Thursday, January 29, 2009

Toxic Diets

There is more talk every day about diet. What is healthful to the body? What foods are toxic? What is the ideal diet?

While I personally think that a lower carb (150-200 grams a day of carbohydrates in any form) is healthful for anyone, I do best on a very low carb diet (45-65 grams a day). I, and many others, have found benefits ranging from weight stabilization to mood stabilization by cutting down carbohydrates. The more I read, though, the more I think that the biggest benefit to low carb is that it naturally cuts down your processed foods.

Most recently is news that high fructose corn syrup is full of mercury (Auntie Zilla's post about it). But that is only the most recent release in a long series of realizations that we are killing our food, and therefore ourselves, with chemicals. All the preservatives and over processing, the cheaper, quicker methods... All they have done is make us sicker for cheaper. This doesn't seem to be a good trade to me.

As more and more people choose organic diets, or at least cut a lot of the processed and refined foods from their diets, the more readily available the healthier choices will be. At the moment, my diet is very expensive. It is all fresh vegetables and (as often as we can afford it) free range organic meats. Usually I settle on cheaper meat because, well, I can afford it! I don't buy much at all in the way of packaged foods. I still buy a few canned goods (organic) and frozen veggies are my friend (too expensive to get organic, unfortunately).

Most people I know eat organic as often as possible and many have allergies to the preservatives and cannot handle refined foods. I am not alone in this by any stretch of the imagination! I know many people with depression and other chemical imbalances who have been greatly helped by a diet rich in fresh foods and lower in carbohydrates - especially white flour and sugar. I know I sure as hell have been. I could not handle my job if I wasn't on such a strict diet.

So why does anyone choose a toxic diet? It isn't easy for any American to be unaware of the dangers in a highly processed pre-packaged diet. I know quite a few people who will say they realize how unhealthy it is and keep eating it! The main reason: healthier diets require knowing how to cook. Plain and simple: if you aren't buying packaged food you are preparing your own food. This is more time consuming and requires more energy.

In order to prepare food, you have to either know recipes or find recipes, prep the food, cook the food... You have more dishes to wash... People aren't taught to really cook anymore. We are taught that we don't have the time and that it is old fashioned. But I think we are going to see more of a return to "old fashioned" in any case.

Because of the financial situation, more people are semi home steading - buying chickens to lay eggs, having small herb and vegetable gardens, cooking from scratch and avoiding fast food... And cooking.

I might be idealistic and silly to think so, but I believe we are going to move away from toxic diets and back to fresh local foods. I see the beginnings of the movement already.

A few healthful links:

Mother Earth News
Elana's Pantry
My recipezaar site (lots of good chefs here, and check out the Once a Month Cooking!)
Dr. Mike's blog
The Heart Scan Blog


Jon A.S. said...

People in general like to eat foods they want, not what their bodies want, and do not mind ingesting's more like "may I have a taste of the spider venom sauce please"....

Abifae said...

*laughs* Why not want the foods that are good for you? That sure seems like a more logical way to go about it.

Andy said...

It's also one of those pesky social things. People are taught from a very young age not to pay attention to their own bodies, or their own minds. Do what everyone else does, to fit in. You don't really need that, you want what an authority figure tells you that you need.

The body will tell you what it needs, but that doesn't do any good if your brain's been programmed to ignore the body. People eat junk and crap because their brain's been programmed to think that they need the crap, instead of what the body's actually asking for.

Of course, that doesn't mean that those of us who *do* listen to our bodies can get what we need, for financial and other reasons...

Abifae said...

i have found that finances are less of an issue for a lot of people than they think.

for example, my *groceries* are more expensive than most peoples'. however, my *overall food* is much LESS expensive because i ONLY eat what i buy at the grocery.

if you seriously sit down and look at how much is spent on all food (fast food, restaurants, quick snacks at convenient stores, grabbing something from a vending machine, etc) you will find that even on better food, you will likely save money cooking at home.