One of my favourite points that Jamie Oliver makes in this video, is when he said “If America does it, I believe other people will follow.” He is exactly right. We are leaders. Yes, we still are. And right now we are leading the world right down the john. It’s time to start thinking about what we can do to change this.
I had someone ask me the other day while we were talking about diet,
“Have you been skinny all your life?”
What a question. I felt awkward, strange, saddened. This person had asked me a question about my “image” as though I was a novelty. As though it wasn’t normal for a person to be skinny. So many people in the world, in our country, are struggling with their weight — that is what is unnatural (but it’s not their fault — it’s all of ours). The human, by nature, should be skinny. They should be able to walk up a flight of stairs without being winded, be able to bend over to pick up something that they’ve dropped with out stressing or groaning. A walk across town should not sound like a chore, & my goodness…eating vegetables should not be a punishment or something one submits to do unwillingly. Look at what we’re doing to ourselves!
While we’re on the subject of vegetables; parents cram these things down their kids’ throats thinking that if they get them there then their children will be healthy. But what they don’t necessarily know is that the vegetables they prepare might be just as bad for them as donuts, or ice cream, or cookies (frozen, prepared store bought, & veggies that come as sides in TV dinners). Did you know that fruits, vegetables, anything that we grow, has a lifespan just as we do? I’m sure you do, but maybe not quite to the extent that I’m about to mention (I didn’t know this for a very long time either…we’re not taught this sort of thing & that’s the problem): Fruits & vegetables lose their nutritional value sometimes in a matter of days. That means, the fresher the better. Some fruits & veggies will begin to lose nutrients a day or two after they are harvested. This is bad news for so much of the produce that you find in grocery stores. So what do “they” do to stop this problem? They Genetically Modify your food (without necessarily telling you), by adding preservatives. This is why it is important to buy organic.
Organic fruits & vegetables will spoil faster because they lack the preservatives that conventional produce has, so buying locally (less shipping time means it gets to you faster & fresher) is the best thing one can do. I know I mentioned this recently, so I’ll not talk too much about it right now. No need to bore you more than I already have! What you do need to know is that any fruit or vegetable will begin to lose nutrients just by being chopped, peeled or sliced, so waiting until you are ready to eat the food is the best time to start preparing it. And, it is important also to know how to prepare your food when dinner time (or snack, breakfast, lunch, etc.) rolls around. Boiling can be completely hazardous for some foods. We all know that boiling is a good way to sterilize things, don’t we? We’re taught that hot water kills germs, but we aren’t taught that it can also kill vitamins! This is true. Vitamin C is especially delicate, so instead of boiling your broccoli I suggest steaming it, frying it lightly (with a natural organic vegetable oil, not the mysteriously nondescript “cooking spray”), or eating it raw.
BUT! Just to confuse you a little more, a completely raw diet is not necessarily the answer either! Cooking food is an important way to soften cellulose fibers & other parts of our food that can be hard for our bodies to digest. And there are some nutrients, like lycopene (which may help lower the risk of cancer & heart attacks), whose levels are actually boosted when they’re cooked. Is your head spinning yet? Mine certainly is.
I suppose the message I’m looking to send to you today is that our country is failing (miserably) at educating the general public about nutrition. We’re taught the Food Pyramid, which was recently changed & isn’t really a pyramid anymore (check it out!), but we don’t really know where to go from there. My suggestion would be to have a much more in depth look at nutrition in Health classes for school aged students. They should not only be memorizing the pyramid, but also practicing shopping, cooking, knowing what’s in the foods they eat, knowing what vitamins & minerals their bodies need (because everyone’s body is different!), & even growing their own food so that they are more connected to what exactly is going into their bodies.
And the best advice I can think to give anyone is, the fewer ingredients, the better. The Earth naturally provides us with everything that we need. We’re just mucking it all up.