Do you feel sleepy immediately after eating a meal? Crave more yummy stuff just minutes after your lunch break? Or, my personal favorite, do you find yourself loosening a few buttons to ease the bloat in your waistline?
If you have experienced any one of these scenarios, it means the food you ate did exactly what it was created to do.
The proliferation of processed foods, steroid-injected farm animals, pre-packaged sugary and salty treats have created the worst health crisis since the beginning of the 21st century. Children are almost twice the size of their peers 30 years ago. Some 70 percent of all Americans are either overweight or obese. Millions more are falling prey to diabetes, heart disease and cancer – all of which are shown to be related to what we eat.
The multi-billion-dollar food industry thrives on our ignorance. All they have to do is make it cheaper, bigger and tastier and we eat it, unaware that our forks have become the deadliest weapon in our community. The latest figures suggest that heart disease and cancer are the top killers in the United State, accounting for more than 1.2 million deaths each year. Medical costs associated with obesity are a staggering $147 billion dollars annually. The growing number of diabetic patients who will need kidney dialysis will triple in the year 2011. Every one of these disturbing trends is associated with poor nutritional choices.
Want to cure cancer, stop diabetes, end stroke and heart attacks? One adage proves true every time: an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Attack these diseases from the preventative side, before relying on the medicinal side. It’s time to aggressively teach our community to choose fresh, whole foods instead of pre-packaged foods, count and cut calories, and increase their awareness of just how dangerous eating animal-based protein has become. The average American eats well over 200 pounds of animal meat a year.
A modern supermarket contains more than 47,000 products in the form of pre-packaged foods with little to no nutritional value. Instead, they contain substantial amounts of high fructose corn syrup and refined carbohydrates that lead to obesity and diabetes. In The China Study, the most comprehensive review of diet, lifestyle and disease ever conducted with humans in the history of biomedical research, authors T. Colin Campbell, Ph.D., and Thomas M. Campbell II show that people who ate the most animal-based foods contracted the most chronic diseases, while those who consumed the most plant-based foods were the healthiest and tended to avoid chronic disease. Even relatively small intakes of animal-based food were associated with adverse effects on the body, the study showed.
One can never emphasize enough the added value of a healthy lifestyle, exercise and honest dialogue between patient and doctor. Make medicine your last resort and explore instead the benefits of eating fresh plant-based foods. Switching from a diet of animal-based and refined, packaged foods will contribute to weight loss, lower cholesterol, controlled blood glucose, a lower risk for common cancers, more energy and an increased chance of living well into your golden age free from disease. This time, when you eat, the hunger pain you stop will also end the painful financial costs incurred in a health system centered on “disease care.”
Anthony Robinson is the president and CEO of Unlimited Wellness L.L.C. Jason Murray contributed to this article.