Monday, September 26, 2011

Change your lifestyle, don’t just diet.

Overweight and ill

It’s pretty clear that as a population, we in the developed world are losing the Battle of the Bulge.  Despite promotion of whole foods, organics or healthy food choices, the modern diet of marketed junk is winning. But maybe our past can shed some light (and weight).  The real answer may just be in our pre-urban societies. They appear to hold the key for an easier, more universal way to lose weight and perhaps theirs is the best diet for good health, weight loss and on-going lifestyle.  Or at least we can borrow heavily from traditional eating practices.

A major issue with food today is that we are breeding our cultivated, domesticated foods to be high in sugar – sweet corn, sweet tomatoes, sweet snow peas, sweet potato, and fruits are all sweet from bred in elevated levels of sucrose.

Without bitter principles in foods our digestive enzymes are less stimulated and sugars, fats and proteins are all processed less efficiently. Then, without micro-sugars, beneficial phytonutrients also get absorbed less. Luckily, antioxidants are the cure.

It has been estimated that 70% of visits to the family doctor are for conditions with a nutritional cure. Additionally, the Australian Cancer Council states that most diseases, including most cancers can be avoided with good nutrition. We now suffer from metaflammation or systemic inflammation, brought on by inducers such as consumed and environmental chemicals; internal and external stresses; exercise (too much or too little); poor diet; inadequate sleep; smoking or excessive drinking.

Food grown for profit, not nutrition

Modern foods are 1/20th as nutritionally rich as wild foods (high in many and varied
antioxidants) and most of us eat 1/10th the number of foods as did our ancestors.  What modern foods do provide in abundance is energy which is sometimes called empty calories. It’s like having fuel for your car but no oil to lubricate the moving parts.
Additionally, potatoes, beans and grains (PBGs) are probably the worst foods on which to build a nutritional framework and yet most of us, from villagers to city-dwellers, rely on eight basic foods which nearly all fall within this group.  So going back to our ideal diet, we need to get around 65% of our energy from proteins as did most hunter-gatherers and cut way back on the potatoes, beans and grains. Add back nutritionally dense foods with which we evolved which means sourcing some wild or near-wild fruits, herbs, tubers if possible and certainly game meats and seafood. Research into wild foods is proving their extreme antioxidant richness so these must be part of our optimum diet. The attempt to create a healthy diet exclusively using the foods we can find in supermarkets today is useless in protecting us from obesity, diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular diseases, mental disorders, chronic fatigue and more. Our nutrition must be supplemented with natural sources of antioxidants from some wild or minimal agriculture foods.

We also know that living a sedentary life is killing us. Fortunately, in regards to exercise, we can also borrow from our ancestors and look to short duration (5 - 10 minute) high intensity exercise 3 times a week. Ideal exercises include rowing (on a machine is easiest and engages the whole body), cycling, swimming or running.  Some weight lifting or resistance training is also recommended to stimulate joints and maintain the calcification of bones.

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