I am watching the premiere of the 10th season of the Biggest Loser and feel compelled to share some thoughts. Yes, it aired last night but I recorded it because I got in a fight with NyQuil and NyQuil won.
The obesity epidemic in America is unbelievable; so unbelievable and multi-faceted that I don’t even know where to begin with all of the thoughts swirling around in my head. In my opinion the problem is a combination of overeating, inactivity, laziness and most importantly, Americans are no longer eating REAL FOOD!
Pull something out of your pantry or refrigerator and read the ingredients list. Do you know what everything is? Can you pronounce all of the items? Do the ingredients seem like “food”? (Hint: anything that is an “enhancer”, “powder”, “carbonate”-this and “hydrogenated”-that…probably not real food.) You’ll know a real food when you see it. It looks like this:
The Chef and I try to eat as healthily as possible and are pretty aware of what we buy and put into our mouths. If I don’t know what an item on an ingredients list is or can’t pronounce it, I don’t buy it (I don’t buy many things that even have an ingredients list to begin with). We try to only consume locally sourced, non-processed, organic FOOD and in the case of meat and dairy, grass-fed. We also have our weekly CSA bag which I highly recommend. The CSA bag is an easy way to get regular deliveries of local, organic and seasonal produce into your kitchen and belly.
This may be surprising (and heart breaking) but you’re not supposed to eat tomatoes all year round (I told it would be heart breaking). To eat them all year round they have to be grown in unnatural environments with more chemicals and/or imported from around the world (read: global warming).
The Chef and I have been together for over 5 years now and trust me this isn’t how we ate at the beginning of our relationship. This wasn’t even how we ate last year. The transformation started slowly and with just a couple of key foods at first. We still have goals we want to reach. For example, we’d like to eat less meat (alright and cheese!). But we keep educating ourselves and making small changes. And yes, it’s expensive. But it’s only expensive because it’s not the norm yet, supply and demand people. Also, would you rather pay more for your organic, delicious produce now or your medical bills later? Obesity has now surpassed smoking as the number one, preventable cause of death in the US (per Season 10 of the Biggest Loser).
I started a new book the other day called In Defense of Food, written by (my idol) Michael Pollan. In the first chapter he begins to break down how the various food industries and lobbyists have played a HUGE role in our understanding of food, nutrition and determination of what is healthy or not, what we should eat, what is on the supermarket shelves etc… Imagine that! A particular food industry (meat, corn, soy etc…) HEAVILY influencing what we consume. Doesn’t it seem that their opinion may be based more in how much profit they stand to gain instead of the health of the humans who are consuming the food?
I’m convinced processed “food” is one of, if not the primary cause for the increases in cancers, heart disease and diabetes that we’ve seen over the past 30 years. I feel very passionately about this topic and haven’t even begun to scratch the surface with this blog post, so stay tuned!
If you want to begin to do one thing to change the way you select and consume food, start with the ingredients list; if you buy things that don’t have one at all, that’s even better. Want to go big and change two things? Begin to purchase organic food only. We’ll be giving each other high-fives in 30 years while doing cartwheels!