To Eat It Or Not To Eat It: Odds 'n' Ends, Bits 'n' Pieces, Tips 'n' Tidbits
By Don's Early Light, Donald J. Brix, Ph.D.
Low-fat, whole-foods, plant-based. (LFWFPB) (LOFAWHOFOPBA) (LOWFAWHOFOOPLABA). I’m dispirited by my repeated failures to conjure a pronounceable acronym for the six words that specify what’s likely the most health-promoting way of eating on the planet.
Most people don’t lose their health, it’s stolen from them by the Standard American Diet. The good news is, they can take it back. Lots of what passes for control in our daily lives is pretty tenuous, if not downright illusory. Taxes go up, plumbing clogs, air-conditioners fritz out, but what we eat, well now there’s something over which we have dominion.
The processed food businesses, the mega-industry sources of all the stuff that’s not in the produce department, i.e. most everything in the grocer’s store. That’s the bunch who would like you to believe that they’re lookin’ out for your health. You know better though.
But if you need a refresher course, take a look at Fed Up, a documentary available on DVD narrated by Katie Couric. In an earlier “edition” of this missive I said I imagine that most of the people working in mega food are good people just trying to make a living. I want to believe this, but Fed Up makes it difficult. It’ll convince you that somewhere in the corporate hierarchy of these outfits there are some nefarious players.
Marion Nestle, Ph.D., R.D., is one of the many experts featured in Fed Up. By happenstance, I’m currently reading perhaps the best known of her many books, Food Politics. On deck is Dan Buettner’s The Blue Zones Solution.
Non Sequitur by Wiley, a comic strip carried by The Dallas Morning News is recently, once again, featuring a vegan theme in the weekday strips.
“To eat it or not to eat it?” Ah yes, that is the question. Here’s my way of deciding. Commit to omitting or drastically minimizing those foods known to be, or widely suspected of being, harmful to health. If you really study this topic, animal-based foods, vegetable oils, and most processed foods won’t make it past the filter.
If you like your oats sweetened, try using a sweet, whole food which, unlike sugar or honey, buffers the glycemic impact of the fructose. Think chopped dates, raisins, or even better, though not as sweet, fresh fruit.
Exercise walking is to an overall fitness program what compost is to my garden. Full disclosure: years ago an elderly, mall-walking couple called me “Mr. Speedy.” I’ve since lost that title and adopted “consistency trumps intensity” as my motto. Notwithstanding a slower pace, my cute little aphorism still stands.
An investment opportunity awaits. I’m not alone in predicting that the numbers of people adopting a LFWFPB or at least a WFPB way of eating over the next several years will not only increase but will increase at an increasing rate. Increasing numbers of people will recognize the unmistakable health payoff, increasing numbers will find repugnant the ethical implications of needlessly taking the life of a sentient animal for no better reason than they like the way it tastes, increasing numbers will become at least concerned, perhaps rightly alarmed, at the utter planetary unsustainability of eating animals.
So I suggest that, as this massive change in the dietary habits of Americans shifts with a corresponding increase in the dietary fiber intake, the thing to do is scrape together some money and buy as many shares as you can of Kimberly-Clark, Northern, Scott Paper or whoever makes Charmin. Better yet, buy some of each, then sit back, grin, and wait until you’re flush with investment income. (Pun intended)
There’s an abundance of age and injury related ailments. Those things that, had we experienced any one of them suddenly when we were young, would make us think something really bad was happening to us. As we age, those aches and pains become so familiar that…well a neighbor once captured it cleverly when he said, “If I ever woke up and nothing was hurting I’d think I was dead.”
Lots of ‘em have prefixes and suffixes: dys, osteo, itis, osis, oma, et al. Some of them have treatment protocols. Some may help. Many don’t and turn out to be a fool’s journey. Most of them we just learn to put up with*. By and large they’re not diet-related. Most of them won’t kill us.
It’s those that are diet-related that make Americans fat and sick, physically broken before their time, and eventually result in death. You know the list: high blood pressure, atherosclerosis (cardiovascular disease), stroke, many cancers, diabetes, and some I’m probably not thinking of at the moment. “LFWFPB” that’s the “get-out-of-the-chronic-disease-jail-free” card. It’s the food, and you’re in control.
*I know, I know. Don’t end a sentence with a preposition, but I think Winston Churchill got it right when he said “That is a rule up with which I will not put.”
AND LET’S PUT THIS TO BED WITH A FINAL QUOTE
“Food companies will make and market any product that sells, regardless of its nutritional value or its effect on health.” - Marion Nestle, Ph.D., R.D., Food Politics
Good eatin’, Don