Part One: INTRODUCTION
Are you one of the millions of people battling to find an eating plan that works? Do you want more energy? Are you frequently falling ill, or generally just not feeling your best, despite supposed healthy eating? Have you been diagnosed with a lifestyle-related disease and want an alternative to toxic prescribed pharmaceuticals? Then I believe I may have a solution for you. It isn’t difficult, or out of reach. Nor does it require embarking on another pointless “diet”, another trendy health regimen, or a drastic surgery procedure.
It’s about getting back to basics, about remembering the things our grandmothers and teachers taught us; eating the way Nature intended. It’s the most intuitive method of looking after the body, and it’s not boring or tedious! It’s also about taking a step back, looking at the big picture, and identifying the hidden dangers in so many of the modern-day foods that are taking a toll on the health of the global population.
Over the last 50 years, we have veered off path when it comes to good nutrition. The ever-expanding reach of corporate fast-food chains, pressures to feed a rapidly growing population, high-paced, demanding lifestyles, and the global recession, to name but a few – have all served to force people into eating whatever fast, cheap food is available. We have never seen such a surge of lifestyle-related health issues as we have today. Over the past three generations, it has become pretty acceptable that someone we know may have diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, depression, or even cancer. It is also pretty fair to say that we all know quite a few people who are overweight, obese, or generally struggling with their weight in some way. And we most certainly know of people who struggle with overeating, a food addiction, or comfort eating in some form. For a lot of us, that person is ourselves, and it can be a vicious cycle.
We were all born with the instinct to eat the foods our bodies require for optimum nutrition, but we mostly ignore these impulses, eating instead for reasons that have little to do with hunger. It doesn’t help that supermarkets are flooded with clever marketing from large corporate chains that are in business to profit, having little or no concern for the health of the consumer. Brands are created to make money, and clever advertising, vague labeling and trendy buzzwords such as “All Natural”, “Nature Fresh”, etc, lull the consumer into thinking the product is something it is not.
In an age of digital technology, smart phones; HDTV’s and drive-through wedding chapels, waiting for anything is considered passé. We shop online and expect next-day delivery. We order dinner by delivery and balk at a 45-minute wait. We start a diet and expect to change in two weeks the damage it took a decade to create. But nothing is quite as prone to rushed preparation, as our food.
Fast-food restaurants now dominate the market, microwavable meals are considered normal, and “instant” packaged foods take up at least 80% of our supermarket shelves. Food is processed, refined, canned, boiled, pickled, bottled, and manufactured in such a way as to “appeal” to the modern palate, meaning any nutritional benefits are greatly reduced, if not completely absent. Food manufacturers and supermarkets are in business to make a profit – building massive, warehouse-type stores with hundreds of shelves that need filling with foods with a long shelf-life; meaning our food is preserved with numerous chemicals, additives, fats, salts, and sugars.
And most troubling of all?
Most of these “additions” largely go unnoticed by most of us who eat these foods without a second thought.
Despite our rapid advancements in medicine, and our ever-increasing awareness of good health, we have never before seen such a surge of “lifestyle-related”, diseases as we have in the past 50 years. Cancer, heart-disease, type 2 diabetes, arthritis, obesity, high blood pressure, and depression are now all-too common. We also have a plethora of energy bars, energy “shots” and “gels”, yet we don’t seem to have more energy, in fact, we have less than ever. In our age most people work themselves to death, demanding more and more from their bodies, experience more stress and sleep less than any previous generation. Yet we are eating even less nutritious food than our ancestors who didn’t place even half the demands on their bodies that we do on ours.
Most people would probably imagine that medicine is the answer to modern-day illnesses, but most wouldn’t give a second thought to what could have prevented them. Too easily we find ourselves at the doctor’s office, expecting answers to our health problems; we go home and take a magic pill that we expect will make us better. But little do we realize how preventable so many of these illnesses are, nor do we give ourselves credit as to how much power we have as individuals to avoid falling victim to them.
For decades we have been lulled into the belief that cutting down on portion sizes and eating low-calorie, fat-free diet foods, have been the answer to our health woes. Yet obesity is rising at an alarming rate, with most people who “diet” reporting that they can never truly find an eating plan that works, thus falling into the inevitable cycle of losing and gaining weight, seemingly without end.
What if I were to tell you that calorie-counting, eating fat-free foods, living on small portions and eating proprietary diet foods could actually be contributing to weight-gain and obesity? If this shocks you, please continue reading. You will be surprised at what you learn……..
I’m not going to blind you with science and inundate you with pages of scientific data from laboratories and universities, nor am I going to wave a plethora of qualifications under your nose to prove my knowledge. For what it’s worth, I have no formal degree in Health or Nutrition. I am what you call self-educated, well-traveled, and curious. I am also concerned for my own health and well-being and love good, healthy, food. That’s about it. I have spent 25 years researching this subject, and almost as long living it. All the knowledge I have I found in books, online articles, newspapers, textbooks, documentaries, and most importantly of all – self experimentation.
I have never been afraid to try different eating plans on myself, to gauge how I look and feel throughout the process. I have also come to really listen to my body, listening to what it really needed, not just what I wanted. I believe our bodies will never steer us in the wrong direction if we really listen to ourselves and our needs.
So many people are perplexed as to why they gain weight. Let’s think for a minute about our bodies. Our digestive systems are designed to digest, assimilate, and eliminate mostly natural, water-based foods, as our bodies are made up of 70% water. Water-based foods are fruits and vegetables, which should make up 60% -70% of our diet. The remaining 30% should be concentrated foods such as animal proteins, grains, diary, etc.
The body cannot process the amount of concentrated foods so prevalent in the modern diet – at least not the amount that we eat on a daily basis. It creates havoc for the digestive tract, which is simply not designed to deal with the overload of stodgy, processed foods of which so much of our food supply is made up of, to say nothing of the added chemicals.
If these foods are eaten day in and day out, the body is constantly in catch-up mode, slowing the metabolism, clogging the colon and ultimately leading to disease or early death. We don’t need more advanced prescription drugs. We simply need to get back to eating properly – the way Nature intended.
I believe it is the birthright of every man, woman, and child on planet Earth to have access to natural, chemical-free, nutritious, food. Yet here we are in the 21st century and most people fight for these rights due to poverty, lack of knowledge, limited access, or misinformation.
Weight-gain, obesity, over-eating, and food cravings are now more to do with what’s in modern-day food rather than an individual’s willpower or self-control. In other words, we can now stop putting the blame solely on ourselves, because most modern-day food is chemically altered and genetically engineered, making it as addictive as a drug.
We all have the power to change our eating habits; we just have to arm ourselves with knowledge. Forget fad diets, portion control, gastric bands, over-exercising, bingeing and purging, calorie counting and self-denial. Those are all symptoms of a chemically-saturated food chain which is so far removed from Nature that it may as well come from another planet. What we need to do is get back to basics, back to eating the way the human body was designed to eat. Arming oneself with the knowledge to become a better consumer, and to nourish the body more effectively are two of the most powerful steps one can take toward health and longevity. My intention is that once you have read this series of articles, you will be in a position to implement these tools immediately and effectively.
By bringing awareness to, and addressing these various topics I have brought to light in this series, I hope I can shed some light on healthy eating, debunk some diet myths, and set my readers on to a new path of health and wellness. Based around my nutritional talks that I offer at the detox resort in Thailand, where I am currently located, I believe they will add much value to all who read them.
I hope you find them useful, educational, and life-changing.
TO BE CONTINUED………………….