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By Monika Lenkei • April 30, 2013 • No Comments
Part 1: Our Food Choices
Is There a “Fountain of Youth”
From the beginning of time people have tried to find the elusive “fountain of youth”, and the secrets of living a long and healthy life. We are no different today. We spend billions of dollars on surgeries to make us look great and on research to find cures of many deadly illnesses. We can’t watch television or listen to the radio for a few minutes without running into a commercial on either a new super drug to heal us, the latest skin care formula to give us beautiful skin or a new diet fad that is sure to help us shed excess weight quickly and effortlessly.
Who is Really in Control of Our Health?
In spite of all the remarkable advances that we have made in the past few decades in medicine, a large portion of the population suffers from chronic physical ailments, lethargy, fatigue and depression. We trust our doctors, the pharmaceutical companies and scientists to give us what we need in order to extend our lives and provide a cure for the many deadly illnesses we face today. Certainly, doctors and medicine need to have their well deserved place in our lives, but we also need to be proactive and take personal responsibility for the state of our health and well being. The key to our health, vitality and longevity is in our own hands because we control the quality of the foods we eat, the amount of physical exercise we get, and our lifestyle choices.
In this segment we will be focusing on the foods we consume, but first we’ll take a closer look at the importance of our food choices.
Is Food Our Medicine or Our Poison?
Our eating habits greatly influence our physical condition, as well as our appearance. In order to feel great, first we need to make a commitment to chose nutritious foods over the quick, tasty but many times harmful alternatives.
In our fast paced world we have come to rely on fast and effortless meals and snacks. Our over-processed foods make our bodies acidic, a fertile breeding ground for many diseases. Chemically altered hydrogenated oils keep our baked goods “fresh” for weeks, but they also increase bad cholesterol and heart disease. Refined, bleached, and enriched grains cause our breads and pastas to be easily digestible but stripping them of their fiber allows the huge amounts of carbohydrates flow freely into our blood stream spiking our blood sugar, making us more susceptible to many metabolic diseases such as diabetes. The most evil refined grain of all is high fructose corn syrup (HFCS). Jillian Michaels in her book titled Master your Metabolism claims that
“[t]he U.S. Production of HFCS went from 3,000 tons in 1967 to 9,227,000 tons in 2005.” Interestingly, obesity rate has shot up a whopping 32% during the same time frame.”
Most processed foods are sweetened with HFCS because it is a cheaper alternative.
Knowing the damage that refined carbohydrates such as sugar poses on our health, we may think that switching to artificial sweeteners is a good idea. Not so. Artificial sweeteners, like aspertame don’t just put us in a greater metabolic danger but they are linked to many other diseases like leukemia and lymphoma. Pat Thomas in his article titled “Aspertame” writes that
“[o]nce upon a time, aspartame was listed by the Pentagon as a biochemical warfare agent. Today it’s an integral part of the modern diet” (Ecologist).
Artificial sweeteners are widely used in diet soft drinks, low fat dairy products, chewing gums and a long list of other foods.
Dr. Russell Blaylock, a neurosurgeon has extensively researched the effect of popular food additives on our health. Substances, such as aspartame (Nutrasweet, etc.), monosodium glutamate (MSG), hydrolyzed protein, and many more are called excitotoxins because they stimulate neurons in our brain to death causing various levels of brain damage. They also cross the placenta, so many infants are affected even before they are born. These chemicals have also been found to dramatically promote cancer growth and metastasis. Still they are added to virtually every processed food on the US market today, from chips to processed meats, baked goods, soups, and the list goes on and on. As a good rule of thumb, in order to make total commitment to our health and well being and to avoid consuming harmful chemicals, we need to choose foods closest to their natural state, with the least amount of processing, artificial colors, preservatives and taste enhancers. It’s quite a challenge but our long term health and quality of life depends on it.
Stay tuned for our next segment, where we will explore the importance of where our food comes from.
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