You are what you eat, America

Aguacate / Avocado

Aguacate / Avocado (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I was off on my way to church this morning, when another truth struck me like a ton of bricks.  Saturday, I felt so bad that I spent most of the day in bed.  I attributed it to my body finally shutting down from the stress of the election.  This morning, I wanted to get down to the local Planet Fitness and get my ride on the stationary bike before getting off the church, per my usual schedule, which hasn’t been followed recently.  I didn’t have time for anything but an herbal energy drink.  An hour later, I was on my way to church, feeling physically better than I have in weeks.

It’s called detox, America.  It’s something that we put alcohol and drug addicts through, and then we poo-poo their complaints about how hard it is.  Yet, the fact is that most of us need detox, but we are afraid to admit it.  As I have said before, all food is a drug.  Everything that we consume is chemicals.  These chemicals, be they carbohydrates or fats, acids or bases, sweet sour or salty, interact with other chemicals in our bodies to provide fuel for the muscles that drive our bodies and for the brain that is our computer.  And, just like sugar in the fuel tank of a car, bad fuel results in bad function.

Most addiction to illicit drugs, pharmaceutical drugs and alcohol are a result of bad nutrition. Most addictions to bad food are the result of the same.  The more we eat food that is nutritionally unbalanced, the more this sets up a craving  to eat more to obtain the missing nutrients.  But, also, the bad foods have chemicals of their own that mimic the nutrients that we should have, and thus we crave more bad food.  Maybe this isn’t so bad once or twice.  But what happens if we follow this cycle for twenty years or more?  And what happens when we combine this with fast food commercials.  You might not want to think about it, cuz it ain’t pretty.

Read a fascinating book some time ago called Beyond the Zone.  It was a little play on words, because the Zone Diet was popular at the time.  What the book highlights is that most diet plans fail because they only consider part of the problem and don’t get down to the big picture of chemical reactions in the body.   Sure, you can lose weight for awhile on a high-carbohydrate diet, because the body can’t process carbs very well, so you just eliminate them.  But over time, the body triggers insulin to store all the carbohydrate as fat, since you aren’t eating any, and the body needs fat more than carbohydrates.  In the end, you become fatter by skipping the fat.

In the same way, although you can live perfectly fine on fat and protein, you can’t just eat any fat you want.  Then you’ll have a heart attack.  You have to eat the right kinds of fats, known as fatty acids.  Some of them are called Omega’s.  These acids control all kinds of hormone balance in the body.  They also protect your circulatory system from damage that can cause plaque build-up.  All this time you’ve been thinking that cholesterol is bad for you.  The truth is that it’s only bad for you when your veins or arteries get so damaged that the cholesterol, the vasculars system’s repairmen, have to close a vein down completely for repairs.  Then your blood freeways are blocked, and you have serious trouble.

Today, I’m back on my detoxifying food regimen, which includes an avocado a day.  You may have heard that an apple a day keeps the doctor away, but apples are really loaded with toxins these days.  Avocados, on the other hand, provide a lot of good fats to the body.  An avocado a day can lower your cholesterol by 30 points.  Not only does it lower your cholesterol, it more importantly prevents it from sticking where it shouldn’t.

English: Monosodium glutamate in a bag. Svensk...

English: Monosodium glutamate in a bag. Svenska: Natriumglutamat i en påse. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Everyone knows that cigarette companies put chemicals into their products that make them more addictive.  Do you think they are alone?  The goal of every vendor of pre-packaged food is to get you to eat more of their brand.  Do you think they only do that with advertising?  Chemical additives in food, such as MSG, provide the little “go” codes to demand that you eat more of them.  When the commercial comes on (usually around meal times or midnight), they trigger those go codes.  Mono-sodium Glutamate, and other such types of chemical additives, are known as excitotoxins.   They are, in other words, toxins, poisons, that excite your appetite for more.   They don’t sound too different from heroin and cocaine, do they?

When I was a young man, I was on a high, high carbohydrate diet.  I slammed a pound (uncooked) of spaghetti (2200 calories), and large jar of marinara (500 c.) and about a gallon of orange juice (1500 c) on an average day,  plus about four normal serving of serial (800 c) for breakfast.  That’s about 5000 calories a day, mostly carbohydrates.  And I was actually losing weight on that diet.  In fact, in my adult life, I have never been as skinny or felt as good as I did on this diet.  I also ate a lot of peanut butter and meat.  Fifteen years later, this diet almost killed me.

When I was 25, I was racing bicycles.  Fifteen years later, not so much.  So, I didn’t need to be daily propping my 70 mile-a-day need for instant fuel.  Also, the orange juice, very high in sugar, had been replaced by soda, very high in sugar and also very high in phosphoric acid.  The high carbs was causing my insulin to store a lot of fat, while the acids were overwhelming my system’s ability to deal with them.  When the gird got so bad that I was incapacitated for hours a day, and I was sure I would need surgery, a friend suggested I try an alkalizing diet.  So I switched to a diet high in greens and low in carbs.  Six months later I was essentially cured.

The point is not that everyone should live on broccoli and avocados, as I often do.  The point is that we are daily bombarded with poisons and toxins in our foods.  These toxins are probably related to the epidemics of ADD and ADHD children, and they probably explain a lot of the increase in violence and aggressive behavior in general.  But, when we are young, we are not likely to see manifestation to our health that we would readily associate with poisoning (outside of tooth decay).  As we age, though, and our health is more and more compromised, the pizza, beer, brats, bagels, chili fries and all manor of junk food that we once ate with abandon become more likely to trigger serious health issues.

Monosodium-glutamate

Monosodium-glutamate (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As I see it, one of the main problems with health care today is that we fail to see the damage that our diets are doing to us, and, when there is a problem, we want medicine to have a pill or a procedure for that.  But the problem is that medical miracle drugs have insulated us from the reality of how to really fix our problems.  I would liken it to someone who picks a whole in his leg and then asks for a bandage to cover the wound.   The idea is to cover the wound so it heals, and then for the person to stop picking his leg.  Instead, he continues to pick his leg every day, and each day he then asks for a bigger bandage!  The real answer is to STOP PICKING THE WOUND!

It’s sad that there are so many physicians out there who don’t stress prevention enough to their patients.  Prescriptions are good for treating symptoms, but they don’t do much to fix the underlying causes.  But I’m not here to say that we should ban all soda machines in school.  Otherwise, soda becomes like an illicit drug, which means that students will be quick to find it elsewhere.  At the same time, I don’t want to have to pay for someone else’s pre-existing condition that was brought about by poor food choices!  If you have severe type II diabetes because you couldn’t put down the pie plate for twenty years, then I shouldn’t have to pay to support your habit.  I would be glad to pay, though, to see you in food rehab.

I know that many, or most, of Americans see the Affordable Care Act as a major headache for the medical industry.  We hear about long lines, long waits, and denial of certain procedures.  But, Obamacare was nothing more than a reaction to a system that is out of control.  Usually, when a system is abused and pushed to the brink of disaster, the finger of blame that points at the government or some other entity leaves three fingers pointing back at us.  In this day and age of multimedia and information overload, there is no defensible argument for ignorance.  The truth about just about everything is as close as Google or Bing or Siri.   Yes, you have to filter through a lot of stuff.  But, God gave you a brain, and even gave some of you common sense.  When you don’t feel well, maybe the first thing you should do is evaluate your own lifestyle and trace your problem back to where it began.  Then, for starters, your could try doing something else, or just stop what you did, and see if that works.  If it works, then go with that.  The day your sitting in the ER after a cardiac episode contemplating quintuple bypass is not the best day to consider whether you should add an avocado to your diet.

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2 Comments

Filed under On Family, Health, Environment and Ethics

2 responses to “You are what you eat, America

  1. two root beer floats tonight. Ugg. Me bad at practicing what I preach. Going to have nice bowl of steam broccoli before bed.

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