“Sixty-eight percent of Americans found to be overweight or obese” (Business & Health), “Nearly 4 in 10 are clinically obese in some states…” (Mail Online), “Obesity is common, serious and costly” (CDC); these are just a few of the headlines that dominate American news today.
What has happened in America? Have we become lazy? Have we become apathetic? Do we lack understanding about proper nutrition? Do we eat to many processed “foods”? Are we in denial? A big resounding YES, to all of those questions! Do we care?
Dictionary.com defines apathy as having or showing little or no emotion. Also, not interested or concerned, indifferent or unresponsive. Has the “fat acceptance” movement allowed us to look the other way as to not offend anyone? As a true believer about people being all shapes and sizes, at what point do we put our foot down and say enough is enough?
The larger concern is the increase in heart disease risk, cancer, hypertension, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, polycystic ovary syndrome and thyroid problems that are related to overweight and obesity.
A recent survey revealed that Americans are in denial and that despite the surging prevalence of obesity, only 1 out of 10 Americans think that their diet is unhealthy. What is a healthy diet?
First, Americans need to have a better idea of what portion sizes look like. If we should be consuming 5-9 servings of fruits and vegetables daily, what does that look like? When you serve the vegetables next to your rice or potatoes, is the vegetable serving larger or smaller than the grain? We tend to serve ourselves a smaller portion of vegetable and a larger portion of grains. A good way to estimate a serving is by using your own fist, about a cup. However, ½ cup is typically a serving for grains. So, if you have a cup of rice, you are having 2 servings.
We also need to stop eating highly processed foods and soda; limit eating out and consuming “shelf stable” prepackaged food, and eliminate fast food. The majority of these foods are completely devoid of nutrients, high in fat and sodium, contain fillers and flavor enhancers and makes us feel bad. To make a food shelf stable, the food industry has to remove all the wonderful living enzymes so that the food won’t spoil. This process turns these living foods into dead foods. They also have to add sodium and other flavor enhancers so that we think it tastes good. When in fact, without all of those additives, the food item would taste horrible. Once these dead foods enter our body our digestive system isn’t quite sure how to metabolize it. So, it sits in our stomach for days, causing a stomachache, heartburn or other ailments which can all lead to weight gain.
So, what should Americans be eating? Real food! Fresh fruits and vegetables, organic and grass fed meats and poultry, whole grains, free range eggs, coconut oil and unheated olive oil. The fresher, the better! Our bodies are designed to be fueled by real food. I truly believe one of the reasons obesity has become an epidemic is because we have moved away from consuming real food. So, let’s hear it for increasing our consumption of real, unadulterated food in America!