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Introduction to Healthy Eating
From all the research I have done since 2005, I am convinced that a large portion of America's, and indeed the world's, health crisis originates from what we eat - and what we don't eat.
The belief you are what you eat is very true. But Jordan Rubin, CEO of Beyond Organic and New York Time's bestselling author, took it a step further - you are what they eat.
That statement is true, and further drives home the point. Our meat, eggs, and dairy products are only as healthy as the food the animal eats. The animals that are sources for your typical supermarket meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy products are all fed pesticide and herbicide-laced grain, hormones, dead animals (such as road kill) , antibiotics, and other things that would make you throw up.
The health crisis caused by these foods result in the rapid increase in obesity, diabetes, heart disease, various cancers, and other chronic diseases - the complete opposite of what healthy eating would do for you and your family.
Let's take cancer for example. I remember back in the early 1970s I only knew one person who was diagnosed with the disease. Today I can name many acquaintances, family members, and friends who have died from or have been diagnosed with cancer.
According to statistics, cancer afflicts every one in two men and every one in three women in the United States! In 2007, cancer was the leading cause of death among children aged one to fourteen.
And because former President Nixon's war on cancer has been a dismal failure, cancer rates among all age groups are steadily on the rise.
Cancer developed in just 1 out of every 100 people a hundred years ago.
Healthy eating was even declining steadily since before my growing up period in the '50s and early '60s. And according to the Department of Agriculture, vitamin and mineral levels in produce have plunged 81 percent over the course of the last 30 years.
To illustrate, did you know that to equal the nutrient punch of 1 apple eaten in 1914, you would need to eat 26 today?
American soil today is nutrient depleted. This is a man-made disaster in big food corporations' blind quest for market dominance and profit.
Chemical fertilizers and genetically modified seed have stripped the soil of the nutrients needed for healthy eating. And to compound this situation, Americans are eating less than optimal amounts of fruit and vegetables which are required for a healthy lifestyle free of disease.
Healthy eating when I was growing up in the late '50s and early '60s was much easier than it is today. The reason is that back then there were no genetically modified organisms, high fructose corn syrup, aspartame (also known as NutraSweet,) hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated oil (trans fat,) concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFO,) and the use of monosodium glutamate was not as widespread as it was later to become.
This is not to say that back in the day there were no foods that posed a health threat because there were. White rice and bread were plentiful, and the use of margarine (a trans fat) was becoming popular. But they were nowhere near the levels that are being eaten today.
Unhealthy eating is driving the global obesity and diabetes epidemics. Studies have shown that obesity multiplies the risk for chronic disease such as cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer's, high blood pressure, and sleep apnea - among others.
To see the impact of obesity on our society you need not look any further than television. A couple of years ago I caught several 1970's Soul Train programs.
I was astounded by the appearance of the young dancers. They were all slim and 'smallish.' In other words, they all possessed healthy bodyweights.
In comparison, today's youth are much bigger. Even infants suffer from obesity - unheard of back in the 1950s and 1960s.
The obesity crisis is caused by the literal explosion of fast food restaurants, fruit drinks, juices and sports drinks, vegetable oils, and grain.
Food corporations have cleverly marketed these health disasters to consumers who are on average uneducated - as I once was - as to how destructive these foods are.
Today, 65 percent of Americans are overweight while 27 percent are clinically obese. If this trend continues, four years from now, 2015, 75 percent will be overweight and 41 percent will be obese!
Getting On Track to Healthy Eating
However, there is light at the end of the tunnel. You can put a healthy eating routine in place gradually. There needn't be any shock to your eating pattern.
Here is what needs to be done to get on track to healthy eating. These steps are in no particular order, but all are important.
Let's take a detailed look at each point, and explain its importance to healthy eating:
Reduce consumption of grain products for healthy eating. Americans are literally overdosing on grains and sugar - baked goods, rice, pastas, cereals, soft drinks, and corn - to name a few.
Grains are carbohydrates which trigger the release of insulin when digested. Insulin is a hormone which drives blood sugar (glucose) into your body's cells. It's primary purpose however is to store nutrients. Insulin also prevents fat from being burned.
Once your muscles and liver store all the glycogen they can, the blood sugar from your bowl of Wheaties or Froot Loops will be stored as fat.
The effects of brown rice or pasta or that 100% stone ground whole wheat bread is the same as eating simple carbs like fruit juice, pastries, or white rice - an insulin surge. And because Americans are consuming far too many grains, most of the blood sugar will be stored as fat.
Grains are predominantly omega-6 fatty acid based. But God built our bodies to have a healthy balance of omega-6/omega-3 fatty acids. And since the American diet is grain-based, the balance is tipped in omega-6's favor.
This unnatural balance generates inflammation which is at the root of chronic disease such as cancer and heart disease.
The ideal balance or ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 is anywhere from 4:1 to 1:1. But America's ratio can reach upwards of 50:1!
The surplus of omega-6 fatty acids feed your fat storage cells.
Vegetable oil is another source of unbalanced omega-6/omega-3 fatty acids. The great surge of America's vegetable oil and margarine consumption began in the 1980s when the government targeted saturated fat as the culprit of heart disease.
This era started the low-fat to non-fat marketing and media blitz. Saturated fat in the form of butter and red meat were unjustly condemned by the medical community.
The first commercially available vegetable oil offered to the American consumer was Crisco in 1960. But saturated fat was not yet made the scapegoat for soaring heart disease rates. That happened, as I pointed out earlier, in the 1980s.
I remember seeing actress Florance Henderson promote Wesson vegetable oil on television commercials starting in 1976. Since then, many other vegetable oils were marketed.
Science has since vindicated saturated fat. It was man-made trans fatty acids that were actually responsible for America's escalating heart disease rates.
Substitute organic, extra-virgin coconut oil for vegetable oils in cooking. Its nutrients will not be destroyed by high cooking temperatures.
Although coconut oil is composed of saturated fat, it will not make you fat. Cattle ranchers in the 1940s looking to fatten up their cattle fed them this oil. They were soon disappointed because the cattle remained lean and fit.
Coconut oil contains medium-chain fatty acids or triglycerides. Medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) are burned as fuel by the body instead of being stored as fat. This oil contains only six calories per gram compared to the normal nine.
The majority of carbohydrate intake should be from vegetables - not grains. Americans are severely lacking in daily vegetable servings. Substitute vegetables like Brussel sprouts, spinach, broccoli, collard and mustard greens.
Most people don't know that corn is not a vegetable, but a grain. Corn, along with white potatoes, should be eliminated, or at least greatly reduced, from the diet. (The majority of corn is genetically modified.)
Replace white potatoes with sweet potates or yams. They are a much healthier food choice.
Sweet potatoes contain more fiber than a bowl of oatmeal, more vitamin A than a cup of carrots, and more potassium than a banana.
Replacing a large part of grain intake with organic vegetables will go a long way towards ensuring healthy eating.
Are you a huge cereal eater like I was? What law says that you have to eat cereal or a Duncan Donut for breakfast? Why can't you eat a grass-fed, organic steak or hamburger instead?
Some days my breakfast consists of a whey protein shake (from grass-fed cows of course) and a couple of raw eggs. Okay - you don't need to add the raw eggs. I might add a handful of raw nuts such as cashews or almonds or a piece of fruit to go with the shake.
And to answer your question, I don't miss the cereal.
Substitute the actual fruit for fruit juices and drinks for healthy eating. The only exception is if you freshly squeeze the fruit yourself.
When data from a government study was examined, it was discovered that almost 25 percent of Americans get their calories from drinking commerical products. These products comprise mainly soft drinks (diet and regular soda.)
According to one statistic, Americans drink 49.78 billion liters of soda annually (that translates to 12.83 billion gallons!)
One health problem with all commercially available fruit juices (even 100% fruit juice) and drinks is that they are pastuerized. This high heat process destroys almost all beneficial nutrients.
Fruit fiber is sacrificed in the juicing process too. What you are left with is flavored water with concentrated fructose (a sugar) content.
Like grains, the fructose results in a rapid surge of insulin because the juice lacks the fiber to moderate the insulin response.
Even though fructose is a natural sugar, it is isolated from the fruit and it is in addition to all the other sugar sources in the typical American diet. Exploding waistlines are the result.
All soft drinks, including all diet sodas, and sports drinks are nothing more than liquid candy. Eliminate them from your diet. Drink more water.
Soda manufacturers heavily promote diet soda as an alternative to regular soda for dieters. This is a marketing ploy which has no basis in fact.
Numerous studies have shown that diet sodas are worse than regular soda in contributing to weight gain. Rather than contributing to a healthy lifestyle, all sodas and other high sugar drinks lead to obesity.
One of the most dangerous artificial sweeteners is high fructose corn syrup. Your body processes it differently than any other sugar - even table sugar.
High fructose corn syrup disrupts hormones responsible for hunger and a feeling of fulness, resulting in fat storage and over eating.
Other artificial sweeteners in many sports drinks, fruit drinks, and sodas (including diet) are aspartame and sucralose (Splenda.)
Substitute USDA Organically certified meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy for healthy eating. America's meat and dairy industries remove cows, chickens, turkeys, and pigs from their natural, God created setting and cram them into sunless and cramped quarters. They can barely move, and they stand in their own filth.
This is the modern factory farm system also known as CAFO (concentrated animal feeding operations.) Animals are treated like they were inanimate products on a factory assembly line.
Driven by the love of money, the meat and dairy industries employ this method to process cows, chickens, turkeys, and pigs at minimum cost. The method follows the pattern of the modern day factory, and employs assembly line techniques. Hence the name, factory farming.
Prior to 1950, all cattle had the luxury of grazing in the open. By the early 1970s, this practice was a thing of the past.
Studies have shown that grass-fed beef is more nutritious than factory-farmed, grain-fed beef. Grass-fed beef is higher in:
Grass-fed beef is lower in inflammation producing omega-6 fatty acid and saturated fat.
Almost all studies which show that eating red meat contributes to heart disease are based on meat from factory-farmed animals. I don't believe that any unbiased study on grass-fed meat will find that it causes heart disease or any other chronic disease.
How can it? When natural methods created by God are followed, only good health (not to mention taste) is the result.
When I began bodybuilding, I swallowed the prevailing dogma that fat made you fat. Eat only egg whites and throw away the yolk they said. Stay away from whole milk and use skim or 2 percent only. Replace butter with margarine and stop eating red meat.
Well Americans like myself did that, but instead of heart disease and weight gain declining, they increased. Studies have conclusively found that it wasn't the fat that was plaguing Americans, it was carbohydrates!
Egg yolks contain most of the nutrients and fat that your body needs. Just make certain that they come from free-range chickens. They may be hard to find though.
In that case, start with USDA Organic certified eggs. Shoprite sells these.
If you are a milk drinker, stay away from pasteurized milk. Try to find a source of raw milk.
Throw that margarine in the trash. Use 100 percent butter instead. Again, make certain that the butter comes from grass-fed cows.
Saturated fat is not bad - your body needs it. Just be certain that it comes from dairy and meat that was grass-fed and raised organically.
Substitute natural sweeteners for healthy eating. In an effort to alledgely control weight, artificial sweeteners - sugar alternatives - are used. Whereas sugar began as a natural substance (subsequent processing removes all health benefits), artificial sweeteners have their birth in a chemical laboratory and are therefore unnatural.
Rather than helping consumers lose weight, these sweeteners are not only contributing to accelerating obesity rates, they have been implicated in serious medical problems. It has been estimated that Americans consume over 20 pounds of sweeteners per year! In 1986 The American Cancer Society documented that people who use artificial sweeteners gain more weight than those who don't use them.
Some of more commonly used artificial sweeteners are saccharin, aspartame, sucralose (Splenda,) and high fructose corn sugar. Animal studies reveal that the sweeteners caused various cancers, stomach bloating and cramps, as well as obesity.
I recommend using stevia, Lo Han, organic cane sugar, organic maple syrup, coconut sap sugar, or raw, unheated honey instead. Artificial sweeteners have no place in a healthy eating plan.
Putting In Place a Workable Plan For Healthy Eating
As I alluded to earlier, it is not necessary, or even practical, to make a change all at once. Take one step at a time. And there is no time schedule by which it is necessary to make a complete changeover - just as long as you eventually do make it.
You can begin the healthy eating changeover for you and your family by removing grains and vegetable oils from your diet. Make certain that you have a healthy substitute in place when you do. Never take away suspect foods and not replace them with healthy alternatives.
Take at least a month to implement each part of the healthy eating plan. Month one you gradually stop eating grains and using vegetable oils. You also need to stop stocking your pantry and refrigerator with pastries, low-fat products like mayonnaise, and snack foods (potato chips, pretzels, crackers, etc.).
Pastries and snack and packaged foods are loaded with sweeteners and vegetable oils.
Month two you can concentrate on eliminating fruit juices and drinks in the goal to healthy eating. Buy farm fresh or organically-raised fruit instead.
Finish the family conversion in months three and four. You should have plenty of time to work out any kinks and find the food alternatives that work for you.
This is not a carved in stone plan by any means; if you need two months instead of one, take it. The important thing is that you make the change to healthy eating.
Summing Up Healthy Eating
Healthy eating has to be a conscious decision and a lifestyle. Choosing it for yourself and your family can save a lifetime of needless suffering and financial ruin.
Don't wait for the government to put its seal of approval on the foods that I recommend for healthy eating because the partnership between it and the meat and dairy industries, along with the processed food manufacturers, is too strong.
Information is empowerment which is the reason for this topic. Naturally, the food processing and manufacturing industries would love to have you the consumer remain in the dark concerning their products. Knowledge will negatively affect the bottom line.
What is eaten on a daily basis will manifest itself either in good health (healthy eating) or poor health (unhealthy eating.)
Does this mean that you can't ever have a bag of potato chips or those hard to resist French fries. Not by any means. You can put a "cheat" day in place.
The point is - when the food changeover is a lifestyle and mindset change - it will be permanent. You will be able to control what and when you eat and not the other way around.Healthy living > Eating