Posts Tagged ‘op-ed’

Retroactive Hope

I  have been enjoying the television series Mad Men as of late. My boyfriend and I weren’t really into watching television, but we got hooked and plowed through all four seasons a few months ago. And now I’ve been re-watching it. It is a well-written series with meticulous attention to visual detail. The cast is talented, and the leading actor is painfully handsome. This makes watching the often idiotic characters doing repeatedly idiotic things bearable. 

Furthermore, it is a show about advertising executives at a company (Sterling Cooper) who make large sums of money. Their biggest client is a tobacco company called Lucky Strike. The main characters are rich because they help propagate an addictive, dangerous drug. In spite of all this, it is an engaging, well-made show with solid acting.

The ubiquitous nature of smoking in the show reflects the time the show takes place in: the 1960s. It is both amusing and tragic to see people constantly and compulsively lighting up: while they exercise, when they wake up in the middle of the night, or even while they are pregnant. The acceptability of smoking and drinking while pregnant is frightening.

We now know better and look back on that time as perhaps naive, ignorant, or simply too hooked to be willing to face the facts. But of course, it is easy for me to judge 50 years later.

I wonder how our predecessors will look back on this time in a few generations. What stupidities will they laugh at? What, if anything, will become unacceptable?

I can only hope that sugar is exposed for what it is. It would be great if people would look back and shake their heads in shame at the prevalence of high fructose corn syrup the way we shake our heads in shame at a smoking pregnant woman.

I hope lists like this are taught  in schools along side the dangers of smoking, hard drugs, and drinking. And that cutting dietary sugar becomes part of the standard treatment protocol for treating ADHD, Autism, GI dysfunction, diabetes, hormonal imbalances, hypertension, chronic fatigue, cancer, etc

Sigh, to dream.

Let Them Eat Cake?

A few months ago I had learned about a so-called magical sweetener called Lakanto. It is advertised to have zero calories, zero glycemic impact, be good for baking, and, most importantly, not feed Candida.

Wow!

I was too skeptical to order it right away. But my curiosity got the best of me, and eventually I gave in. It would make my life less torturous, right? It definitely tastes good and works well in baked goods. Unfortunately, my body wasn’t in the best place when I tried it, so I couldn’t accurately assert whether or not its claims are true.

But a part of me doesn’t think the alternative sweeteners are the best idea, even if they don’t physically exacerbate one’s healing. Mentally, I found that I was brought back into the sugar-craving mindset. And being in the best of mental states is really what motivates you to stick to any sort of elimination diet in the long-term

I’m all for moderation and allowing oneself to have treat, but I’ve also  found I’m thriving when I don’t feel mired by desires for sugar; it’s an aggravating state of constant dissatisfaction. Wanting what is bad for me is an unhappiness that I just can’t be stuck in anymore.  But that’s just me.

The Seven Habits of a Highly Ineffective Diet

There is plenty of information criticizing the downfalls of the Standard American Diet (SAD). The following is my assessment of the core principles that fuel the destructiveness of the way we eat. I do not pretend to know it all; however, my opinions are based on years of experimentation with a diverse range of diets.

1. Acquired Tastes: Excessive sweeteners, artificial flavors, high fructose corn syrup, and overly processed foods have a way of stunting the collective palate. Grow up eating this way and vegetables become inedible without a storm of salad dressing while spiked blood sugar levels feel normal. Repeated years of enduring this abuse can lead to diabetes.

2. Second-Hand Nutrition: Cereals, bars, juices, and cookies are being fortified with fiber, vitamins, omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, etc. Supplementation helps, but why not aim to get nutrients from their primary sources (fruits, vegetables, proteins) instead of extracting and manufacturing them in a lab of sorts? Especially when there are unnecessary sugars involved (which is related to the previous habit of acquired tastes).

3. Nutritional Displacement: Saturated fat and cholesterol have been given a bad reputation (while unnecessary/harmful foods are somehow labeled as paramount by our trusty government). Cholesterol has been wrongly linked with heart disease and, within the context of a nutrient-dense diet, consuming saturated fat does not cause obesity and heart disease. There are several counterproductive cons to a low-fat diet. Lastly, our bodies need fat and cholesterol.

4. Externalization: Equating health with appearance, namely thinness, is an unfortunate cultural paradigm. While eating well and exercising often does lead to things like clearer skin and a slimmer figure, it is possible to be what is generally considered to be attractive and to be in a poor state of health. Furthermore, weight loss and muscle building are not the only reasons why people should exercise; exercise improves circulation, immunity, mood, etc. Lastly, one can pursue thinness using unhealthy means (e.g. eating disorders, plastic surgery, excessive exercising).

5. Obliteration: Agents like pesticides, pasteurization, and chlorine are essentially used to kill the germs. Unfortunately, these agents also kill both the good germs, decrease nutritional value, or pose toxic threats to humans.

6. Indigestion: Being in a rush, large portions, improper food combining, downing cold liquids while eating, and emotional overeating are all factors that can impair digestion, cause malabsorption, and weight gain. Not to mention the fact that unstable blood sugar can be quite taxing to one’s system.

7. Cruelty: While there is overwhelming evidence supporting the benefits of eating animals, factory farming is an atrocity, and using hormones and other toxins to increase meat output at a lower cost is detrimental to the consumer. This is unfortunate for both the mistreated animals and for humans, who are supposedly at the top of the food chain. One could easily say that it is downright sad.