Obesity is a growing problem facing America today. According to the CDC, 33% of all adults and 17% of all children are obese. In Georgia, that rate is 29% for both groups together. The statistic that stands out the most, 1 in 3 lower income pre-schoolers are obese under 5. These children could have problems like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, type 2 diabetes and the social disorders of being obese as a child.
Why? Why is there such a big problem? It starts with our food sources. Today in America, our top soils are depleted; large factory farms only feed plants macro minerals (calcium, nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, some of which are petroleum based) and a cocktail of pesticide chemicals to grow our fruits and vegetables. Our animals eat grain, which are Genetically Modified, and grown with the aforementioned chemicals as well. Where is the nutrition in this picture? Nowhere. Then what’s the purpose of growing all of this food? Strictly volume to feed the masses.
So now we understand that most of the conventionally grown fruits and veggies we eat are nutritionally depleted, what else is the problem? Over eating. Yeah, that’s too simple an answer. How about over eating foods that have no or very little nutrition. Ok, that is the other part of the problem. When we eat....let’s say a chicken tender salad, what can the body use from that?
Iceberg lettuce - Not much nutrition, mostly water and sprayed with pesticide to prevent insect infestation.
Shredded Carrots - better, but again, grown in depleted soil with three - four minerals. Usually shredded in a processing plant and washed with chlorine based water solution to prevent bacteria and mold. Yum...
Pre-cut Bell Peppers - see carrots...
Chicken Tenders or Nuggets - Chicken parts formed to make a tender or nugget, or let’s give it the benefit of the doubt, real chicken breast strips, breaded and fried with partially hydrogenated oils (more than likely). Where does the chicken come from? A confinement factory with between 30,000-100,000 other chickens. They breathe in ammonia, fecal particles and bedding dust. The fecal particles perforate the mucus membrane opening the door wide open for infection. But wait, antibiotics to the rescue. Of course, just for safe measure. The skin and fat of the chicken absorb and store these contaminates and antibiotics which in turn get passed on to you. So, that chicken is getting a little tougher to swallow.
Salad Dressing - You choose, I'll guess the basic ingredients - High Fructose Corn Syrup, partially hydrogenated soybean oil, xanthan gum, sodium benzoate and other words I can't pronounce. I might be off on one or two, but I'll bet most of these are in a bottle that isn't natural or organic.
This healthy salad is not so much anymore. What is the body using to strengthen its immune system and fight disease, build muscle, keep the mind sharp and fight aging? Very little.
When we eat foods like the salad above, we tend to over eat or stay hungry. The reason is the body hasn't received adequate nutrition, thus the desire to eat more which causes excess storage of fat around the stomach, hips and arms.
Lastly, exercise, though I can't see anyone being motivated after eating a meal like that. In the age of adults and kids alike fighting for control of the all-powerful video game controller, the only thing being exercised is the thumb. Just being active outside is a step in the right direction.
What can you do to change?
• Teach your kids when they’re young the importance of eating good food and it will stick (sometimes with constant encouragement).
• Grow a garden. You’ll get exercise and healthy food to boot!
As for us, we face many tough food decisions just like many of you. There are days where a Mexican restaurant or grocery store's baked/fried chicken will have to do because we have nothing left. It happens. Just too tired to prepare a wholesome meal from all of the wonderful veggies we grow. But I will tell you, the guilt weighs on us because we know better. My advice is to make a conscience effort to do the best you can. Knowing is half the battle, implementation and follow through are the toughest.