Physical Health/Lifestyle

It is true: Americans are becoming heavier and sicker by the year. Not only are our waistlines increasing in exponential proportions, the rate of cancer, autoimmune diseases, and mental health disorders are on the rise. Popular culture is always offering solutions to this epidemic: There always seems to be new diet fad or exercise equipment that promises to transform one’s body and health with minimal effort. Sadly, these advertisements merely produce false hopes and result in continued, failed attempts at improving our health.

There is a common misperception that dietary fat causes excess body fat. As evidenced by the research detailed in the many books below, this is simply not the case. Furthermore, the rising epidemic of obesity is not simply related to portion sizes and overconsumption of fast food. It is, quite simply, related to the quality of the foods we eat.

As “Wheat Belly” discusses, there is tremendous research on the negative effects of gluten on our bodies, weight, and health. Until recently, Celiac disease was relatively unknown or understood by the medical community. Even with increased knowledge of the damaging effects of gluten, and most people’s inability to process it, Celiac disease continues to be misdiagnosed. It is often mistaken for other diseases, such as Multiple Sclerosis, as it can produce similar ill effects in the body. The consumption of gluten is also associated with increases in mental health related symptoms, mood lability, and fatigue. Conversely, elimination of gluten from one’s diet often results in significant improvement in both physical and emotional health.

I am not prescribing a specific diet or mandating that people can no longer dine at restaurants. However, I do encourage everyone to read the books below and educate themselves regarding simple changes in eating that can produce significant health benefits. The literature below is based upon extensive research and provides insight into how we can start to heal ourselves from the inside out.

For example, did you know that most of us do not consume nearly enough leafy greens on a daily basis? This results in our bodies becoming more acidic than alkaline which consequently, limits our ability to absorb essential nutrients from all foods. Furthermore, the cellular properties of greens (kale, spinach, swiss chard) make it difficult for us our bodies to break it down and absorb the nutrients, which can result in GI side effects and future avoidance of leafy vegetables. However, by simply making our own green smoothies, the blending process breaks down the greens and makes it much more easy for our bodies to digest—thereby increasing our ability to absorb the nutrients and bypassing GI upset. The homemade smoothies are far more nutritious and economical than the store bought versions. In “Green for Life”, by Victoria Boutenko, highlights research that proves that this small change can help increase energy, generate weight loss, improve mood, and even reduce or eliminate symptoms of many diseases/illnesses.

There is strong support that our body shapes, and where we deposit and store our fat, indicate imbalances within the body. As evidenced by the studies outlined in “7 Principles of Fat Burning”, until these imbalances are corrected, it can be nearly impossible for a person to lose weight. This book offers simple corrections to help restore balance within the body and increase one’s success in losing weight and maintaining a healthier physique.

In summation, it is misleading and oversimplifying to blame the current weight struggle in America as a result of gluttonous consumption of junk food. In an effort to reduce costs, many food manufacturers replace ingredients with more cost effective alternatives, such as corn by-products and wheat. They are then marketed as being ‘healthy’ and ‘natural’. Ingredients, such as high fructose corn syrup, are not naturally occurring and research indicates that they have a detrimental impact on our bodies. Thus, it is imperative that people educate themselves about the foods they consume, the impact these foods have on their bodies, and by doing so, empower themselves to make more educated choices about what they choose to eat.