You Are What You Eat

Book of Face: Ch 6, Verses 25-40

I felt like crap yesterday.

I was lethargic. Tired. Depressed.

I wasn’t really sure why.
Was it the aftereffects of a Valentine’s Day spent alone? Was it the phase of the moon? Was I suffering from male PMS?  Was I coming down with a cold or the flu? Was it on account of bad dreams last night?

None of those seemed quite right (maybe the dreams, but that doesn’t explain the whole day)
Then what was it?

Hmm… let’s take a look at what happened.

I woke up this morning after a poor sleep. I was woken up mid-night (bad dreams).
I was tired.
I needed a little something to get me going.
Here comes the caffeine train!
Tea just wouldn’t cut it, I needed a heavy dose.
No coffee at home…
7-11 here I come.coffee-doghnout
A short walk and I’ve arrived, still in my addled state of barely awake.
I fill my travel mug to the brim, I need as much of this as I can get.
I’m proceeding to the check out…
Hmm… I’m a little hungry. And I’m still tired and kind of lazy.
I’ll grab something to tie me over till I’m awake enough to actually make something to sustain my own existence (a bowl of cereal is tough work).
I spy the “fresh baked” goods (I’m pretty sure those are the same muffins from three days ago, oh well).
A muffin will work (it’s better than a breakfast sandwich, right?… doubtful).
Cranberry-orange muffin, sounds healthy – ish (don’t kid yourself).
Since I’m already grabbing a muffin I might as well grab a doughnut to (mmm… chocolate dipped, creme-filled).
A muffin, a doughnut, and a large cup of coffee… Breakfast of Champions!

I go home.
I buckle down to do some writing, but am quickly distracted (can’t recall by what exactly, probably pictures of someone’s cat on facebook).

I drink my coffee, eat my “bakery fresh” goods, and proceed into caffeine overload, sugar-rush, empty-calorie bliss…
I’m wandering around not quite sure what to do with myself. Maybe I should go to yoga? Naw, I’m way to jacked-up for any form of meditation or calm.
Sit down, stand up, pace the room, facebook, pace, cat picture, wander, bowel movement, pace, fake e-card, twitch, play two chords on guitar, spasm, pace, twitch, cat video, spasm, twitch, pace…

The rush is beginning to wear off.
Perhaps “wear-off” is the wrong word, more like come to a crashing grinding halt.
Back to square one… lethargic, tired, depressed…

One positive thing came from my erratic caloric high… an idea for an art project.
A good excuse to leave the house. My mission: Art supplies (and maybe another pick me up).

I grab my stuff and head out the door. A short drive and I’m at the supply store. I find what I’m looking for relatively quickly. I wander a little more as I like to do, I manage to refrain from buying the half a dozen things that seem like a good idea at this exact moment. I pay and I depart. Ooh, what’s that across the street? Could it be? Another 7-11!

I could really use another dose of caffeine to get back up and going.
I convince myself it’s a good idea.
This time I swear I’ll make productive use of this caffeine high.

I go in, fill my mug to the brim, walk towards the check-out.
Hmm… I’m feeling a little peckish. Actually I’m starving. Maybe I’ll grab something to tie me over until dinner…
I spy the rolling rack of hot dog and toquitos.
Two toquitos for 2.50, can’t argue with that price (yes you can, and you should).
“Two toquitos please” (god have mercy on your soul).

Back in the car driving with half a litre of coffee in one hand and two greasy little meat-rolls in the other. Mmm… A lunch fit for a king (king of what, I have no idea).

I return home, the caffeine is starting to kick in again. Whoo! Here we go!
Cat picture, pace, wander, twitch, pointless status update, same two cords on guitar, wander, forget what I was doing, twitch, stumble upon (my attention span is too short to read anything longer than a paragraph), wander, look at art supplies, think about working on it, change mind, look at angry cat meme, pace, twitch, look at meme I don’t get, wander, pace…

And here comes the crash.

I’m cold, I’m tired, I’m lazy, I’m sad…
My stomach is doing some sort of somersault (without proper training or stretching beforehand).
My insides hurt. My brain hurts. My feelings hurt.
I curl up in a ball and hide under the covers. I don’t wanna do anything. I wish the world would just leave me alone.
I wanna give up. On everything. On life.
I contemplate my own demise (death by toquito).
Oh the humanity!

After a while I fall into a fitful, and restless slumber… (at 8 pm)
I end up ditching on my plans, hopefully my friend is understanding of my plight (I couldn’t help it! It’s like they were calling out to me, “eat us, eat us, we’re delicious and.. eh.. possibly nutritious.” Lying bastards!).

And after several hours I woke up. I look at a clock reading 1 in the am.
And here we are.

I’m feeling slightly better. My brain is functioning enough for me to read and write. My stomach has resigned itself to the occasional outburst, but has thankfully refrained from acrobatics (he could use a breath mint though). My emotions are more aligned, I’m no longer afflicted by busts of sorrow and self-pity.
I think I’m gonna make it through after all.

What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger smarter.

So to make this day not a total waste I have to take something from it. A life lesson…

Don’t eat anything that comes from a convenience store!
I mean, yeah, they got those granola bars that aren’t so bad, but are they really that good?
I know it’s convenient (so they say) but an apple is pretty convenient to. Or an orange. Or a bowl of cereal (whole grains, and not that sugar coated crap).Ok, maybe that’s not the best lesson. Sometimes it’s gonna happen. Like after the bar when we want some munchies, or when we’re running late for work. The thing is not to make a habit of it. Don’t rely on it for sustenance.

Ok then, so how about this lesson…

You are what you eat.fruitstand

Literally.
Your body take what you feed it and converts it into… well… you.
The proteins, the vitamins, the sugars, the amino-acids, it becomes the fuel that feeds the fire. It becomes the matter from which new cells grow. It becomes your blood, your brain, your muscles, your skin. It becomes you.

Your body is like a high performance automobile, you’re not gonna fill it with regular are you? Give it some premium, give it a little TLC. And for the love of god don’t put diesel in a gas engine, you’ll ruin it.
There are things our body is not meant to digest (what food group is toquito?); like refined sugars, modified corn starch (the “modified” should set off an alarm), maltodextrin (what the eff is that anyway?), red dye #7 (is that the radioactive one?), sodium benzoate (what kind of tree does that grow on?), aspartame (as long as I’m thin who cares if I get a brain tumour), and the list goes on…

So take care of your body (it’s the only one you’ve got).
Give it what it wants. Fruits and veggies are what it wants the most of, these should be 50% of your diet.
Your body doesn’t want processed and refined foods, like white bread or lunch meats (when was the last time you saw a caveman eating bologna?).
That’s actually a good way to think about it. The human body adapted to eat certain foods over course of the hundred-or-so thousand years of evolution (or was designed to eat certain food 5000 years ago), we haven’t changed all that much since then, but our diet has.
If ancient man didn’t have it, we probably weren’t meant to eat it. They were hunter-gatherers, fruit, veg, some meat, nuts, etc. were what they ate. I’ve never seen a cave drawing of a snickers bar. Or a bucket of fried chicken. Or a caveman mixing a plethora of chemicals to distill some artificial sweeteners (“grunt, me watching my calories, uhg, want to keep girlish figure, ug”) – (note: no offence intended to any cro-magnon readers who may be offended by my choice of dialogue, it’s purely for entertainment and to highlight a point, my apologies). Or how many ancient humans were bleaching their flour? (two, and they both died)

The point is we’ve separated ourselves from what we were designed to eat, and it’s hurting us.
We are amidst an obesity epidemic in North America. We’re all aware of it.
But what do we do?
Diet pills! Surgery! Nothing!
No, no, and no!
We need to start achieving some balance in what we’re eating. We have to start changing our habits.

“But I like white bread/fried chicken/soda pop/etc.”
Tough tits buck-o!
We gotta make some tough choices if we wanna live and not be a drain on our over-taxed health care system.
That sounds harsh I know, but sometimes you gotta be a little harsh.
The truth is I understand how difficult it can be, that garbage is everywhere. It’s easy to eat unhealthy, your local convenience store is loaded with it (those damn toquitos are calling to me again), pizza and fried chicken are only a phone call away, microwave dinners are ready in a matter of minutes with no prep time. Eating unhealthy is so simple.

But the alternatives aren’t as difficult as you might imagine.
An apple requires no prep (apart from a rinse). Get yourself a veggie steamer, chop up some veg toss it in and you’ve got delicious veggies in around 10 mins. Pre-chop most of your salad in a large bowl, that way you can have some with every meal (leave out the tomatoes, and cucumbers as the moisture will wilt the salad prematurely). Buy whole grain cereal (avoid the sugary stuff), toss in some fresh fruit for flavor (and vitamins), and while you’re at it try an alternative to dairy milk (like almond, hemp, or rice milk).

Start with some small changes within the framework of your current eating patterns, and work from there. If you decide that as of today you will never again touch something fried, well you may be setting yourself up for failure. The trick is not crash diets, it’s changing habits. You need long term change in your behaviours and your mind-set. You’ve gotta re-train yourself.
You might say “I don’t like vegetables” (I’ve heard it), that’s not ok. But you can learn to like them, it’s like any acquired taste, have a little bit with something you like for starters and just keep upping the dose. You’re tastes will change with time, trust me I know.
Growing up I hated peppers, wouldn’t touch ’em. But with time, and under the auspicious eye of my father I grew to like them, now I eat them regularly. The thing is most of us no longer have our fathers there to force feed us under threat of a whoopin. This is where we have to step up to the plate, we gotta teach ourselves who’s boss. This is our body and it does what we damn-well says it does!

So let’s start taking steps to better our health, and that starts with what we put in our body.
Perhaps start with breakfast (most important meal of the day), avoid that baked crap, avoid the breakfast sandwich (unless you going to make it yourself from healthy ingredients). Instead try some healthy cereal with piece of fruit, some yogurt (avoid pre-flavoured, too much sugar, add fruit instead), maybe a fruit smoothie.

Educate yourself on what healthy eating really is.

I am amazed at the number of misconceptions people have about healthy eating. For example:

  • “I eat vegetables, I eat potatoes.”
    Ok so technically a potato is a vegetable, but nutritionally it is not. It has far too much starch (which converts to fat in your body), and is actually quite low in nutrients. As far as nutrition goes, potatoes are more similar to pasta, they’re filler. And without the skin, they’re pretty much pointless.
  • “I gotta eat lots of meat, I need the protein.”
    Firstly, there are many sources of protein other than meat – chickpeas, lentils, beans, tofu, nuts, broccoli, spinach, quinoa.
    Secondly, most of us over consume protein. The average person is consuming excess amounts of protein, and since we have a primarily sedentary lifestyle, that excess protein is becoming fat. No wonder that belly isn’t shrinking.
  • “I gotta drink lots of milk, I need calcium.”
    As with protein, there are many sources for calcium – tofu, almonds, beans, oats, soy milk, broccoli, bok choy, kale, oranges.
    Question: What countries have the highest rates of osteoporosis (brittle bones)?
    Answer: Those that drink the most milk. The United States, Canada, UK, Australia, Sweden
    “But the TV said drinking milk gives me strong bones.”
    “Well Billy, the TV is lying SOB, and it’s about time you realize that.”
    You see what happens when you consume excessive amounts of animal protein (which milk contains), you create an acidic environment in your body. Now your body tries to maintain a pH balance, so it acts to neutralize the acid, by adding something basic. Hmm… what could that be? That’s right, Calcium. And where is the calcium in our bodies? Our bones.
    So drinking milk (as well as eating too much meat) is actually causing our bones to become more brittle, by reducing calcium in our bones.
    The other factor is that for our bodies to absorb calcium we require other nutrients as well, Vit D (which is added to milk) and magnesium (which milk has very little of). If we do not have a balance of these things the calcium we consume is not absorbed and is passes through our system (and sometimes forms nasty kidney stones).
    Another question: What animal (other than humans) drinks milk beyond infancy? cow-farbe
    Answer: Not a one!
    And what animal drinks the milk of a different species? Not a one!
    It’s weird and unnatural.
    And if you were to see pictures or videos of what goes on in industrial dairy farm, you would never drink milk again. I won’t horrify you with the details here.

So why are these nutritional misconceptions still prevalent in our society?

Well one reason is our own ignorance. We don’t use the tools at our disposal to find the truth. We don’t check multiple sources, or question what we’ve been told.

Why are we being told to continue consuming milk and meat? The food guide still says to eat it.

Imagine this scenario if you will:
You are a dairy farmer. Your lively hood and that of your children is dependant upon the sale and consumption of dairy products.
What happens when someone tells you that dairy is bad?
You tell them to shut their damn mouth and get of your property.
You “need” people to keep consuming.
What if these ideas start spreading? What if mass amounts of people stop drinking milk? You’ll be destitute.
So you call up you buddy farmer Joe, and Bobby Mae, and Cletis, and Ronald, and you all make a pact…
“If people stop consuming dairy, we all loose.”
“We gotta pool our resources.” And so the dairy lobby is born. With the backing of thousands of farms, and billions of dollars in revenue. It’s purpose? To make sure people keep drinking their milk.
It isn’t some evil clandestine organization, it’s just misguided people doing what they feel they must do to survive.
And it’s like this with all agribusiness (all business in fact). The meat producers, and corn producers, and soy, and wheat, and canola producers. They’re just fighting for their own continued existence. Even if their existence is a mistake (the industry, not the people).

So what do we do?

It starts by educating the masses.
Regulars Joes like us have got to be aware of what’s going on, and what our bodies really need.
Do your research.

Then we change our consuming habits.
We start consuming alternatives to what we’ve been told to eat.

Then the industry is forced to adapt.
Hopefully the transition can be smooth, and not leave those involved in the current dynamic out in the cold.
If we don’t ease the transition then there will be a backlash (what is currently happening).
Just keep in mind that we are all just people trying to get by. Help your fellow man make the changes necessary.

Eventually (hopefully sooner than later) we adapt and form a new economy.
We no longer waste mass amounts of resources on the excessive production of meat and dairy.
No longer subject livestock to substandard living conditions.
And we improve our overall health.

But remember, it starts with you.
Changing your individual consuming habits is the first and most important step to affect change.
Become the Change.

Namaste,
And may you live a healthy and nourished life.

 

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Paleo_Diet

 

 

 

2 thoughts on “You Are What You Eat

    1. Thanks!
      Yeah going paleo might be a bit extreme, I figured it’d be good to highlight possible alternatives, and show areas where we can reduce consumption if not eliminate it altogether.
      You’re totally right balance is the key.

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