While receiving my token education on diet and nutrition in high school in the 80s, I was quite happy to stand in line at the school cafeteria for that doughy bread, oozing with cheese for breakfast and greasy french fries and a burger for lunch. Every single day, I had a selective amnesia on how the lunch made me feel the previous day – complete with the biological program of grease making its way to the surface of my facial skin – which only amplified my teenaged awkwardness. Seriously though, do you remember that cheese bread?!
Wake up call
But eventually, I hit rock bottom with that type of fast food diet. My thyroid levels were so out of balance that I was hospitalized for two days and placed on multiple medications. After I was released, my (late) mother was so concerned, she drove three hours to visit me. She and my friend, Kaati took me out to dinner and they asked what I had generally been eating and they said, “Kristine, that is not good – those are processed foods!” It was then it started to sink in what processed foods really meant and the gravity of them.
Even though my mother came straight out of the WWII generation when processed foods and soda-pops were first starting to be developed and were all the rage, she had practical smarts with an unfiltered B.S. meter for all things life, and especially about food. The best advice she ever gave me was, “Kristine, when you go shopping, avoid the middle of the grocery store where all the processed food are – stay on the sides where the fruits and veggies are.” Fast-forward at least twenty-five years and my mother’s advice is still solid. Unfortunately though, she passed away from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease from a lifetime of smoking at age 74, but she did eat well and was a great cook!
Non-processed foods = not sick
Throughout the years, my diet would ebb and flow according to the construction of my life. But the time I have spent as a college student on a tight budget my diet is fairly squeaky clean. Contrary to the misinformed belief of many, eating healthy actually saves money. The fresh, whole food staples are really not that expensive and I only visit the doctor once per year to get my thyroid levels tested. Eating fruits and veggies, beans, lentils nuts, seeds, brown and wild rice, free-range eggs, some dairy, along with regular exercise, I stay slim and I feel good. Refined flour and sugared items are an absolute no-go. My idea of a flu vaccination is incorporating garlic, ginger, turmeric, cayenne pepper, lemon juice and honey into my dishes on a regular basis. The most significant change is that with my clean diet, combined with regular exercise, I rendered medications unnecessary.
I’m glad those junk food days are over but…
While getting my sunny vitamin D intake while hiking the beaches for beach cleanups, I walk away with a grocery bag that is at least half landfill waste, consisting of plastic packaging from processed foods and junk food. Another quarter of the bag consists of recyclable plastic and glass bottles and aluminum cans – most of which are high fructose juices and alcohol. None of it contains any real nutritional value. Society has become so addicted to the sugars, salts, phony flavorings and preservatives of “quick-fix” packaged and processed foods, that it inherently has become the majority of our trash on beaches and trails.
I would be remiss to not mention that in addition to the ingestion of fake food at beaches, its common for me to pick up at least 25 cigarette butts during a visit as well. It is all a nasty concoction for disease, but yet few seem to recognize the correlation between what they eat and their illnesses and spend a great deal of time running to the pharmacy for “feel better” drugs and visiting the doctor because they came down with the flu. It is unfortunate that we have become a society where garbage in, garbage out, rules. I wish society would catch up with me and the many other “awakened ones” out there!
The corporate food matrix is starting to fall…
Despite our serious trash and nutritional issues, people are starting to wake up regarding processed foods and specifically, animal meat consumption. I was curious about public perception as to why people are switching to vegetarian or vegan diets – so I conducted a poll via social media. The majority believes it is due to increased awareness of factory farming over medical conditions or spiritual convictions. We are also becoming more aware of how factory farming is extremely detrimental to the environment [11 Facts]. In any case, it is looking like people are making the switch for the love of animals, or in the least, being more conscious of the source of the meat such as “free range” from small farms. I believe in the years to come, this public awareness about factory farming will have a significant and positive impact on the general health and wellbeing of society, as well as, incur waste and pollution reduction.
Listen to mom
The wonderful thing about being human is that we have free will to choose how we want to live and not only that, most of us have oodles of choices! Just go to the grocery store… how many brands of peanut butter are there? With that said, instead of garbage in, garbage out, we can choose to stay on the sides of the grocery store like what mom says and treat our bodies well. And of course it has the added benefit of being much more gentler on the planet. Bring your reusable shopping bag and load up on fruits and veggies and buy beans and lentils in bulk. The payoff for ourselves and the planet is priceless.
Are you noticing society changing their diets too? Have you made dietary changes or are planning to? Feel free to comment below…