Perhaps it is due to my chosen field, but everyday my Facebook feed is bombarded with images and stories about how this food can promise weight loss or increased libido or whatever health issue they are focusing on to sell their product. Remember in the end they are almost always trying to sell you a product. First off let me tell you, I am not trying to sell you anything and secondly most of these promises are simply bogus.
Bizarrely enough the world of nutrition is a fairly new science, pretty incredible when you think about the fact that we have been eating, well FOREVER! But here is the thing , how we as a nation feed ourselves has dramatically changed over the past 75 years or so. All I can speak to is the past 45 years since that is my lifespan but, wow have I seen some huge shifts.
Let’s think about how we shop. I am a city girl so large supermarkets were never where my family shopped, but even those stores in the 1970’s and 80’s were a fraction of the size they are today offering a lot fewer choices to the consumer. So we shopped at the butcher, the fishmonger, the baker and the green grocer for most of our food. Sure we went to the grocer for household products, orange juice and pet food but not much else. Things are much different today in the world of giant super stores.
If you find yourself shopping in these stores, going up and down each aisle filling your cart, that is the first mistake you are making with your health. If you purchase anything in a bag or a box, you are putting your health at risk on some level, and the environment but that is another issue for a different day. Now I am a realist and I know there are many of you out there that can’t fathom filling your cart with nothing but whole, fresh foods that actually have to be washed, prepped and cooked, but for centuries, this is how humans ate so it should not surprise any of us that they way we are eating today is not just unhealthy, but truly unsustainable.
On an evolutionary level, and let us remember that 75 years is a blink on the evolutionary scale, our bodies simply cannot adjust quickly enough to all the dietary changes we have seen and our ballooning weight and rise in obesity as a nation is simply one example of that. What is worse is that we keep creating products that we think will solve these issues only to find out given time that we made a colossal error. A great example of this is margarine. I remember margarine rising in fame in the 1980’s as a way to combat that demonic butter that leads to high cholesterol. Boy were we wrong there! Studies now show how margarine is in fact one of the WORST things you can eat and butter and even lard are coming back in favor. Well let’s just say humans have been eating lard every since we began eating meat, 100,000’s of years ago ,and we have been eating butter for around 10,000 years, so we can prove that on an evolutionary scale we are designed to eat and even thrive eating these foods.
Here is the thing though, feeding ourselves shouldn’t be this hard. Life is stressful enough with out adding the challenge of feeding ourselves and our families healthy foods. So the best advice I can give for anyone out there who wants to improve their health through the foods you eat remember this; there are no magic potions or super foods that on their own will dramatically change the shape of your body or your overall health. Eating well takes some effort and if you simply hate to cook you better find a prepared food store that makes healthy foods from scratch, because shopping in the freezer section of your grocery store or relying on take-out doesn’t cut it. Eating well is a challenge, but dealing with a chronic illness due to poor diet is a lot harder to deal with, so why not take a pro active stance now and try to improve your everyday diet.
I will make it easy for you since actionable steps are the best way to attain success. Here is a goal for your next shopping trip; TRY TO CUT BACK ON YOUR PROCESSED FOOD PURCHASES BY HALF, AND — USE THE MONEY YOU SAVE TO BUY FRESH PRODUCE. This one step is a great start and check back in a couple of days to see what new suggestions the Optimal Kitchen has in store for you.