Posted on August 10, 2011
First off… sincere apologies for taking an accidental blog-sabbatical. Work nearly killed me, and I needed a mini blogcation. Please forgive me? Moving on!
When I was little, my family belonged to a beach club. My Mom would drop me and my brother off at the front gates, and we’d run a muck in our mini summer paradise. Late afternoons, when the tide was low, I would run along the shore snatching up as many hermit crabs as my little hands could hold. I was insistent on keeping these little guys as my new friends. After snagging a plastic cup from the snack bar as temporary housing, I brought them home and plopped them in a tank with some water.
Now, in my mind I knew they lived in salt water. So naturally, I grabbed the salt shaker from the kitchen and shook, shook, shook into the tank. Just like in nature, right Mom?! Not so much. Bye new friends.
I learned fast (after many salty tears), that it wasn’t the best idea to pluck things from nature. Although we may try our best to create artificial substitutes that mimic what we love about food and make it “better” (i.e. vitamin supplemented margarine, reduced-fat guacamole, low-carb whole grain bread), it ends up doing more harm than good in the end. We need to learn the importance of WHOLE foods. Just because an avocado has a lot of fat, doesn’t mean that it is the same kind of fat that is coming from your bacon cheeseburger. This is going to sound crazy, but the fat in that avocado… IT’S GOOD.
A perfect example of this deranged reasoning is the American low-carb, high protein, lean meat craze (Atkins). Although many Americans have been following this diet for over twenty years, we are still fatter than ever. Whattup with that?
People do initially lose weight on this diet, but only for a short time period. Campbell, in The China Study writes “…most people will be unable to maintain this diet for the rest of their lives, and even if anybody manages to do so, they may be asking for serious health problems down the road… You can also lose weight by undergoing chemotherapy or starting a heroin addiction, but I wouldn’t recommend those, either.” Sounds like fun to me!
It is possible to lose weight on a high-carb diet. Most of these complex carbs will come from fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Our problem is we (Americans) are not grasping the complex carbs thing. We are eating refined carbohydrates that include cakes, cookies, pasties, and pies. In 1996, only 3 vegetables accounted for more than half of the total veggies we were eating: potatoes (french fries), canned tomatoes (pizza sauce), and head lettuce (water lettuce for your burger). Pathetic.
I could launch into Campbell’s argument about how diets high in protein transfer calories to fat, rather than body heat, and that eating these whole foods are a much more efficient and gentler process on your body, but I have a feeling I’m putting you all to sleep at this point. Essentially all you need to know is the more carbs we eat from fruits, veggies, and whole grains… the better. It promotes improved health, and happiness! When I eat as clean as possible during the week (read: no cheese fries), I have an amazing amount of energy. It’s amazing what food can do.
So, put down the low-carb, sugar-free, non-fat bread and EAT YOUR GREENS.