More than once in my life I have had a customer behind me in line at the grocery store or cashier comment on my shopping cart full of produce:
“Is that all you are buying? Really, like, that’s all you are going to eat? How?”
“How do you eat with just that stuff?”
“Honey, you’re too thin to be on a diet.”
I always answer as kindly and honestly as I can:
“I really actually just like to eat this way!”
“I’ve just done it for so long that it’s become pretty easy!”
“This isn’t actually a diet, it’s just the way my family always eats.”
What is interesting is that the way that we eat isn’t weird in most other cultures.
If we wanna point the finger at “weird” it would have to be the way that most Americans eat, and really only recently. Our diet has changed more in the last 40 years than in the last 4,000, and we have obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and a host of other preventable diseases rising at alarming rates to show for it.
Of all of the charts and graphs listing the healthiest countries in the world, we aren’t even on the map. And we spend the MOST on healthcare.
And please understand me, I’m not all down on America. I love my country, that’s why I’m so passionate about this! Because we’ve got it really, really wrong here. So many of us are chronically ill and have no idea why.
Did you know that the first documented case of a heart attack didn’t occur until the late 1800’s? So much for that “butter and fat causing heart disease” theory! More on this soon…
Not until the invention of fast, convenient, packaged, processed, and “diet” foods did our country begin struggling with so many horrible illnesses. Sure, people used to die from injury and disease for reasons that we do not now. But it’s only been in recent decades that so, so many americans are suffering from illnesses that are completely preventable.
It is not uncommon to be going through treatment for a reversible disease like Type 2 Diabetes, High Blood Pressure, or Congestive Heart Failure and never be given a guide to “real” healthy eating by the doctor. Doctors aren’t well compensated for their time in educating patients on diet, but they are handsomely compensated for signing an Rx form. And many receive only a few hours of teaching focused on nutrition during their entire medical training.
So it’s really the system that is failing us, I understand why these doctors feel that their hands are tied. If their income is dependent on treating and managing symptoms as opposed to actually healing a body with food, herbs, and natural methods so that the patient doesn’t become sick again, they are stuck between a rock and a hard place.
Many brave doctors are finding a solution to this problem by no longer accepting insurance. It lowers their fees and frees their hands. Go doctors, go.
Early on many people are caught in the Prescription drug trap (one drug necessitating another) that is very difficult to break out of. Did you know that the US & New Zeland are the only countries that allow direct to consumer advertising for prescription drugs? This has resulted in 9 times the amount of prescriptions written when compared to countries who do not allow the ads.
Yes, our sedentary lifestyles are certainly to blame as well. But there are plenty of folks out there who stay active that still become very ill and struggle with weight gain. The fact that the average american spends 35 hours watching TV every week doesn’t help either.
More than once I have been told by friends from other (usually Asian) countries that they had never even seen an obese person until moving to the US. Another friend recently moved to the US from Australia and said she was completely shocked by how easily and readily Americans pop drugs for any and every physical or mental ailment.
So all of these weird food things that I do? They aren’t actually that weird. They are things that we did in America until just a few decades ago, and things that other cultures still do on a daily basis.
Up until just a few decades ago, oatmeal came with instructions on the back for overnight soaking.
A family garden is extremely common in many other countries, even in urban areas.
If I lived in Norway it wouldn’t be uncommon for me to ride my bike to the local market each evening to pick up local vegetables and a fresh caught wild fish for dinner.
If I lived in Japan, my children would enjoy raw, fresh fish on a daily basis.
In Australia I’d barbecue up a fresh pigeon for dinner.
In Italy I might prepare a small portion of fresh pasta to be followed by some local meat and fresh vegetables.
In Spain I would enjoy a late evening meal of gazpacho.
In Singapore I would cook fresh meats and vegetables in lard and serve them with plenty of ginger, a bit of fermented soy with a nice big bowl of pork broth.
If I lived in France it would be normal for my children to be served lentils in school for lunch, and have daily, easy access to fresh raw milk.
Notice, not all of the cultures eat the same way. This isn’t a “paleo vs. vegan vs. whatever” thing. But they do all have one thing in common: they are still eating real, whole, foods that are mainly prepared at home; from ingredients devoid of the chemicals and additives found in the vast majority of American food.
And they beat us in every single “who is healthiest, who lives longest, who has the best quality of life” contest.
These countries’ governments ban foods that are readily embraced in America like food dyes, GMO’s, high-fructose corn syrup, brominated vegetable oil, bromated flour, azodicarbonamide, BHA & BHT, artificial growth hormones in meat and dairy, just to name a few. These things are NOT fit for human consumption, but are found in nearly all of our American prepared and fast foods.
The agencies in our government that are set up to protect us from harmful “foods” and chemicals are not doing it. They have other agendas that are financially and politically motivated. And in my opinion, our health and well-being is not the priority.
You guys, we have become so accustomed to sickness that it has become “normal” in our minds. We view other cultures and the American “health-foodies” as weirdos.
Meanwhile we eat non-food, pop prescription drugs to deal with the side effects of our diet, and wonder why we need RedBull to get going in the morning and a sleeping pill at night.
Doctors who practice alternative or holistic medicine that use methods that have been used successfully in other countries for thousands of years are dismissed as quacks and denied coverage by insurance companies.
Allergies, asthma, diabetes, obesity, insomnia, depression, anxiety, constipation, kidney stones, ADD and premature death have become a “normal” way of life.
I have a friend whose child was recently diagnosed with asthma. Her doctor’s comment? “Oh, every kid in America has asthma now, he’s in good company.” No mention of actually healing the little guy with diet and natural remedies…which is very possible.
Our habits are literally killing us. My children’s generation is the first to have a projected life-expectancy that is shorter than their parents as a result of our horrible state of health.
This is a tragedy!
So be weird. Embrace it. Because really, by adopting this weird, healthy lifestyle you’re just joining the ranks of the healthiest people in the world with the longest life-expectancies, least amount of illnesses and highest quality of life. It really is possible to end your life old, happy, healthy, active, strong, clear-minded and free of prescription drugs.
This is my goal. This is why it’s worth it. It’s why I don’t mind being considered weird. Why I prioritize making food for my family when it’s not the easiest route. Why I spend more on good food than any other thing in my life other than our rent.
Yes, sometimes I pop an Amy’s Pizza in the oven or opt for peanut butter and jelly…I mean, sanity, sanity…but it’s rare.
Whew. I hope I didn’t get you all riled up…but maybe you should be. Either way, I hope you will be encouraged and motivated! True health is possible, you just might have to cross over into the weird.
live well. be well.