Here's the latest from The Skinny Daily Post; I subscribe to these emails, and just love them. Now that I think about it, I think Julie Ridl posts them here at 3FC as well! I highly recommend checking them out, if you haven't already -- she's great! I thought this one was particularly good (she even quotes a personal hero of mine, Dr. Andrew Weil!) and I wanted to share it with you guys.
“It’s not an obesity epidemic we’re facing, it’s an epidemic of poor nutrition.” Dr. Andrew Weil (www.drweil.com
) is stumping the country, talking about his recent work and research on the diseases of aging folks. And this is his main message: Obesity is just one outcome of a malnutrition epidemic.
It’s a compelling argument. We’re seeing the statistics on all sorts of health problems burst their seams these days, every year beating their records from the years previously. You’ve heard the headlines. There’s an Alzheimer’s epidemic, a Parkinson’s epidemic, a Diabetes epidemic, epidemics of asthma, heart disease, cancers, osteoarthritis.
It’s not just that the baby boomers are getting older, it’s that we’re getting older and sicker, faster. While that’s happening, our kids are getting sicker faster and earlier, too. These alarming trends have bolstered our inclination to study and fight back, disease by disease.
What are we learning? In many cases, we find “environmental factors,” folks. That means the stuff we encounter and ingest by eating and breathing and being in the world, the way we live and the way we eat matter. We’ve altered our food supply too much, going too far to make food more convenient, shippable, storable. We’re consuming things we shouldn’t, and not getting enough of things we should. We’re imbalanced, overexposed, under nourished.
Above all, we’ve made nutrition-free foods far more available and less expensive than nutritious food. We’ve also made it more cool.
We’ve made it a matter of style to avoid and restrict human movement. In the constant rush toward convenience and comfort and safety, we create a kind of hip inertia that is more dangerous than any threat out there, a cool inertia that can kill people early. Our kids are confined from birth and given virtual experiences and places to explore by television, computer, or gaming device. They live in a state of suspended animation interspersed with commercials that reinforce further inertia and massive consumption of poor quality food. Best intentions are beaten down by daily need and chaos.
Here’s the deal. Despite the effort, despite the difficulties, despite the sheer impossibility of it, we have to turn the clock back, or invent new trends. It has to become groovy to move, hip to eat whole foods, slick to cook from fresh produce at the end of the day. Somehow we need to make healthier habits the hipper and more desirable choice.
I’m encouraged by small signs. Canteen, the vending food giant, is making plans to introduce healthier foods in their machines. Ruby Tuesday gave up trans-fats in their recipes. There are rap stars making health habits lyrical. Couples and family and kid cooking classes spring up all over the country.
Eating better and moving more will fix a lot of what ails us. (A multivitamin, omega-3, and magnesium supplements are good insurance, too.) Helping kids and new parents understand that eating well and moving more are always the best choices… that’s everybody’s job.