Let's face it, as a race, we humans have forgotten how to eat, and as individuals, most of us never even learned. We unconsciously stuff ourselves with high-fat animal products and refined empty calories and then marvel as over time our bodies get heavier and the list of aches, pains and other ailments grows longer.
You may say, Not me! My diet is pretty good, and I'm not as heavy as some people I know.
It sounds like you need a little convincing. Let's take a look in the mirror and see what we see, shall we?
We can start with the top 13 food sources of calories among Americans ages 2 and older.
What do all 13 have in common - other than being hella tasty, you might say? They are without exception, either refined, processed carbs or high-fat animal protein.
The result of this diet?
Thirty-four percent of the population is obese. Over 80 million Americans – over 1/3 of the population – have heart disease. Nearly half of us have or are at the risk of developing diabetes. Seventy percent has or is at risk of developing high blood pressure. And almost 1 in 2 Americans will be diagnosed with cancer during your lifetime. Notice how we said your. That's either you or your spouse. Maybe both.1
Okay, now you may be saying, I'm not one of these people. I'm me. And I eat healthy!
Though you may think so, chances are that if you consumed a packaged food item within the last 24 hours, whether you bought it at a health food store or gas station, that food contains refined carbohydrate, high fat animal products, or both. And both are junk. So you see, even if you don't patronize McDonald's, your diet can still use a makeover.
Who else? As Goose says: The list is long, but distinguished.
If you suffer from low energy.
If your nights are filled with pizza and your days spent in a junk food haze.
If your days are spent in a junk food haze and your nights are spent dreaming of pizza.
If you get tired after lunch and wish you could take a nap.
If you can't sleep at night.
If you fall asleep in class or at work.
If you fell asleep in health class, are currently enrolled in health class, loved health class and learned everything, or hate learning and are sleeping as you read this.
If you are a nurse, nutritionist, medical student or doctor.
If you think acetyl-CoA is a clothing line or type of gasoline.
If your desire is to develop a working knowledge of nutrition.
If you have ever asked yourself or someone else where you get your protein.
If you think milk is a good source of calcium.
If you think fish is a health food.
If you avoid fruit because you think it is high in sugar.
If you think whole grains or nuts are wholesome and nutritious and gobble down bread by the loaf and peanuts by the handful.
If you don't like vegetables.
If you love vegetables but don't know how to prepare them.
If you don't eat enough fiber.
If you think you eat enough fiber.
If your medicine cabinet contains more than a multivitamin.
If you think it is bad to eat a big meal before bed.
If you are a vegan.
If you think vegans are self-righteous prigs.
If you think soy is a health food.
If you think it's unwise to eat late at night.
If you hate to cook.
If you love to cook.
If you think it's important to drink tons of water.
If you love to eat and hate to restrict yourself to palm-sized portions of your favorite foods to keep your weight in check.
If you are obsessed with food, binge eat from time to time, then starve yourself, are constantly plagued by food cravings, or feel guilty after eating.
If you believe you know everything there is to know about nutrition and your diet is perfect.
If you could stand to lose a few pounds.
If you could stand to lose more than a few pounds.
If you believe you're at the perfect weight.
If you think the only way to “bulk up” is by eating a lot of animal protein, boy do we have news for you.
If you want to find out what doctors learn in medical school without getting lost in confusing concepts and terms.
If you want to know more about nutrition than most doctors and be able to cook healthier food than many 5-star chefs.
If you are confused by conflicting claims made on product labels and by so-called experts.
Let's see, are we leaving anyone out? Oh, yes: YOU!
Remember, food is meant to delight your taste buds and to nourish your body. If it fails to do both of these, it has failed you. If you have an antagonistic relationship with food, craving what is high in calories and low in nutrition, binging on empty calories and then feeling racked with shame, you are the victim. Why be slave to your urges and preyed upon by advertising when you can take charge of your diet and life?
It's time that you become the Master.
1Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010; U.S. Department of Agriculture; U.S. Department of Human Services