In Defense of Food: Michael Pollan

PBS has been hitting it out of the park lately with so many programs focusing on health. The latest one is called, In Defense of Food, featuring Michael Pollan. (Click on the title and it will take you to the video).

I swiped this off the PBS website to give you an idea what the documentary is about. After watching it I’m sure you won’t look at food the same way and hopefully it will make you a more savvy grocery shopper.

“Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” With that seven-word maxim, US-based journalist Michael Pollan distills a career’s worth of reporting into a prescription for reversing the damage being done to people’s health by today’s industrially driven Western diet. In Defense of Food debunks the daily media barrage of conflicting claims about nutrition. Traveling the globe and the supermarket aisles to illustrate the principles of his bestselling “eater’s manifesto,” Pollan offers a clear answer to one of the most confounding and urgent questions of our time: What should I eat to be healthy? ”

 

Pollan also wrote a book by the same title if you are interested.

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Be well,

Inge

Knowledge is power, stay informed

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Cancer Survivors Don’t Eat Healthy Foods

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A friend sent me this article by the LA Times: After Cancer, Survivors Do Not Make Healthy Food Choices.

At first, I’m thinking, What will it take for people to wake up and realize they probably got sick because they made choices that were bad for their health? But after I calm down, I remember my team of doctors never told me to change my eating habits or lifestyle. I don’t think they even asked me those questions: What do you eat? Do you exercise? They did ask if I smoked, drank alcohol or used illegal drugs. In my opinion, food can be just as lethal as any of those. For example; sugar. It’s addicting. I still have problems with it and I hardly ever eat sugar, but when I do have a small piece of dark chocolate or cupcake, within a couple of hours my brain asks for more. If you don’t know that food can be addicting, without thinking about it, you eat another candy bar, not knowing you’re hurting your health. I know because I watched the nurses in the infusion center cram their faces with Halloween candy. You’d think they would know better.

Now a days, I’m really good about what I put in my body. Before I eat anything, I ask myself if it will help or harm me. How many ordinary people who’ve been through cancer treatments or are currently in treatment think about food and how it affects them? I know when I was in the hospital, the menu was basically crap. I was lucky, my family brought me food that I requested from the outside (something my doctors weren’t happy about because they couldn’t monitor if I was eating or not). They told me over and over to eat anything I wanted, but I knew better because I took the time to do my homework. My doctors tried to figure out why I got cancer; they ran every test imaginable, and came up empty, but I’m willing to bet none of them wondered if it was my diet and lifestyle. I know it was because I became my own detective. Everything I read pointed to it.

As soon as I figured it out, I changed my diet overnight and took charge of my healthcare. I took back the power I gave to my doctors and we became a team, with me being the coach. Chemo and radiation sucked and I have no intention of going through that again. Someone told me I wouldn’t be able to stick with my “new life.” Her words angered me and at the same time empowered me. What she didn’t know is that I have will power and that’s what it takes to make any life altering change. I also learned to love myself 100% and that includes self-care.

I’m really sad to read this article because I can’t imagine someone intentionally harming themselves, especially after a cancer scare. I don’t know anyone who wants to do that again. If you ask me, its the fault of our healthcare system. Our doctors know hardly anything about the importance of nutrition and I blame that on medical schools getting donations from the biotech industry. Are you going to say anything bad about someone whose paying your bills? Biotech makes the fake foods you find on your grocery store shelves; processed foods filled with chemicals and genetically modified ingredients. The good news is, everyday consumers are learning about healthy eating through social media (forget about mainstream media, they are owned by the same corporations who will do anything they can to keep us in the dark when it comes to what’s “really” in that canned, packaged or box of processed food). They don’t care if it makes you sick, they care about making money!

I hope people read and think about the article in the  LA Times, their lives may depend on it.

Be well!

Ingebird

 

 

 

What’s Wrong With Processed Foods?

Lakota Nation in Pine Ridge

I recently blogged about the benefits of blenderizing/juicing fruits and veggies to get the biggest bang for your nutrition buck. Probably the biggest health problem we Americans face today is malnutrition… meaning the foods (processed that is) have zero nutritional value. If our bodies don’t have the proper nutrients we can’t fight off disease. Feeling hungry all the time? Its probably because of malnutrition.

Just a few decades ago, the food industry made a conscious choice to seduce the American public into eating more processed food, which featured fat, sugar, salt and dozens of preservatives. And we could not have made it easier for them. We’ve come to love anything fast and convenient. “Heat and eat” or “grab and go” have become the buzzwords of the day. It seems that the less healthy the food, the more we love it. We left the dinner table for dinner in a bucket.

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Why are processed foods bad for us? 

The late Paul Stitt, a biochemist and author of ” Beating the Food Giants,” wrote about an experiment done in 1942, consisting of 4 sets of rats. The first were fed plain whole wheat, water and synthetic vitamins and minerals. The second group of rats were fed puffed wheat, water, synthetic vitamins and minerals. A third group ate water and sugar. The fourth group ate water and chemical nutrients.

The rats which received the whole wheat lived over a year on this diet. The rats that got nothing but water and vitamins lived about two months. The animals on a white sugar and water diet lived about a month. The rats who ate puffed wheat died within two weeks! So why did the rats die so quickly after eating the puffed wheat? Its the processed corn.

So how are foods processed?

Packaged cereals are produced by a process called extrusion. For example, Cornflakes start out as raw corn. They are ground into a flour substance, then water or steam is added to puff it back up into the desired shape. The problem is that this process interferes with the corn’s protein and it becomes something foreign to the human body; the proteins become toxic, causing all sorts of health issues.

Another experiment done in the 1960s involved 18 rats. They were divided into 3 groups: one group ate corn flakes and water; a second was given the cardboard box that the Cornflakes came in and water; the control group ate rat chow and water.

The rats in the control group remained in good health throughout the experiment. The rats eating the box became lethargic and eventually died of malnutrition. But the rats who ate the Cornflakes and water died before the rats that were eating the box!

The conclusion to the experiment? There is probably more nutrition in the box than the Cornflakes!

Processed foods also contain sugar, white flour, processed and hydrogenated oils, additives, and synthetic vitamins. I think, or at least hope we all know that white flour and sugar are bad for us.

But since the mid 90s those ingredients have also changed. The sugar, corn, oils and synthetic vitamins are now genetically modified, meaning the dna has been altered and are no longer what nature intended. The result? A rise in serious illness, including cancers.

Even if the package claims to be natural– it doesn’t mean a thing. The word “natural” is not regulated by the FDA. For example, you might find listed in the ingredients of your favorite yogurt something called carmine, which is made from the crushed bodies of a South American insect. Its used to give foods a reddish color. Starbucks got busted last year for putting it in one of their drinks. They have since changed their recipe, but Dannon, Yoplait and Chobani still use it… and refuse to stop.

Or, better yet, how about castoreum? It’s a natural vanilla flavoring made from the dried anal glands of beavers. Sound yummy? The FDA not only allows these companies to use these types of ingredients, but they can use euphemisms, to hide the fact from you and me! If you want to find out more about what’s naturally hiding in your foods, click here.

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According to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, The American diet is said to be increasingly energy-rich but nutrient-poor… meaning we get “fake” energy from all the added sugars and there are little nutrients (if any) from processed foods. In a nutshell, all the good stuff has been taken out and replaced with artificial ingredients. Its no longer food in its original form and is now something some call “frankenfoods.”

I know we are so busy these days… checking our IPADs, Face Book pages or whatever, but aren’t we worth the extra time to eat foods that are made from scratch? It really doesn’t take that long. If you have kids, get them involved with making their school lunches. If you knew the kind of crap school cafeterias are serving your kids, you would faint! And it looks like the school boards aren’t changing their menus anytime soon. They get too much money from the fast food giants, BUT if enough kids started bringing their own lunches… maybe, the schools would take notice and serve healthier meals. And even if they refuse to change, your kids will be healthier and probably do better in school.

So the next time you shop at your favorite grocer, look at how the store is laid out. You will see that the healthier foods are located around the peripheral (except the bakery…that’s a whole other post). Food giants are no dummies when it comes to marketing and figuring out what makes us buy stuff. Walk down the processed foods aisle and you will see the “usual suspects” lined up neatly at eye level.

You will also see more and more labels calling themselves natural but be your own advocate/detective and read labels. If it lists more than 5 ingredients — put it back. If you can’t pronounce an ingredient — put it back.

Better yet, eat less processed packaged foods and increase your consumption of veggies and fruits; remember, fruits are simple carbohydrates and the ones packaged are complex carbs.

I plan to write about buying organic on a budget soon, so stay tuned…

Peace, Love and Healthy Shopping!

Inge