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Food Matters ~ You Are What You Eat October 26, 2011

Posted by nrhatch in Food & Drink, Health & Wellness, Sustainable Living.

We watched a fascinating documentary last night ~ Food Matters.

With a staggering number of Americans suffering from obesity and other food-related maladies, this film takes a timely and hard-hitting look at how the food we eat is helping or hurting our health, and what we can do to live (and eat) better.

Nutritionists, naturopaths, scientists, doctors, medical journalists and more weigh in on everything from using food as medicine to the value of organic food and the safety of the food we consume.

While I’m not persuaded by everything they said in the movie, the underlying premise makes sense  . . . when we eat better, we feel better.

Instead of popping pills to cure our ills . . . we need to EAT BETTER FOOD. 

The human body is capable of curing a vast variety of ills . . . IF we provide it with the basic building blocks of nutrition: vitamins, minerals, fiber, and anti-oxidants to remove free radicals.

Food Matters opines that we can reverse conditions such as heart disease (high fiber, low fat diet), depression (3,000 mg niacin), cancer (IV’s of Vitamin C), and stress-induced illnesses (instead of Prozac, eat cashews) through improved diet, increased exercise, and better nutrition.  

If they’re correct, why don’t we hear more about natural cures?  Well . . .

* Medical schools don’t highlight nutrition as a vehicle for better health.
* Pharmaceutical companies get rich by pumping us full of drugs.
* Better health makes sense for us . . . but it doesn’t make anybody rich.

These days, TV commercials push prescription drugs as “cures” ~ the drugs  address symptoms rather than eliminating the cause of disease.  Instead of making changes to address the underlying imbalance, we are encouraged to take drugs for high blood pressure, depression, high cholesterol, and auto-immune diseases (such as fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis, and lupus).

And we pay a price for all that pill popping ~ both at the drugstore and from increased mortality rates.  Each year, more than 100,000 Americans die from taking prescription medications as prescribed. 

In contrast, the side effects of nutritional therapy are negligible since there are very few documented deaths from eating fruits, vegetables, and grains.

What if changing our diets and sedentary lifestyles could CURE our chronic health  problems and IMPROVE our overall fitness, health and well-being?

Would that be worth exploring?

I think so. 

As I delve more into diet and nutrition in coming posts, please join the discussion with questions, comments, suggestions, links, ideas, tips and techniques.

Let’s eat better so we can feel better.

Quote to Ponder: Let thy food be thy medicine and thy medicine be thy food. ~ Hippocrates

Related posts:  Let’s Move It * Exercise, Exercise, Exercise * Get out!Great Nutrition Starts On Your Plate * 10 Ways to Fiber Up Your Diet * Only A Fool Would Say That * Food, Inc. * Things You Should Know ~ Food Matters (Small Town Revelations) * Top Ten Reasons To Become A Vegetarian (AgriGirl)


1. BrainRants - October 26, 2011

I am what I eat… hmm. Guess that makes me a big, warm can of buttery bacon soaking in beer. Alliteration not intentional.

nrhatch - October 26, 2011

Hmm . . . does that make you a porker with a beer belly? 😆

2. Marion Driessen - October 26, 2011

Interesting post. I’m definitely going to follow your findings on healthy food.

nrhatch - October 26, 2011

I’m not certain how I plan to approach this . . . but as I research a topic, I will share what I’ve learned.

Thanks for joining me on this journey of discovery.

3. erikarroyo - October 26, 2011

Most of these diseases that we are plagued with today were not a common problem one-hundred or even fifty years ago. It is directly tied in to food. We are now consuming an extraordinary amount of chemicals, preservatives, additives, dyes, hormones and ‘mystery meat’. The FDA has been compromised at the expense of the public welfare. I am currently writing an article for my blog discussing this issue specifically. Thank you for voicing your thoughts on this matter, I commend you on a beautiful post.

PS: If you are what you eat, that makes me a custom made salad from vegetables grown in my garden.

nrhatch - October 26, 2011

One issue is the fact that we are living longer. When the average life expectancy was 45 (instead of 75), diseases of “old age” had less time to blossom and grow.

The way we eat has deteriorated drastically as we’ve switched from home grown food to what agri-business offers us. Families used to grow food in their own yards, without a massive infusion of pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides. Now, most of us buy mass produced, genetically altered, nutritionally deficient “crap.”

The more we educate ourselves . . . the more power we have when voting with our pocketbooks. The more we support local organic farmers, the more farms will switch to that manner of production.

4. suzicate - October 26, 2011

I almost watched that same documentary last night…I think it’s the same one (Netflix), but didn’t feel like staying up
I am what I eat….orange chicken!

nrhatch - October 26, 2011

It is NOT the best food documentary I’ve seen, but it is quite interesting ~ others to watch Food, Inc., Ingredients, DIRT, and King Corn.

Today, I’m a bean burrito with fresh red pepper, carrots, lettuce, and tomatoes . . . and tabbouli with mint, olive oil, carrots, red pepper, and tomato . . . and an apple!

5. Chad - October 26, 2011

The majority of arable land is owned by agri-business mega corporations who have no interest whatsoever in producing healthy food for the masses. We’re screwed.

nrhatch - October 26, 2011

Well . . . if we STOP buying the crap they’re growing, and ask them to change their planting strategy, maybe we won’t be permanently screwed. 😉

6. souldipper - October 26, 2011

2 1/2 years ago, I began an alkaline life style. I walk each morning for at least a half hour.

For the first time since middle age years, I don’t have to diet. I eat the food I love, I eat as much as I like and if I “fall off the style”, I just climb back on without regrets.

What you wrote is so valid, Nancy. What we eat determines health in every aspect of living. It’s hard to believe I spent so many years doing business travel and eating what was available instead of what my body wanted and needed. I’m extremely grateful that I have come through poor eating habits with good health.

nrhatch - October 26, 2011

Since I’ve been a vegetarian for over 13 years, I’m on the right track ~ my arthritis is improved, my high blood pressure is gone (currently 110/70), and my mood is better.

But . . . I see room for improvement and plan to move into Phase 2 (in which, to quote the Fab Four, Doris gets her oats).

7. Piglet in Portugal - October 26, 2011

Three weeks ago I started the anti imflammatory diet. No Gluten and no Dairy and I feel great and I’m, losing weight

I no longer crave sugar because I know I can eat honey if I have a sweet craving. I also make my own cakes using veg based products rather than butter and as far as possible brown sugar/honey.

I am now also querying where all my meat comes from as alot of dairy products are pumped full of **ap.

The diet is changing my life and my attitude to food.

nrhatch - October 26, 2011

That’s awesome, PiP. Some of the critiques of this movie scoffed at the idea that diet plays a part in our health and well-being. To them, I say . . . Try It, You Might Like It.

Sounds like you are definitely on the right track.

One reason I became a vegetarian is because of the unhealthy manner in which we produce poultry, pork, and beef. It was easier to jettison it from my diet than try to figure out whether the animals had been massively dosed with anti-biotics and growth hormones due to sub-standard living arrangements.

Piglet in Portugal - October 26, 2011

Not sure I can go veggie yet but red meat is beginning to repulse me.

I say to the critics…”*******”

and don’t count the stars for clues!

nrhatch - October 26, 2011

We started by cutting out Veal . . . then Beef . . . then Pork . . . then Poultry . . . then most fish and shellfish . . . then Milk . . . then Eggs.

We took it one choice, one step, one meal at a time.

8. Cindy - October 26, 2011

We really need to start reading labels and eat food that is the very least interfered with! Great post, Nancy!

nrhatch - October 26, 2011

I’m going to do more of just that. I just reorganized my pantry to put the “unhealthy” stuff (packaged mixes, sweets, and empty calories) on the top shelf and the healthiest stuff (grains and beans) at eye level.

I’m also going to pick at least one new recipe a week to try and expand our diversity of intake.

9. johnell74 - October 26, 2011

The engineering principle applies, Nancy. If calories in exceed calories out, it has to be stored somewhere.
Training our appetites to eat less is a good start, but oh, not so easy for many. The same applies to exercise – not so easy.

nrhatch - October 26, 2011

And it’s not just an issue of being overweight ~ thin people often have medical issues which could be cured or improved upon with better choices in the foods they eat and in the lifestyle choices they make.

10. Carl D'Agostino - October 26, 2011

Today’s teens know all this stuff and the food pyramid and nutrition from early grades . Yet it’s macfood at almost every meal. Fully half of the 16-18 year old girls is my classes were in the 200-300 + pound range. In my effort to lose 20 pounds I am really angry because I have eaten no ice cream, cake or pastry for 7 weeks and have lost just 2 pounds.

nrhatch - October 26, 2011

Keep at it, Carl. The older we are, the more sluggish our metabolisms become.

Best things to omit ~ white flour, white sugar, white rice, white potatoes, and most meat and dairy

Best things to add ~ fruits, veggies, whole grains, nuts, seeds, beans

Good luck!

11. Rufus' Food and Spirits Guide - October 26, 2011

I think this is the one I keep seeing at the library. I need to check it out.

nrhatch - October 26, 2011

It’s quite interesting.

As documentaries go, it’s a bit heavy on anecdotal evidence (“because we say so”) and a bit light on actual scientific proof. But it still inspired me to start being still more careful about what I shovel into my mouth.

We’ve paired a few too many “grilled cheese on toscano pano” with potato chips lately. 😉

12. Julie - October 26, 2011

I haven’t seen this documentary, but will put it in my Netflix queue right away.

I think the problem with natural healing via food is that people view it as too complex. How are we SURE we’ve gotten the right mix of vitamins, antioxidants, fiber, etc. We’ve been trained to think it’s easier to pop a pill.

nrhatch - October 26, 2011

We have definitely been socialized to let “them” take care of IT for us . . . but THEY aren’t taking care of IT.

It is up to us to accept responsibility for the choices we make with respect to exercise, diet, and lifestyle.

If we don’t, it’s clear that Big Brother won’t either.

13. Maggie L R - October 26, 2011

Great post. Several years ago I had a ‘Shock” to my body I realized I was slowly killing myself. I went on the South Beach Diet. It is actually based on whole grains and lots of veggies. It is amazing how much healthier I became, I lost 60 lbs and am now addicted to a healthy lifestye. I do fall off the wagon now and then, but hey, I am only human. Organic is expensive, but can wwe really put a price on our health? So much chemicals and artificial colours and flavours when the real food is colourful and full of flavour, lets eat the real deal.
Do not put the “bad” stuff on the high shelf, put it in the garbage where it belongs.

nrhatch - October 26, 2011

Well, I would toss them if I lived alone (and probably wouldn
t have bought them in the first place), but I share my life (and the pantry) with someone who wants snack foods around . . . at least a bit longer. 😉

Good for you for turning your life around and losing all that extra weight. That’s a major accomplishment! 😀

14. Andra Watkins - October 26, 2011

Great post, Nancy. I am looking forward to this series. I deplore pill-popping and our propensity to try to solve everything that way. I hope I learn something in the coming days.

nrhatch - October 26, 2011

In the past, I have refused to fill prescriptions when I felt there was a better more natural way to deal with the issue.

Not sure exactly how I plan to break this massively important issue down, but I think I may tackle one topic a day (e.g., water, iron, Vitamin C, niacin, etc.) in detail, rather than using a broad brush approach that barely skims the surface.

I’m excited about learning a bit more about what I’ve been putting into my body.

15. kateshrewsday - October 26, 2011

Really thought provoking, Nancy. Beneath this is issue are the choices people make, and why they make them. I think sometimes when people are under stress they eat different things in different amounts. We all need a way to slow down, listen to our bodies, and begin to live in step with the rhythm of the earth. That way, the right food choices will be a foregone conclusion.

nrhatch - October 26, 2011

I agree. And we should allow ourselves latitude to eat our favorite comfort foods from time to time. No reason to turn into food Nazis in our own kitchens. The goal is moderation, balance, and making better choices MOST of the time.

Progress, not perfection.

16. Maggie - October 26, 2011

I think we tend to run our bodies into the ground, then once we’re feeling the effects of our bad eating/exercise habits, we take a whole bunch of pills to make our ailments go away. It’s a pattern I’ve noticed.

nrhatch - October 26, 2011

My parents are on so many different medications that I decided years ago to avoid that road as long as possible.

I brought my blood pressure down to 110/70 with better diet and exercise. I vastly improved my “depression” by learning to control my thoughts and think positively.

And it’s been 11 years since a rheumatologist suggested anti-inflammatory medicine ~ I have less stiffness now than I did then (I expect from all the anti-oxidants I get in our vegetarian diet) and I’ve yet to pay a dime for arthritis medicine.

But I’ve gotten a bit sloppy lately about some areas of our diet and there is definitely room for improvement and further education. So that shall be the focus.

17. bluebee - October 26, 2011

I recently saw first-hand the direct effects that a change of diet can have on physical & mental health, weight and energy when someone in my family became a vegan – the positive transformation is utterly astounding. I don’t think I could ever go vegan but it has certainly encouraged me to eat more plant-based foods and less of the animal-based fare

nrhatch - October 26, 2011

We are largely vegan ~ no milk, no eggs, and no meat. We still eat cheese, butter, ice cream, and sour cream, but we’re working on phasing them out too (at least most of the time).

We just went grocery shopping and filled the cart with 24 different types of fruits and veggies and fruit juice. We also bought whole grain pasta, whole grain pancake mix, whole grain bread, sunflower seeds, olives, and soy milk.

It really helps that both of us LOVE fruits and veggies, and that we don’t miss meat.

18. CMSmith - October 26, 2011

It seems to me that people today are becoming healthier, or at least trying to. I think there is much more information around than say 20 years ago. My kids seems a lot more concerned about their health and what they eat than I was when I was their age. So I think there is hope.

I know all the right things and I believe what they say is true. The soul is willing, the flesh is weak.

nrhatch - October 26, 2011

I would agree with the statement that SOME people are making better choices about what they put into their bodies at least SOME of the time. But, on the whole, we are a nation whose average Food I.Q. is sorely lacking.

Either that, or we have lots of “weak flesh” to go along with our flabby bottoms and muffin tops. 😉

19. pix & kardz - October 26, 2011

makes lots of sense. eating healthy goes a long way in maintaining health. also, i have heard – didn’t research to verify, so please don’t quote me 🙂 – that in China patients pay their doctors only if they are healthy.

nrhatch - October 27, 2011

Most doctors in the US would go broke, eh? 😉

20. jannatwrites - October 27, 2011

I think what we eat absolutely affects our bodies. When I cut back on sugar, I feel much better and have so much more energy. I read labels on just about everything and love it when I find products that aren’t pumped full of artificial dyes and sugars.

Good luck tackling this subject!

nrhatch - October 27, 2011

I’ve decided not to “tackle” it in one fell swoop . . . I’m going to “nibble” away at the vast reservoirs of knowledge on our nutritional needs and share what I learn. 😀

We went out for dessert the idea . . . for BFF’s birthday. We both felt bad for the rest of the day. Probably the last time that we’ll eat dessert first. 😯

21. eof737 - October 27, 2011

Even with great nutrition, our bodies will still go through their changes…and health issues. I’ll still advocate a healthy diet any day. 😉

nrhatch - October 27, 2011

I took what was said in this video with a grain of salt . . . because not all health issue relate to diet.

For example, when a tiny toddler gets cancer . . . I don’t believe that his or her diet caused the cancer. There’s something else causing that “malfunction.”

No matter how well maintained, cars won’t last forever . . . but a well maintained car, on average, lasts longer than one that is neglected ~ unless it crashes. The same goes for us.

We need regular maintenance ~ the right fuel, the right amount of exercise to avoid clogging our carburators, and frequent “oil changes.”

22. Tilly Bud - October 27, 2011

We eat as healthily as possible but a tiny budget leaves us with few options. We have to buy the cheapest (factory farmed) eggs, the marked down items that might not be our first choice. Trying to grow our own veg cost us more than we could afford.

Everything in moderation, plenty of exercise, and hope for the best.

nrhatch - October 27, 2011

Have you researched any dietary suggestions for those with Chronic Fatique Syndrome, Tilly?

As BlueBee said:

I recently saw first-hand the direct effects that a change of diet can have on physical & mental health, weight and energy when someone in my family became a vegan – the positive transformation is utterly astounding.

Might be worth looking into. If I come across anything, I’ll let you know.

23. Pocket Perspectives - October 29, 2011

I would probably really benefit from being more proactive in what I’m eating. I eat very little that’s unhealthy, but neither do I take the time or energy to eat many fruits and veggies. I tend to just eat what’s here… My husband eats lunch/dinners etc out a lot for business and clubs etc, so I tend to grab the almond butter and wheat bread and be content with that. It’s hard to get energized about food. BUT…..parts and pieces wear out faster without good care…so maybe your ideas will get me going. Thanks for the many good ideas and posts about choosing better foods.

nrhatch - October 29, 2011

I do not eat as well when I eat alone. A few suggestions:

* Make a big pot of vegetable soup, chili, curry, or a veggie rice casserole, and freeze in 2 cup portions. Just pair with bread.

* Set up a “salad bar” in your fridge so you can just toss things into a bowl with some lettuce. I have separate containers of ready to go carrots, pepper, celery, olives, broccoli, corn, beans, etc.

* I also keep salad fixins’ in the pantry ~ almonds, raisins, sunflower seeds, etc.

Bon Appetit!

Pocket Perspectives - October 29, 2011

Good ideas….thanks!

nrhatch - October 29, 2011

Another option ~ make a lasagna. I made one tonight that will feed us 4x! It’s got tomatoes, onions, peppers, zucchini, carrots, celery, and spinach in it. It’s a veritable GARDEN! 😀

I’ll freeze 1/2 the leftovers for two quick meals down the road.

24. Judith - November 1, 2011

Great ideas Nancy particularly about the salad bar in the fridge. I make a lot of vegetable soup and pair it with crusty bread. Don’t need butter with that. But now I am off to set up my salad bar. Thanks for the suggestions.

nrhatch - November 1, 2011

I love my salad bar in the fridge ~ used it today for lunch. I usually keep carrot and celery sticks in big pieces and dice them at the last minute so they don’t dry out.

I also keep peanuts, sunflower seeds, raisins, and croutons in the pantry . . . ready to sprinkle on top for extra protein and/or crunch.

25. jeanne - November 1, 2011

I have always heard I should drink 8 glasses of water everyday…but no-one explained the benefits of drinking water. I have increased my consumption of water and I am experiencing the benefits of more limber joints.

nrhatch - November 1, 2011

Our bodies need lots of water for hydration, perspiration, circulation, digestion, elimination, and lubrication.

Many of us are dehydrated which causes the body to work harder and less efficiently. So . . . drink up!

26. Forks Over Knives | Spirit Lights The Way - September 23, 2013

[…] Age of Mis-Information * Great Nutrition Starts On Your Plate * 10 Ways to Fiber Up Your Diet * Food Matters ~ You Are What You Eat * Only A Fool Would Say […]

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