It’s apparent to me that our society is in great need of balance. Each year the number of obese and sickly people increases all as a result of our diet and lifestyle. Obesity and disease is not just limited to adults any more either. Our children and teenagers are suffering more now than ever, as a direct result of diet and lifestyle. It’s about choices, it’s about information, it’s about life!
According to the most recent statistics, compiled in 2007 by the National Institute of Diabetes (NID), diabetes affects an estimated 23.6 million people in the US, and was the fifth leading cause of death. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and The Obesity Society (OS), showed 34% of the U.S. population age 20 and older, were obese in 2007-2008. This does not include all the people who are just considered overweight – which brings the percentage to 68%. Of children ages 2 through 19, at least 17% were obese, and 32% were overweight. Obesity is defined as a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or greater. Obesity is a major risk factor for a variety of health ailments and disease, including but not limited to cardiovascular disease, certain types of cancer, and type 2 diabetes.
Both, being overweight or being obese are directly related to poor diet and lifestyle, which is all about “energy balance”. “Energy in” equals “energy out” – in essence the amount of calories from food and drink equals “energy in”. How the energy is then used by the body such as digesting, physical activity, even breathing, equals “energy out”. The whole purpose behind eating food is not about flavor, taste, and how it emotionally makes us feel – it’s about energizing our bodies by giving it the nutrients and fuel we need so that our bodies function efficiently. Without food our body’s biological mechanisms would fail. We can’t survive without food! So obviously, the foods we consumer greatly impact our bodies. Collectively our food choices directly affect our mind and body – what we eat can ultimately heal or hurt.
The best food choice is, of course, whole food. What is whole food? Whole foods are foods that are unprocessed and unrefined. Typically they do not contain any added ingredients, such as sugar, salt, or fat. Whole foods are not necessarily organic. Since whole foods are unprocessed and unrefined, many foods of this type have a short shelf. Some ways in which the life of whole food is extended is by minimal processing, such as dehydrating, refrigerating or freezing, or possibly steaming or baking – that is where “cooking” has become a form of food preparation and preservation throughout history. However, over processing leads to poor quality food – in most cases, food becomes toxic. Food that is toxic does not properly assimilate in our bodies – disease, poor health, and obesity are usually the result.
Whole foods provide our bodies with the life force needed to properly absorb and assimilate the nutrients and fuel needed to efficiently energize and heal our bodies. So what foods are considered whole foods? Since whole foods are considered foods that are unprocessed and unrefined, foods such as fruits, vegetables, seeds, grains, nuts, sea greens, leafy greens, sprouts, unprocessed animal-based meats and non-homogenized milk would be the food of choice. However, it is quite difficult and somewhat dangerous to consume unprocessed animal-based meats and non-homogenized milk – which leaves the best food choice that of a raw vegetarian, mostly raw vegan based diet.
Throughout history, processed foods have benefited societies by extending the shelf life of certain foods, making food available to those areas which food is scarce, and providing quick meal options for families who have little time or money to properly feed their families – it hasn’t come with it’s problems. As more and more food companies find ways of squeezing more profit out of the food supply, more and more people suffer the results of this greed. Food today has been so bastardized by our society, that the concept of processing food for help is more about processing food for gluttony. We no longer are properly fueling our bodies.
Processed foods today are mostly made of poor quality, raw food products. Most processed foods often include flavoring additives, texture-enhancing agents, and chemicals to extend the life expectancy to unrealistic proportions – the food is no longer food! Most of these “commercially” processed foods have no nutritional value, therefore vitamins and minerals are artificially infused back into the finished food product. Foods labeled “enriched” and “fortified” mean artificial nutrients have been added back in. Believe it or not, these foods ultimately are more toxic then they are safe!
Food products labeled “natural ingredients” do not necessarily mean quality ingredients, or healthy ingredients. These commercially processed foods continue to be a main source of food supply for our society because of the cost concerns, and lack of consumer knowledge about the effects of substitute ingredients – even though studies and statistics show these foods cause severe health problems in pandemic proportions. These food products usually have a higher ratio of empty calories, resulting in weight gain and severe obesity.
Since processed foods has a major impact on the human diet, it’s only common sense that the best way to fight obesity and poor health is by eliminating or greatly decreasing the amount of processed foods consumed on a daily basis, and increasing the amount of whole raw and living foods into the diet.
Hydration, or the lack of, is another essential key to eliminating disease and illness, and fighting obesity, increasing energy input and output, and overall health and well-being. Hydration is actually more essential to life than food. We can live without food – people fast all the time. But living without water is next to impossible – it leads to death. So water is the number one “food source” needed for survival. When you get right down to it, whole foods – living and raw foods are essentially filled with water – they are hydrated because they are filled with life force energy. So ultimately, water creates that energy input/output that helps our bodies assimilate the nutrient-rich food we eat in order to properly fuel and heal our bodies. Have you ever seen a healthy dehydrated being before? I haven’t. When something is dehydrated, the life force has actually been sucked out of them – term, “suck the life out of them!”
Now that we know how food and drink impacts our energy input and output, what about lifestyle? Diet is actually a part of lifestyle. Your food choices are a part of “how you live”. What you do with your time, such as working, sleeping, exercising, how you handle stress, all these things are considered a part of your “lifestyle”. If the body does not get enough rest and relaxation, the body can not properly function, leading to poor digestion, brain dysfunction, and so forth. The body needs rest to heal properly. If you don’t exercise or at least move, stretch, breath, your body can not properly function due to the lack of oxygen and blood flow moving to all the parts of the body. Also, physical movement helps keep the body flexible, strong, and safe from injury. If you don’t stimulate your brain by reading, interacting, speaking, or watching, the brain becomes unhealthy, and eventually turns to “mush”. Without a properly functioning brain the body would not have the right signals to health and protect itself. If you don’t have your emotions in check, this too can create stress on the body, causing “false alarms”, and interfere with the body’s natural process for healing and thriving. You see, overall balance in your lifestyle, which includes diet and movement, mind over body, body over mind, all equate to good health and well-being. When these things are not in check obesity results, diabetes and disease results, and ultimately death.
So now that we understand the importance of how our diet and lifestyle impacts our health and well-being, doesn’t it make sense to focus on what we eat and how we live for ultimate happiness and success? It’s really quite simple. It just takes the commitment and desire to make that change, to take that first step, to take back control over your own life, and thrive once again!