Saturday, December 17, 2011
If you know better why don't you do better?
I know better so why can't I do better? In the case of eating healthy I know I should eat more vegetable based foods and eliminate processed foods....BUT I can't seem to stick to it and don't know how I can override my right and left brains.
I just watched the Documentary "Forks over Knives" that is all about the benefits of switching to a Whole Food Plant Based Diet to reverse diseases. It makes perfect sense so why aren't we all doing it? That's the question I keep asking myself. Why can't I do it? I worked in a hospital for 14 years of my life while not directly as a medical practitioner but as an observer and saw that the medical profession had it's limitations and that Doctors weren't interested in alternative medicines or other approaches to heal their patients. My father died at 65 of Cancer and had a history of Heart Disease. He didn't know better and loved meat and dairy and smoked cigarettes while having minimal exercise. But when you are in your 60's it's hard to reverse everything you have ever done in your life. The doctors told him to quit smoking and I am sure told him to exercise and eat healthier foods even though at the time I don't think all of the advice that doctors were giving were 100% helpful. My father didn't eat at McDonald's but liked meat pies and corned beef and bacon and eggs and so I suppose his diet and life stress levels caught up with him. My mother passed away this past year and she also had heart disease in her late 60's and was told to exercise and change her diet. The one thing that probably helped her the most was that she quit smoking after my mother died and didn't eat any fast foods but she had a preference for sweets and would bake occasionally. The also preferred a dinner consisting of meat and some sort of starch be it potatoes or pasta and sometimes other vegetables. She was raised in Belgium so she had a wide range of vegetables that she liked but not all were prepared healthily. One of my favourite vegetables that she made was Cauliflower au Gratin. I still love it but realize that the Au Gratin part kills all the health properties of the Cauliflower but it makes it taste so good that I can't resist.
Is that it? We can't resist foods that taste so good that we can't eat less high fat, high sugar, high sodium substitutes? FAT and SUGAR together make a kind of Golden Feeling in the Brain that nothing comes close to except drugs. Have we all become drug addicts to food?
I spent a year and a half on Weight Watcher's in the 90's and lost 40 pounds only to gain it all back when I stopped the diet plan. Why is it so hard to stick to things we know are good for us?
What I have been thinking lately since I am not working in an office full time is that we are influenced by what we see, smell and remember. Interestingly enough when I worked in the Hospital patients would bring in all sorts of sweets as gifts for the doctors in the hospital which they would share with their staff. During the holidays the office became a smorgasbord of all sorts of high fat and calorie sweets that called our names while we tried to focus on getting our work done.
With the consistent bombardment of television advertising, billboard adds, radio commercials and even in store food demonstrations enticing us to "Try this great new product" it will change you life or you will love it if you try it. So myself and many others are curious or lack will power and try the things we are pushing. Is it all our fault or is it the marketers that are preying on us? Or is it the government subsidizing meat and dairy farmers and trying to build consumer loyalty to these products? All I know is that when I smell bread or something sweet I have to have some. Once again I know better but can't seem to stay away for too long.
This brings me to New Year's resolutions to lose weight. I make them every year as do a majority of people that pack on the pounds over the holidays after everyone we see encourages us to eat a whole lot more of the things that aren't good for us. We feel tired and fat and bad about ourselves as the media machine starts to ramp up the weight loss programs and fitness centres to convince us that they will fix our problem. Studies show that mid way through January people start easing off going to the gym and start to give up on that so called miracle diet. Why do we keep repeating this cycle every year? Why can't we stay consistent and change the things we want to change? MARKETING...could go a long way.... what if we saw adds for Kale that looked like FOOD Porn. Would we run out and buy Kale? Why don't we see those kind of ADS? Kale is one of the healthiest foods you can eat but it's not sexy so people don't want it. It doesn't melt in your mouth and make you drool over it. You can make Kale chips which are tasty but still don't have the immediate satisfaction of eating potato chips. That's unfortunate because if all we did was substitute oven baked Kale chips for potato chips for a year I bet that would have a huge health benefit.
Why don't we have vending machines in school that sell Kale chips in a bag instead of Potato Chips? Why don't we have Vegan products in schools if that's the healthiest food for us to eat? Don't we want our kids to be healthy and have the best chance in life?
My mother didn't know anything about nutrition and would just say "Eat your Meat" or "Eat your Vegetables". She didn't know about food pyramids and Vegan or Whole Food or Organic diets. She just went to the store and bought some meat, bread and vegetables and tried to prepare them in different ways.
Is it because we are too busy or can't be bothered? I admit that when I am starving and have things to do the last thing I want to do is wait a couple of hours to prep and cook something and this is when I break down and turn to the convenient have it in 5 minutes fast food.
I have always thought that a smart person would find a way to make healthy fast food and would make a fortune if it tasted good too. Drive up at a drive thru and order a side of Kale Chips with you Quinoa burger. Why not? Why hasn't anyone done this yet?
I would do it but for 1. I don't have the money to start it up. 2. I know that the marketing of a concept like this would cost more than the start up costs.
So this is my message to all the Rich people out there that are looking for something good to do with their money. Invest in FOOD.. Invest in healthier food for kids in schools. Invest in businesses that focus on delivering healthy food to busy parents and busy executives. If we had a healthy drive thru for every McDonald's drive thru imagine what the choice could do to change the Obesity rates in North America. I am sure people would get sick of burgers everyday and if they had an option of getting a Whole Food plant based meal that tasted good and was quick and affordable I bet they would choose that at least once a week if not more.
If I won the lottery tomorrow I would do this. If there is a smart entrepreneur with lots of cash out there this is what you can do to change the world.
But in the meantime I would suggest you watch documentaries like "Forks over Knives" or "Food Matters" or "Food Inc" to educate yourself on the power of food.
I am still a work in progress. I know better and am working on doing better. I hope you can too.
for more info on "Forks over Knives" check out their website: http://www.forksoverknives.com