It’s no secret, the United States is one of the fattest countries in the world and our population is ridden with lots of diseases and illnesses that are a result of a poor diet. The food we consume causes our nation to suffer from obesity, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, sleep apnea, some cancers, some autoimmune diseases, and the list goes on. The saddest part about the “SAD” diet our country participates in, is that our children are suffering the most. Never before have we seen young children morbidly obese and needing medications for things like type 2 diabetes. The fat epidemic in our society begs the question of “How did we get here and how did we let it get so out of control?”
After a recent trip to the far east, I took notice of how our American diet is vastly different from the Asian diet. It seems our food priorities in the United States are a little out of whack. While visiting the far east, I noticed a major difference in the types of food choices available. The food choices available in Asia were mostly plant-based, fresh, no preservatives and lean protein options like fish and poultry compared to our heavily processed, sugar-laden, high carbohydrate, mass-produced, convenient, “on-the-go” food options. When I think of the brightly colored, fresh food I experienced in Asia compared to the food choices available in the United States, I began to think that our convenient food options barely represented food at all. Then the question popped into my head…”How did we get so used to the “non-nutritional food options available in the United States?” The answer really boils down to accessibility, marketing, and advertising. Think about it, when was the last time you saw a stalk of broccoli on a billboard, advertised on tv, or easily available through your favorite drive-through? Probably never.
In my opinion, here is a short list of where we need to make changes in order to change the dietary health of our country:
- The education system and the lunches we provide
- Nutrition information/classes in our schools
- The government approved “food pyramid” (its foundation is bread, grains, and carbohydrates which all convert into sugars once digested by our bodies)
- Fast food options on every corner
- Super-sized sugary drinks
- The abundance of overly processed foods and snacks
- Our obsession with eating every 2 – 3 hours
- The amount of “snacks” we feed our children throughout the day
- Our craving for sugar
To really understand the impact food, sugar, and carbohydrates have on our bodies and why my “short list” above contains the items listed above, I have included a list of documentaries you should consider watching. You will be amazed at what you will learn when it comes to the quality and type of food you eat and how it directly impacts your health:
- Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead
- Fed Up
- Food, Inc
- Food Matters
- Forks Over Knives
- The Magic Pill
- Super Size Me
When you make a conscious effort to drastically reduce sugars, sodas, and processed food and start selecting fresh, non-processed food, fruits, and vegetables, you will start to see a difference in your health. The first steps in this process are educating yourself and consulting with your physician to make the best, informed decisions about your health.
To your health!