Almost everyone needs a little help changing to a healthier lifestyle!
I don’t know anyone who doesn’t want to be healthy. We all know that eating healthy is the first step. The first problem is in knowing what is healthy. There is so much noise on the topic. If you Google “healthy eating” you will find people saying low fat, healthy whole grains, reset your adrenals, South Beach, paleo, low carb, balance your hormones, go organic, eat a Cliff Bar, buy some powder to make shakes, take some medicine, and the list goes on and on. To make things even worse, the people who we trust to give us good nutritional advice most often fail us. Ever heard of Regulatory Capture? It really applies in this case. Here is Wikipedia’s definition.
Regulatory capture is a form of political corruption that occurs when a regulatory agency, created to act in the public interest, instead advances the commercial or political concerns of special interest groups that dominate the industry or sector it is charged with regulating. Regulatory capture is a form of government failure; it creates an opening for firms or political groups to behave in ways injurious to the public (e.g., producing negative externalities). The agencies are called “captured agencies”.
Not only can government agencies be captured, so can other groups that impact nutritional advice and our health. Nutrition information is largely provided to us via the USDA’s nutritional programs (Food Pyramid and My Plate), which influences the nutrition in schools, hospitals, as well as other government funded organizations. Most physicians give nutritional advice based on direction from the American Heart Association, American Medical Association, American Diabetes Association or other similar groups that determine “standard of care”. The problem is that most of these groups have been captured! The people in these groups that make recommendations are influenced by strong lobby groups, money and influence from pharmaceutical companies, or other influences that do not necessarily see your health and nutrition as first priority. Instead, money, power, profit and influence are the drivers, and we the people suffer!
If you believe this to be true, then how are we supposed to know what to eat in order to be healthy? We cannot trust getting the right information from pharmaceutical companies, the USDA, or any of the medical associations because they are captured. Instead, we are left to sort it out with our own reading, instincts, advice from alternative practitioners (naturopaths or chiropractors), or the few scientists and doctors willing to buck the system (hard to find!). In my opinion, being healthy and free from the host of degenerative diseases that plague our society all boils down to common sense. Just eat real food and make it mostly veggies, fats, and clean protein. Please do not think gimmicks, powders, bars, shakes, or tricks will work. The diet business is huge, and a lot of money is spent trying to get you to believe that fake things will make you healthy. The pharmaceutical and health care industry is also huge, and makes a lot of money on medicines and treatment of degenerative problems. You can’t trust people who make money on your sickness to lead you out of sickness!
Let’s break it down to something simple. Get everything out of your fridge and kitchen that does not contribute to good health. This includes everything processed, sugary, with preservatives, fake colors, fake flavors, etc. When “labeled” foods are necessary (nut butters, yogurt, etc), become adept at label reading and show no mercy. Fill your fridge and cabinets with real food, that includes lots and lots of green vegetables, great fats such as olive oil, coconut oil, and even butter and animal fats (grass fed), and healthy grass fed meats. Then cook and eat it! Simple as that. Really? Well, no. Not to everyone. I am a scientist and see the world in pretty black and white terms. I also already know how to cook. So those simple instructions work well for me, but unfortunately most people get overwhelmed. They need a little more help and encouragement to get on the right track and stick to it. My friend Dana Ramsey, The Organic Eater, is a pro at this. She also is really nice and compassionate, so she understands the problems most of us go through when we decide to change our eating life and get healthy. She made the change five years ago, and it changed her life forever. There is no greater investment than in your health. Whatever it takes, do it. If you want to go on a giant purge, fill the kitchen with good stuff, and then chart and graph your progress like I do, then great! If you need a more gentle approach, then do it! If you need a cooking class, then go to one! Join a CSA or go to the Farmers Markets to fill your fridge with fresh veggies! The most important thing is that you do it. Your health is in your hands. Do not let agencies with “regulatory capture”, and plenty to gain by your poor health lead you.
Eat your veggies!