or hydroponics or aquaponics.
One of the primary functions of the liver is removing toxins from the body via the blood and the colon. If a person is too overloaded with toxins from food, water, air, etc., the liver gets overloaded, and cannot do its job as well. Many toxins will remain in the body and are stored in the fat cells. If a person who is overweight and has too many toxins stored in his or her fat cells, and then loses too much weight too quickly, those massive amounts of toxins are released too quickly. If a high enough concentration of toxins are released from the body too quickly, death can result. So, while losing weight is always a good thing, it should always be done at a gradual pace, and taking steps to detox should always accompany any efforts at weight loss. There was a time, when we were not bombarded with the level of toxicity that we are today.
What is now called organic food, used to be simply called food. Before the development of all the chemical fertilizers and pesticides, all farming was done the way organic farming is done today. Our water was cleaner then. and so was the air we breathed.
Before a diet can be truly called healthy, there are certain things that must absolutely be eliminated from it. If a person wants to achieve optimum health and maintain their ideal body weight they must eliminate toxic additives such as MSG, Aspartame, and chemical preservatives, rBST, trans-fats (hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated processed vegetable oils), nitrates and nitrites, artificial colorings and artificial flavorings, which are put into refined and processed foods. And we must not forget to avoid any ingredients in processed and refined foods which you cannot pronounce the name of. If an ingredient’s name does not sound or look like a recognizable food, then it is a pretty safe bet that it is not a food.
Anyone who truly wants to maintain a healthy diet and lifestyle, must learn to real food labels and to understand what they are reading.
There is something that many people don’t realize, and that is that your food choices don’t just effect you. They also effect the rest of humanity, as well as the planet. When you eat factory farm meats and dairy, you are supporting with your dollars, all the unspeakable atrocities committed by that industry. You are also supporting all the harm that industry does to the planet and the environment, and you are also supporting and perpetuating unspeakable animal cruelty. Not only that, but supporting factory farms and conventional monoculture farming methods makes it that much harder for low-income people to afford healthy food, so you are helping to make them sick.
The least healthy, most nutritionally depleted, and most toxic foods on the planet would not be the most affordable foods, without the government subsidies. Processed foods don’t cost any less to produce than more healthy alternatives, but the subsidies keep the prices artificially lower than healthy, clean, and nutrient dense foods. The processed foods are also the most heavily advertised which creates an artificial desire for them.
Things like refined sugar, refined white flour, white rice, white potatoes, high fructose corn syrup, and other simple carbohydrates which are very high on what is called the glycemic index; have the effect of spiking your blood sugar. Blood sugar needs to stay within a certain, safe range, and if your blood sugar spikes, your pancreas kicks in, and begins secreting insulin, to bring it back down in a big hurry. Often, the pancreas secretes too much insulin, and that causes your blood sugar to crash. A constant or frequent blood sugar roller coaster, is one of the primary causes of diabetes.
When the blood sugar gets too high, that is actually a body emergency. The pancreas is sort of like a fireman putting out a two alarm or higher fire. The insulin has to lower the blood sugar, before all that sugar can get to the brain. The way the insulin gets all that sugar out of the blood, is by stocking it away in the fat cells in the form of fat. And that is one of the primary causes of overweight and obesity.
Also, too many peaks and crashes of your blood sugar overworks your pancreas. And, while it doesn’t happen to everyone, this can cause many people’s pancreas to malfunction, which is one of the primary causes of diabetes. Another effect is called insulin resistance or pre-diabetes. Not everyone who develops insulin resistance graduate to full fledge diabetes, but most people who develop diabetes develop insulin resistance first. Insulin resistance is a known precursor to diabetes.
I know that some people will disagree with me when I state that humans are omnivores. I don’t eat meat with every meal, or even everyday. At times I even go weeks or months without eating meat. But, I am not a vegetarian or a vegan. I will eat meat sometimes, and I have no qualms about doing so. As long as I am the one in control of my own food choices, I never support factory farms with my dollars. I eat eggs as often as I can, because they are one of the best sources of protein on the planet. They are super nutrient dense, and they contain some very healthy fats. But, when I am in control I always get free range eggs. They are more expensive, but even so, they are cheaper than organic, grass-fed ground beef, or free range chicken. So, eggs are the foundation of the animal based part of my diet. I also drink milk and eat cheese. I prefer raw, organic, grass-fed dairy products when I can get them, because I know that regular milk is not healthy for most people.
I don’t have a problem with people who chose an omnivorous diet, if they chose. However, meat consumption does not need to be excessive, and I do have a problem with the factory farm method of producing animal based foods. Meat consumption can be reduced, and more conscientious choices can be made. You can choose wild caught salmon, instead of farm raised. You can choose dairy products from organically raised, 100% pastured, 100% grass-fed, A 2 dairy cows. you can choose free range or wild poultry fed their natural diet. You can choose 100% free range eggs, and so on. You can vote the factory farms out of business with your dollars.
Sure, the good stuff is more expensive, NOW, thanks to the subsidies I spoke of earlier in this article…but if enough people demanded the good stuff, and refused to buy the crap…the big food producers would be forced to listen to the consumers and produce our food using the healthiest, most sustainable, most humane methods.
The real power is with the people, and the so-called powers that be can only do the things they do because we let them. It is high time that we stopped letting them.
The power is ours, and we have to take it back instead of continuing to give our power away. For the sake of the planet/environment, as well as for the well-being of the entire human race-both present and future…we must wake up and see exactly what we have been doing and allowing for far too long.
It is time for us all to remember who and what we truly are, and to become conscious and aware of just how everything we think, buy, consume and do, actually effects the big picture, and the future of the human race upon this planet.
What kind of world to you really want to leave to future generations?
Think about it.