Nutrition

Americans, young and old, are facing a myriad of problems including obesity, diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and depression. Pharmaceutical companies have responded with a prescription for each of these maladies. If the prescriptions cause an unwanted side effect, no problem – there is a prescription for that. And if you are unaware you have a problem that can be cured by a prescription, the constant feed of commercials during your favorite TV program will help enlighten you.

As you listen to the commercials you will hear the list of possible side effects that often sound worse than the original complaint. One of my favorites is the social anxiety drug that allows you to leave your home with confidence but has side effects that would prohibit you from being more than 50 feet away from your bathroom. And if your antidepressant has caused E.D. – no problem, there is a prescription for that. One of the possible side effects of that one, for which you are instructed to immediately contact your physician, has been the fodder for many stand-up comedy acts.

The current trend in America indicates that each generation is less healthy than the previous one. Looking back to the generations of our grandparents and great-grandparents we see people who ate real food. Let’s compare just a few:

Yesterday

  • Natural, whole milk
  • Real butter
  • Homemade meals with natural ingredients
  • Baked goods with whole grain
  • Fresh pressed juice and tap water
  • Pastured meat
  • Free-range eggs
  • Raw sugar, honey, molasses, maple syrup as sweeteners (in moderation)
  • Fruits and vegetables in season

Today

  • Ultra-pasteurized, non-fat or 2% milk
  • Margarine
  • Microwave meals and convenience foods
  • Baked goods with fortified fractioned grains
  • Soda and water in plastic bottles
  • Meat from animals given regular medication to allow them to survive life in a feedlot
  • Eggs from hens confined to over-crowded battery cages
  • High fructose corn syrup in most prepared food including:applesauce, diet snacks, low-fat yogurt, ketchup
  • Fruits and vegetables picked before ripening and shipped thousands of miles

We are what we eat so for me it is not too much of a stretch to link the current average American diet to the increase in health problems.

I doubt that many people would sit down and eat 10 teaspoons of sugar as a snack. But that is exactly what happens each time we drink most sodas. Americans drink 4 times more soda than milk. Soda has no nutritional value and may cause calcium loss due to the high phosphorous content.

We may think we are getting everything we need from that slice of refined bread because of the list of vitamins and minerals on the package. But not only are refined grains nutritionally inferior, they may even be harmful. According to the Amazing Health web site (www.amazinghealth.org) Refined grains and their food products are substandard foods for several reasons:

  1. They are excessively starchy. They are practically devoid of natural fiber.
  2. There can be up to approximately 25 different chemicals that are added to refined grains and breads products.
  3. Grains are fumigated.
  4. They are “enriched” with synthetic vitamins.
  5. Bleaching chemicals are used.
  6. Artificial colorings and flavorings are used.
  7. Refined grain products are nutritionally imbalanced.

“Because refined grain products are nutritionally imbalanced, they are responsible for contributing to several, degenerative diseases. Calcium-leaching from the bones and teeth occur because of the altered phosphorous-calcium balance in these products. Sugar and refined grain products are primarily responsible for tooth decay in this country, as well as being the major cause of brittle bones in the elderly.”

The constant bombardment of the latest scientific facts, diet fads, super foods, revised food pyramid, and ever-changing hit list of “bad” foods is enough to make your head spin. I think we should just keep it simple. A variety of real foods in their natural state, as local as possible, fresh fruits and vegetables that are in season. And everything in moderation.

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