In the beginning there was food. Grown from seed, gathered from plants, hunted, fished, domesticated and bred for food.
Then it all changed. Thanks to skilled marketing strategies, we learned that whole foods were just too much trouble. We were spending too much time in the kitchen, baking whole chickens, stewing greens, baking bread.
Enter food processors. No, not the one on the counter collecting dust, the big guys, mass production of processed food. On the premise of giving us more time, they had us hook, line, and sinker. “The best thing since sliced bread”, but seriously how long did it take to slice a piece of bread off a loaf?
I was born in an era where there was no shortage of processed foods. Spaghetti in cans, macaroni and cheese in boxes, frozen pizzas. I learned to cook by combining a can of this with a box of that. It wasn’t long before even salad came in little bags, chopped and washed for the sake of convenience.
In this day and age, many of us are labeled “fat and lazy” because we are obese, diabetic or suffer from any number of weight related maladies. We are told to cut our calories, say no to fat, and get off the couch. When we fail to lose weight, we are labeled “non-compliant”.
It seems odd to me that the ever increasing rate of obesity and related problems resulting from it would be caused by every such person being non-compliant. With more information out there about eating fat to lose fat and cholesterol no longer the villain in heart disease maybe we should all be non-compliant instead of just accused as such.
Giving up low fat, sugar, starches, and most things processed isn’t easy. I’ve told you before that it was the hardest thing I ever did. I still encounter people who say “You still don’t eat bread?” my reply remains the same “as a diabetic, that stuff will kill me.”. Most of the time people will say “I/you/people in general can’t live without bread.” I used to tell them to show me an essential carbohydrate, and I’ll eat it. The problem with that though was that they never could find one, so I quit asking for them.
A lot of people in my life think that I am totally against carbohydrates, that I think all things carbohydrates are the devil and I wouldn’t let one cross my lips even in the face of starvation. These people, while well meaning, are miss-informed. They don’t realize that there are carbohydrates in my (insert any number of low glycemic fruits and veggies here), and that my enemy is sugar and starches, no matter how many times I repeat myself.
The truth is out there, it can no longer be suppressed. Salt, Fat, Protein, have all been vilified for much too long in favor of fat free, low sodium, tofu burgers, hearth healthy whole grains. As a nation we have not only grown in population, but in girth. Could it be that the Standard American Diet, while well meaning, is not one size fits all? Could it be that by not consuming the saturated fats that our body needs, our bodies simply over compensate by making it’s own in the form of excess body fat from all those processed carbohydrates we consume?
I realize it is difficult to to sway any person into giving up their current way of eating for a day, much less a lifetime. The Standard American Diet has been around for a long time. People are convinced that it is the end all cure for obesity, all the while labeling the obese as a bunch of over-eating sloths.
If you’ve ever been labeled lazy, fat, or non-compliant, while you have actually been giving it your all, maybe it’s time to do a bit of research and find something that works? Maybe by cutting out sugar, starches, and processed frankenfoods your body will stop storing fat and start using your body fat?
If you are a Type 2 Diabetic like me and all things moderation is only leading to increased dosage and weight gain, maybe sugar and starches shouldn’t simply be moderated, rather eliminated. Maybe you can talk to your doctor about how you are sick and tired of being sick and tired, the low fat, low protein, low sodium recommendations aren’t really helping and you want to try something new.
It’s not easy to give up foods we love. We have to learn that those foods do not love us. We have to test our blood sugar often, at bed time, upon waking, before meals, one and two hours after meals, while comparing the readings to what we consume. Keeping a paper journal of everything that crosses our lips along with the blood sugar readings helps us to see what works and what doesn’t.
I know that for me, increasing the meds and doing what I was doing did nothing to control my diabetes. I had to learn what foods worked with me and what foods worked against me. I had to forget everything I had learned from conventional wisdom and step outside of my comfort zone. I had to learn that food is neither love, nor comfort, food is simply the fuel my body needs to function. I learned that there is no food in my past that is worth becoming my past.
You may be skeptical of giving up processed foods for whole foods, but seriously, have you read the ingredients list on the processed foods? I’m not talking about canned or frozen vegetables containing three or less ingredients, I’m talking about the low fat breaded maybe meats and other items containing multiple ingredients that we can not pronounce or must google in order to even know what they are. How could whole foods like low glycemic fruits and vegetables, meat, fish, dairy, and eggs be worse?
If you don’t want to give whole foods a try today, I hope you at least give a little time to thinking about it and maybe doing some research to see if it could be an option for you. Maybe, like me, you will see weight loss, improved blood sugar readings, decreased heart burn, increased energy, total reshaping of body composition as a side effect of consuming those whole foods. Maybe you’ll see that you are also more satisfied with less feedings and learn the difference in hunger and habit. Like I said, it’s hard, the hardest thing I ever did, but worth it.