Overfed and Starving to Death
If you spend any time around me, you'll learn that I am extremely health conscious. My diet and exercise habits are usually met with eye rolls and skeptical, if not underhanded, comments. I'll be out to dinner with friends and order something moderately healthy, only to receive a comment such as, "Come on Griffin, stop being so restrictive, just live a little." What they don't understand is that I plan to - I plan to live a lot. Especially in the south, knowledge about nutrition is slim to none. Needy hands reach for Diet Cokes, completely unaware that "sugar-free" products are the worst things you could possibly put in your body. Fat-free, sugar-free, and low-carb are catch phrases that signify a complete and total lack of understanding of health. Healthy is not fat, healthy is not thin. Healthy is not measured in calories, it is measured in ingredients. I watched a documentary called Hungry for Change last night, and one of the narrators said, "America is overfed and starving to death." Point? It does not matter how much or how little you eat if what you are eating is not nutritionally sound.
Even if they don't understand them, most people have heard at least some of these facts before. Sadly, instead of taking the time to be open to a new perspective, people say things like, "There are more important things in life, people are dying of cancer, and there are real problems in the world!" For a long time, comments like that made me feel uncomfortable, until I realized how foolish those statement are. Why do you think people have cancer and diseases?
Lack. of. nutrition. It's all about diet.
In many countries/areas the scarcity of food is due to poverty, and that's our responsibility to help. But, in middle-class America, it's usually because of a lack of knowledge, a spirit of indulgence, and a resistance to change.
There is such a stigma attached to people who are health-conscious. Don't get me wrong, I laughed at the Surviving Whole Foods article in Huffington Post, too. I'm not claiming that I have all of this figured out because I don't. This isn't a call to abandon dessert and start going to 6 AM workout classes, but it is time that we stop making excuses. We are living in a country that has unlimited access to nutritional research and good food, and the majority of people flat out ignore it. I believe that God gave us our bodies as a gift, and refusing to treat them as such is a complete and total waste of the gift we've been given. Even more, we are poisoning future generations by feeding them the food that we have taken so little time to learn about.
I was blessed to grow up in a family where balance is valued and whole-health is stressed. Not everyone was given this knowledge by their parents, and that's one of the hardest learning curves to overcome. But, anyone has the power to make positive changes to their health by simply researching and implementing small changes. So, eat one less dessert, pass the rolls, buy an organic banana, go for a walk. Stop trying to lose weight and stop using food as a reward. Teach your kids that food is a great part of life, but it shouldn't be the focus.
Don't let a lack of knowledge be your excuse for the lack of a full life.