I have been struggling with my weight now for probably close to five years. I have gone through this before; once pre puberty and again after each pregnancy, three so far. Previously, all I needed was a quick fix of exercise and making better choices of what I put between my lips. This time around, at 41, it is a struggle, a huge, big, miserable struggle.
In my world of social change I come across a lot of do good’er vegetarians, healthy eating experts, exercise gurus and the raw diet prophets. It can all be incredibly daunting and down right confusing. Who do you believe? What regime do you follow? What IS best for your body and overall longevity?
I decided to do my own research. As a result, I saw Super Size Me
, the 2004 independent documentary film by Morgan Spurlock. Morgan’s experiment was to eat McDonald’s and only McDonald’s for 30 days and mimic the daily physical activity of an average American. For those of you who haven’t seen it, you can guess that by the end of 30 days, Spurlock gained excessive weight, his health was compromised, he had high cholesterol and psychologically he was feeling depressed and withdrawn.
Ok, so stay away from fast food, McDonald’s. We have all heard for the past 30 years to stay away from high fat and drink skim milk, avoid anything with fat in it. Tick.
Well, then along comes Fat Head
, another independent film that is the anti thesis to Super Size Me. Tom Naughton’s comedic documentary argues against Spurlock’s experiment claiming the numbers just ‘don’t add up’. Naughton even goes as far as to call the ‘lipid hypothesis’ a crock of bologna.
So, high cholesterol doesn’t cause heart disease and eating fat is actually good for you? Studies have shown that to be true. Check out Dr. Malcolm Kendrick’s
research if you don’t believe me. There are even suggestions that the ADHD epidemic is because we have deprived our children of the necessary fat they need for brain development. Our brain is, you guessed it, fat!
It gets even more complicated or informative, depending on where you are standing. I highly recommend you watch Dr. Robert H. Lustig’s talk Sugar: The Bitter Truth
. Lustig indicates that the global obesity epidemic is directly linked to our over consumption of fructose and under ingestion of fiber. His presentation is fascinating and even debunks the standard equation of calories in (consumption) versus calories out (exercise) results in weight loss. Oh my, Jillian and Bob must be rolling their eyes!!
You can appreciate why I am somewhat confused. There is so much information out there, all from supposedly reputable sources, all supposedly experts in their field.
My good friend and someone I admire a lot, Tricia Sedgwick, from Seeds of Plenty
and The World in a Garden
, has been a tremendous support to my family and I. She is a nutritionist and a gardener. She educates adults and children alike on the benefits of healthy eating predominantly through growing your own food. Thanks to Tricia I had a bumper crop of cherry tomatoes, zucchini and lettuce this past summer.
Tricia has been instrumental in my personal learning growth of harmful and helpful foods. Initially, I ended up with very empty cupboards and fridge thanks to her! I learned that guava syrup is a natural sweetener, that olive oil needs to be stored in a dark bottle, and that even our packaged herbs and spices are processed in ways that are not healthy. Do you realize that any house built before 1975 probably has no pantry? Reason being, is we never used to eat so much packaged and processed foods. Have you seen the pantries we have in new houses? They are bigger than the size of our fridge.
My take away from my initial research:
- Fresh is good. The fresher your food, the less hands that have touched it, the better.
- Fat isn’t necessarily bad for you. Our body and our ancestry have needed fat in our diets since the beginning of time and it isn’t necessarily the devil.
- Fructose IS bad and the devil. Stay away from anything that has fructose in it, which is pretty much most packaged foods, even breads. Try and read the ingredients and again, fresher the better.
- Find an ‘expert’ you trust, hopefully someone you know and short of that, contact my friend, Tricia. She will give you the goods on anything you have to ask regarding food, how it is packaged, where it comes from and even better, show you how to grow or make it yourself.
My next stage? Exercise and our bodies. Can’t wait!