Getting back to basics: Taking a look at modern “food”
Written by: Michelle Armstrong, Registered Holistic Nutritionist
From an evolutionary point of view, as humans we are supposed to consume the foods that mother earth has provided; fresh water, vegetables and fruit, seeds, legumes and whatever protein sources we could catch. All these examples of foods free of pesticides, colourings, preservatives, herbicides, stabilizes, emulsifiers, bulking agents, sweeteners, flavour enhancers, thickeners, bleaching agents and trans fats. These natural foods provide the perfect balance of vitamins, minerals and electrolytes, and it is this balance that we seem to have drifted away from. Most of us now search for balance in our busy days and find it in the convenience of processed foods. Quick, tasty and infinitely available, they seem to be the perfect answer. That is until we really look at what these ‘foods’ are and what affect they are having on our health.
According to the Heart and Stroke Foundation, Canadians of all ages get more than 20% of their caloric intake from “other foods”, which are foods not recognized by the traditional food pyramid. These “other foods” are invariably fast foods, soft drinks and baked goods, foods that are not recognized by the human body as a source of nourishment. Consider these statistics:
- On any given day 30% of kids living in North America will visit a fast food restaurant
- Over 60% of the population 18 years and older are considered clinically overweight or obese.
- According to The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition conservatively 30,000premature deaths/year in the United States are attributable to consumption of trans fatty acids.
In addition to these man-made chemicals directly contributing to increasing rates of chronic conditions, they also impede the body’s natural ability to detoxify. The saying rings true, “you are what you eat”, studies show that those who consume large quantities of trans fats, subsequently have cells made up of these very same fats. These altered cells are arguably inferior as their ability to move nutrients in and waste out is compromised. If cells are affected, it would stand to reason that so would the rest of the body.
With all the research out there to support the health consequences of consuming man-made toxins such as trans fats, why not make the decision to start new today. Fresh vegetables and fruit are packed full of disease fighting vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. In addition, whole grains and legumes provide a much needed source of fiber; these complex carbohydrates also help to regulate blood sugar levels and supply fuel for the production of energy.
No matter how you look at it, consuming foods that are whole and unprocessed are far superior than consuming “foods” that have been altered by man. Decide to make it a priority to find new balance in life by focusing on real, whole foods.
Michelle Armstrong RHN FLT
Registered Holistic Nutritionist
First Line Therapist