As trite as it sounds, I believe that everything happens for a reason, and this belief is what has helped me make sense of the struggles I’ve experienced in my life. It’s easier to get through the tough stuff when you realize time will crystalize the message that was given to you, and make the experience meaningful and even life changing. And now, through a series of seemingly unrelated circumstances, I understand that I have the opportunity to make a difference by sharing what I have learned with others. In the past 40+ years I have learned a lot about myself and have formed some strong opinions about diet, food and exercise that may help others find comfort and peace in their lives.
I believe the world would be a better place if…
healthy looking women would appear on TV, in the movies, and in magazines. We are bombarded with images of females who have bodies that are unattainable, or at the very least unsustainable by most of us. I find it disheartening to watch actresses dwindle away as they gain popularity. Throw in the magazine industry’s penchant for photoshopping and airbrushing, and we have highly distorted expectations of what women should look like. It’s hard not to compare our bodies to what we see, and for some, the consequences challenge our health.
people didn’t “diet”. Diets don’t work, and that’s precisely the reason the diet industry is making money. According to the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, only 2% of the dieters who lose weight are able to maintain their weight loss. Most end up gaining more than they lost. Losing weight is easy in comparison to keeping it off. Most diets are unrealistic long term. If there were a diet that worked long term, that would be the only diet in existence. I find it so alarming that people are even willing to pop a little pill, full of side effects and unknown long term health effects in order to achieve weight loss goals. Diets don’t work.
people invested in their long term health, rather than in short term solutions. Adopting a diet based on the consumption of real, nutrient dense foods, like fruits, vegetables, legumes, grains, nuts and seeds, is the best prevention against illness and disease. Unfortunately, when people get sick, and go to the doctor, they are prescribed medications which veil the symptoms, but do little to address the cause. Doctors receive very little nutritional training while in school, so a healthy, nutrient rich diet is rarely the prescription handed out. We should be concerned that physicians are paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to serve on the boards of pharmaceutical companies, potentially creating a huge conflict of interest, as it may be easier for them to hand out a pill than address the cause of the illness.
people educated themselves about the food they eat in order to make responsible decisions regarding their health. Ingredient labels contain a wealth of information. Many ingredients in processed foods are not only unpronounceable, and unrecognizable as food, but detrimental to our health. We blindly believe that any food item we buy is safe, yet nothing could be further from the truth. Real food provides the body with not only the macronutrients (fats, proteins, and carbohydrates) it needs to live, but the micronutrients (vitamins, minerals and phyto chemicals) it needs to thrive. Most people don’t even think about what is in the food they eat or the effects the additives have on their body. Eating whole foods ensures that you are providing your body with the nutrition it needs.
people became aware of the complicated relationships that exist between the government and America’s food industry. Each influences the other, and the common factors are money and power, not your health. Everybody has a special interest group standing behind them. The USDA’s dietary guidelines are influenced by lobbyists of the dairy council, and the beef, egg and poultry industries. We don’t even question the guidelines set, because we believe that our best interests are being looked out for. Unfortunately, we fail to understand the impact the special interest groups have. It is vital to do your own research and be aware of the conflict of interests that not only exist, but are more prevalent than one could ever imagine.
people felt empowered to make a difference. Understanding where our food comes from, and how it is produced, is essential in making decisions about the food we choose to eat. By focusing on the consumption of plant based foods, we are investing in not only our own health, but the health of our planet by reducing our carbon footprint.
I understand that we are all in different places in our lives, and change happens when we are ready to confront what is not working. Everybody is different. Listen to your body. Understand how eating whole foods, that are plant based can effect your wellbeing and impact the world. You can make a difference too.