March 17, 2010

Do Vegetarians Eat Animal Crackers?

I posted a link to this article on Twitter and Facebook yesterday (via) because it is one of the simplest, bullet-pointed posts that I have ever read about fitness and health -- and three of his points really rang so true in my mind that I'm still thinking about them. I know this is a deviation from our standard programming around here, and my official disclaimer is that I am not an expert and these are just my opinions on the topic, so if this bores you, I totally understand.  No hard feelings.  Come back again tomorrow and we can talk about shoes or books or celebrities! Or how Kate Winslet is getting divorced…OMG, so sad!

Anyway, my favorite items stolen from that article were as follows:

• If you eat whole foods that have been around for 1000s of years, you probably don’t have to worry about counting calories
• High Fructose Corn Syrup is making people fat and sick
• The only real cure is prevention…don’t get sick in the first place otherwise you may be in for a long road back to health

There is so much to say on these topics, I don’t even know where to start. I am a card carrying member of the cult that thinks that the American Diet is the biggest factor in making people sick.  And even though it is one of the things we have the most control over, most of us don’t prioritize it all the time (myself included) and that is sort of baffling. I baffle myself on a regular basis, actually. I have watched some incredible and  enlightening documentaries on the subject of the American Diet (um…hi, corn products are in EVERYTHING because that is a crop the government subsidizes. Dear Government, please consider subsidizing other vegetables too, yes? ) And I am a total Michael Pollan zealot, yet I TOO am still guilty of not prioritizing my diet when crafting my own plan for health. It is such a battle!

For example, there is so much evidence out there supporting that idea that a (thoughtful) vegan diet really helps reduce inflammation and disease later on in life, and I know this, yet I can’t seem to let go of my love affair with cheese. Just the thought of it makes me panic a little.  Also, like many of us, I have certainly tried my share of fad diets out there in search of quicker/better/longer/easier weight loss in an effort to be healthier, but in the end I really think sometimes the big picture gets lost in all of that. It is not about being a certain weight or at this magic number, general health is what should be important, and there are so many factors contributing to that.

I went to a conference once where Dr. Pam Popper was speaking, and she said quite a few things that really affected my opinions on this stuff. A woman in the audience stood up and asked her how she felt about the Atkins diet, and boy did she unleash the beast. Well, if the beast includes a lot of scientific evidence about what it does to the body and why it was not good for your health. “But it works, I’ve done it and had success,” replied the woman in the audience, and of course don't we all know someone who has great success with Atkins, right?  But Dr. Popper’s response slayed me, “You are correct, the Atkins diet does work. But so does cocaine, and I don’t recommend that for health either.”

(Damnit!  I never tried cocaine for weight loss.  That is brilliant!) 

Ok, ok all jokes aside, that was kind of a turning point for me when it comes to my philosophy on weight loss and health. I’m not in this life just to weigh less (although yes, I need to get there and it is very important.) But really? What I want is to live more. And for longer. And I want to be healthy the entire time, not decrepit or disease ridden, or managing a slough of symptoms all the time. And I do think it is possible.  But if you could just remind me of that the next time I’m walking around the cheese department at Whole Foods (you know how I get when I'm there) I think that would be a great start! 

Do we have a deal?

1 comment:

Blogger said...

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