By: Cindy Roorda, Director of Group Exercise and Fitness at the Greater Naples YMCA
Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Crohn’s Disease, Celiac Disease, Food Allergies, Inflammatory Diseases…why are all these things so much more prevalent today that they were among our ancestors? Many experts would tell you it’s from the foods we put in our mouths. Our digestive systems are the same as those of our great grandparents, yet the foods we eat would not even be recognizable to former generations. Fake butter in a tub? Cool Whip? Diet sodas? Green frosting on St. Patty’s Day? What IS that stuff?
Modern day foods go through pasteurization, irradiation, nutrification, transportation, sterilization, and so many processes that by the time they hit our plates they no longer resemble their origin. Our digestive system looks at this stuff and has no idea how to process it any further. If our bodies cannot break this processed bunch of “stuff” down and absorb its nutrients, then the “food” gets rejected. Rejected food in our body doesn’t have many escape routes so the modern day digestive ills and inflammatory disasters are born.
In The Dark Side of Fat Loss, Sean Croxton lists his Really Simple Rules for Choosing Real Foods:
· If it wasn’t here 10,000 years ago, don’t eat it
· If it’s in the media, it’s probably bad for you
· If you can’t pronounce the ingredients, don’t eat it
· If your great-grandmother didn’t eat it, you probably shouldn’t either
· If it comes in a box or bag, don’t eat it
· If your dog won’t eat it, you shouldn’t either
· If it doesn’t rot or spoil, don’t eat it
· If it’s been sprayed with chemicals, don’t eat it
Another point to consider is that our diet is only as good as our diet’s diet. As we eat meat from cows fed genetically modified corn and other foods that cows cannot digest, the meat from the cows will not be recognized in our bodies. Cows, by nature, eat grass. Choose grass fed beef.
In nature, chickens run through pastures picking at bugs, worms, grass, crickets and other tasty particles. On modern day poultry farms, chickens remain in a coup and are fed cornmeal loaded with antibiotics and hormones. When we eat the chicken, we are eating the same antibiotics and hormones, which our bodies do not recognize as food. Even vegetables grown in soil that has been drenched in pesticides and fertilizers year after year will not produce the nutrients they should, and will pass the inadequacies of the soil to our bodies.
Whether you choose all-natural, organic, free range, etc. is beyond this conversation. The first step is to eat real food, from real plants and animals that live in their natural environment. When our bodies receive real food, they can absorb the proper nutrients, expel the waste, and balance our hormone and fat levels to make us healthier and happier humans