The foods eaten by most Westerners today bear little resemblance to the foods our hunter-gatherer ancestors ate. And our lifestyles are equally non-reflective of our roots. Our bodies evolved to weather the cycles of feast and famine; to accumulate body fat easily in order to make it through times when food was scarce. But the famine never comes now, so all we have is the feast. And feast upon feast upon feast adds up to a LOT of extra body fat.
68 percent of U.S. adults are now overweight or obese
Hunter-gatherers consumed foods with high nutrition and low calories. Today, most Americans are getting the converse—high calories and low nutrition. Many are overfed, yet starving to death. Their bodies are accumulating fat and pollutants from intentional AND unintentional contaminants in our food supply, causing their biological systems to shut down and be vulnerable to a variety of chronic diseases.
Adding to the caloric excess is an exercise deficit
As a culture, we’ve gotten away from farms and moved to cities, adopting an indoor lifestyle that expends far fewer calories. Instead of walking, we ride in cars. Instead of running from tigers, we chase cursors around a screen. We have completely lost touch with where our food comes from and what goes into creating it. Our very relationship with food has changed, and not for the better.
Processed food has become a multi-billion dollar industry that dangles the carrot of “convenience.” However, the price you pay for convenience is your very health and vitality. Hungry For Change exposes the dark side of the food industry’s marketing plan—namely, the addition of certain chemicals that secretly can get you addicted and make you a perpetual customer (they hope). You can probably already see the parallels with the tobacco industry that, in the 1960s, began increasing the nicotine level in cigarettes, which kept smokers coming back for more.
One example of an addictive food additive is MSG (monosodium glutamate), which is added to 80 percent of all flavored foods. MSG excites the part of your brain that’s in charge of your fat programs. MSG is what’s known as an excitotoxin, but it’s also used to fatten up mice for scientific study. Yes, MSG is the perfect obesity drug. If you want to achieve your ideal body weight and health, avoid MSG at all costs.
Sweeteners, both artificial and sugar-derived, top the list of addictive additives. But artificial sweeteners are the absolute WORST things you can put in your body. Consider aspartame, sold under the brand names NutraSweet and Equal. Diet cola, which often combines aspartame and caffeine, is the perfectly addictive beverage. These two agents create a very unique but deadly combination of Excitotoxins that kill off your brain cells. However, before they do so, they go out with a bang by giving you something akin to a buzz. It’s the perfect plan to get you to go back to the store to buy another soda. And maybe a supersized soda—after all, it has ZERO calories, no matter how much you consume!
But not so fast. You are sipping your way into a trap.
Studies now show that, in spite of their zero-calorie status, many artificial sweeteners actually cause weight GAIN because they stimulate your body to crave carbohydrates. But weight gain may be the least of your worries. Aspartame causes formaldehyde to build up in your brain, which results in all sorts of potentially serious medical problems, including:
|Frontal lobe inflammation||Visual disturbances||Migraines|
|A syndrome similar to multiple sclerosis||Seizures||Cognitive problems|
|Chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia||Symptoms similar to Parkinson’s disease||Symptoms similar to attention deficit disorder|
In fact, pilots’ associations are aware of the visual disturbances and caution pilots to avoid using aspartame due to its potential to compromise their ability to pilot a plane.
The food industry claims that aspartame is safe. However, if you look at the studies that claim to support aspartame’s safety, you will see that 90 percent of them were funded by the food and beverage industry.
When you examine independent aspartame studies, it’s a totally different story. Ninety percent of those have found serious health problems related to aspartame. The FDA merely evaluates the studies that the industry submits—it doesn’t have a team of researchers conducting those studies itself, contrary to what you might think.
Feeding Your Child Sugar Can Be a Highly Addictive Habit
American children are consuming about ten times as much sugar as they were a century ago, especially in the form of fructose (primarily in the form of high fructose corn syrup). Fructose is the average American’s largest source of calories. This comes as no surprise, as it’s highly addictive. The prevalence of fructose in the Western diet is a very significant factor driving today’s obesity epidemic.
Much of the fructose in processed foods and beverages is in the form of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS).
You’ll find high fructose corn syrup in an alarming number of everyday products—bread, salad dressing, pasta sauce, infant formula, and nearly all processed foods. In these highly concentrated, highly refined forms, fructose can have some very serious metabolic effects that wreak havoc on your body and make it difficult to escape the addictive cycle. Because it’s so energy-dense, putting HFCS in your body is like putting jet fuel into an automobile engine—you’ll burn it out.
When you consume something so high in sugar, your pancreas must secrete large amounts of insulin to bring down your bloodsugar level. And all of that sugar is turned into fat so it can be stored. Insulin is in fact a fat-producing hormone. But the problems from sugar don’t stop there.
Sugar is a drug. It causes a beta-endorphin rush in your brain, stimulating the production of morphine-like chemicals. When you’re feeling down or under stress, it’s natural to want to eat foods that lift your mood. Sugar fits the bill as a “comfort food,” given its morphine-like physiological effects. And like any drug, your body can become habituated, meaning you will require more sugar over time to get the same sugar high.
Sugar is actually is similar to cocaine in many respects.
Both are highly refined, chemically manipulated agents that are derived from natural, harmless plants—it’s the extremely concentrated forms that are dangerous and addictive to your body. Cocaine is made from coca leaves, which are not in and of themselves harmful and have been used nutritionally for hundreds of years in South America. If you want to be healthy, you MUST take control of your sugar intake so that it doesn’t take control over you.
Diets Don’t Work
Diets really don’t work. Although most people have heard this admonition before, many are still unable to resist the temptation. “Dieting” is a multi-million dollar industry itself and does some powerful marketing to lure you in. However, studies are clear that 90 to 95 percent of dieters gain back the weight they lose, and THEN some. Dieting is a temporary fix… do you want to be temporarily healthy? Of course not! You want to be permanently healthy. So, you have to make some permanent lifestyle changes.
Every time you lose weight by dieting, your body will be triggered into trying to protect you from the effects of another “famine” in the future, so it will add some extra body fat as insurance. You may lose 10 pounds on a diet, but you’ll gain back 15 or 20. Dieting is a physiologically flawed concept and sets you up for failure.
Fake-Foods of the Western World
People of vastly different cultures and environments thrive on all sorts of diets, from high fat and high protein to high carbohydrate; some mostly animal products and others largely vegetarian. Yet, as varied as native diets are, most native populations have very low rates of chronic disease when compared with Americans and other Western cultures. Eskimos thrive on diets rich in animal fat and muscle and organ meats, but tropical natives thrive on abundant fresh plants, fish and fruit. Yet both cultures are healthy!
So what’s the common denominator?
Native diets consist mostly of natural, whole foods (whether plant- or animal-based) rather than processed foods that come in a box or a can. Americans are eating overcooked, overprocessed and chemically manipulated fake foods, instead of REAL foods.
Native diets, in general, are largely made up of whole vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, and meats. Not cooked down, refined, dehydrated and reconstituted, boxed-up pretend foods that aren’t really foods at all. Eating wisely requires a gradual transition toward the consumption of natural, whole foods that are unaltered by a lab. The closer to nature a food is, the more nutritious it will be. A change away from the cultural “norm” won’t be accomplished over night. Start gradually. As good foods are added into your diet, bad foods will eventually be crowded out.
Four Other Critical Factors for Achieving Optimal Health
Choosing which foods to eat is important, but other lifestyle factors must be addressed as well. Besides making better food choices, there are four other key factors you must consider if you want to achieve your optimal level of health.
1. Exercise: Exercise creates the same mood-elevating chemicals that sugar does—but with positive metabolic effects. Exercise helps metabolize your stress hormones, reduces hunger, improves sleep, strengthens bones and joints, and causes your body to release growth hormone—and many other health benefits.
2. Detoxification/Cleansing: As you burn off body fat, you must also detoxify, because most chemicals are lipophilic (fat-loving) and are lodged in fat cells. If you don’t do something to remove these toxins from your body while losing weight, toxins can be reabsorbed into your bloodstream and potentially cause health problems.
Fortunately, your body will detoxify itself if there is no toxicity coming in. Chlorophyll-rich foods such as organic green vegetables, gelatinous plant foods like aloe and chia seeds, seaweeds, chlorella, cilantro and parsley can help with this. Make sure to drink plenty of pure water, as this is essential to your body’s cleansing processes. Juicing may also be of benefit. Avoid all chemicals, additives, and preservatives. If a product’s shelf life is longer than your life, don’t eat it!
3. Sleep: Sleep allows your body to repair and rebuild. Deep sleep is a great way to neutralize stress hormones. Stress increases fluid retention—you can gain two pounds in body fluids just from one night of poor sleep due to stress.
4. Stress Management: Stress changes your body chemistry, and will prompt you to eat, out of your body’s not knowing what else to do. It’s one of your body’s ways of protecting you. Stress raises your levels of cortisol and epinephrine, which can result in weight gain. If you don’t believe this, just talk to anyone taking Prednisone, a pharmaceutical steroid similar to cortisol. They often gain 20 to 30 pounds, no matter what they’re eating.
A favorite overall tool to manage stress is EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique), which is like acupuncture without the needles. It’s a handy tool for unloading emotional baggage quickly and painlessly, and so easy that children can learn it.
And it’s FREE! Also free, laughter is great medicine because it decreases stress chemicals and pain.
Another powerful tool for creating positive change in your life is visualization, which is the “language” of the subconscious. When you create a visual image of how you’d like to look or feel, your subconscious will understand and begin to help you by making the needed biochemical and neurological changes.
These are just some of the suggestions that will help you along your way. I highly recommend taking the time to watch Hungry For Change, which offers you even more information than what I’ve presented above. Remember that if you treat your body well, it will return the favor. Your body is worthy of good care and that no one is more suitably qualified to care for it than yourself.
You can also ‘Watch Hungry For Change’ – on Netflix.com