CHOOSE HealthPosted: February 13, 2012
I posted a lighthearted blog last night about Brussel sprouts and it got me thinking: I hear a lot of folks make statements like ‘I can’t’ or ‘I could never’ in relation to food choice and diet change. I notice others going out of their way to buy organic chips instead of Lay’s or Gluten Free cookies instead of Oreos. These actions always leave me scratching my head, so I decided to post my thoughts about two major health concerns, that are treatable and survivable, in our modern American lives: Diabetes and Gluten Sensitivity.
More than 8% of our population have been diagnosed with Diabetes, while 3 times that number are considered to be in the ‘pre-diabetes’ category, as stated by the American Diabetes Association. The ADA promotes frequent glucose checks and insulin management while ‘losing weight’. This is a major pet peeve of mine because losing weight isn’t what controls Diabetes, it’s the items you choose to eat that will control Diabetes, especially Type II. You could be a svelte looking man or woman and still have Diabetes depending on your carbohydrate consumption.
There is a commercial that airs all the time “Are you suffering from Diabetes and trying to lose weight?” That line pisses me off every time. I may be arguing semantics, but losing weight should be the last thing on the mind of someone with this potentially fatal diagnosis. The emphasis is on the wrong end of treatment. Food CHOICE and education should be their first priority. Weight loss is of no importance if you’re still eating the sugar filled carbs that your body is unable to manage in the first place. After going through the ADA website, I couldn’t find real diet advice other than ‘contact your dietician’ when, in fact, a diet lacking sugary carbs should be the #1 course of action in treatment and prevention. Where is the upfront, critical education that will save lives?
Diabetes stems from a an abundance of sugar in your diet, creating an environment where your body is unable to make enough insulin to keep your blood sugar levels at a healthy and steady point. I talked about it in my “Why No Grains?” post briefly. I’ve also learned from friends in the food world like Steve Cooksey, a Diabetes Warrior, that Diabetes leaders continue to push grains as if they were an innocent bystander of the diagnosis. Because our food pyramid includes these cash crops, Dietitians keep them in your recommended daily consumption schedule, not fully allowing your body to heal itself. Tricky. Be your own investigator when it comes to health and wellness. If a grain were just a grain, it might be another story but our grain heavy foods are also filled with sodium and sugar.
A thoughtful, controlled diet of fresh foods, natural sugars and protein can prevent Type II Diabetes. In turn, it can control your Diabetes diagnosis and its complications like high cholesterol and blood pressure. I’m sure it benefits our drug companies to keep you sick and on (multiple) drugs for these diseases, as well as the life threatening side effects of the drugs your doctor prescribes so readily, what would they do if we were healthy? It’s also an easier choice for many folks to throw a pill down with a glass of juice (see the irony?) then do the hard work and planning of permanent dietary change while surrounded by breads, pastas, donuts, crackers, pretzels and the like at every celebratory breakfast, lunch and dinner. I’m not saying it’s easy, I’m saying it’s CONTROLLABLE. Every snack, every meal, is an opportunity to choose health.
Now let’s briefly touch on the newest diagnoses to hit the American public: Celiac Disease and Gluten Intolerance. Celiac effects more than 3 million Americans, many of whom deal with the symptoms like Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) through medication and perseverance. Did you know controlling your diet and limiting it to protein and plants will allow you to live pain-free, symptom free and make you healthier all around? I bet you did, so what’s stopping you? Could it be all the “Gluten Free” options we now have in the grocery store?
Take a walk through the ‘healthy food’ aisles and find gluten-free cookies, pasts, breads, cereal, snacks, junk, crap – anything you’d normally eat, just minus the gluten. Do you see the flawed logic there? No change, no gain. There may in fact be a bit less sodium or sugar, but you’re still eating highly processed food when you could opt for food that is grown naturally without gluten, now THAT would make for a healthier body, mind and future. There is a reason our bodies are rejecting these items so why look for a substitute that is almost identical?
It makes me think of things like “fat-free” food. Imagine what that ‘food’ went through to have the fat taken out… YUCK. Did you know processed milk actually turns blue when all the good fat and nutrition is taken out of it? It is then dyed white to make it appealing to the consumer. I won’t both mentioning the irradiated hydrogenated vegetable oil that is added back, after all the good stuff is lost in this process, which is allowed by the FDA to be called Vitamin D, even though it’s not. Gross. In fact, there are so many things wrong with the average gallon of milk, it makes me angry – does your child have ear infections? Has your doctor mentioned tubes? Try cutting milk from their diet first.
When living with Celiac or Gluten Intolerance, as with all diets, moderation is key. Sure, there are recipes available for the occasional cupcake or banana bread that are gluten-free, but your body is craving a natural diet. A diet full of vegetables and protein with healthy fats. Listen to your body or your disease will take over through weakened organs or the appearance of cancers. Serious business.
I understand the desire for your favorite foods, I cave occasionally as well, but think about that: I will never give up (insert favorite food) even it if will save my life. Nonsensical. Think of it as an experiment, I’m sure our government does based on their recommendations and our current health status as a country, and make some changes. Decide to eat REAL food: food that is grown naturally without a lot of fuss or chemicals; single ingredient foods that come from the earth; food that is naturally void of sugar or gluten; and you will find health. It is your choice and no one can make that choice for you.
If the current trends in food consumption continue, 1 in 3 Americans will have Diabetes by 2050. I will be 70 years old, my children will be in their 40s. Think about that: 1 in 3 Americans will be CHOOSING sugar laden, highly processed, carbohydrate dense foods over their health. Will you be one of them?