“You do not need to be wealthy to eat healthy.” -Jessie
One of the current day phenomenons is how much our environment impacts our health. Thinking back to the Stone Age, there wasn’t industrialization, there wasn’t a plethora of processed food, exercise was the norm because there weren’t cars, and the air was pure of toxins. You get the drift. People didn’t have to make the choice of how to live their lives because they only had so many options in a day. In the world we occupy now, there are many choices to be made. Also, demographics play a huge part. What I mean is this. We can make the choice to eat for health, but only to the extent of what resources are available to us. In certain parts of the world, the only foods available are those that lack protein or other particular nutrients needed to thrive. Of course, food is food and food means you aren’t starving. However, that’s not what this post is about. I want to take a look into just how much the kinds of food we eat can impact our health.
From a superficial standpoint, there are many rumors that the French are beautiful and fit people. Now, I haven’t been to France myself, but I’ve read enough to believe the rumors. The story is that the French and many other Europeans have access to an enormous selection of organic produce. I also hear that the processed food selection is nothing compared to here. Simple. Clean. Eating. Carbs and alcohol isn’t as wide of a problem like it is here in the United States because it’s not abundantly paired with fast food and frozen microwave dinners. Of course, eating habits are also different in France. People eat together, and enjoy conversation. Food is secondary to a good visit with a friend. In America, we expect and demand giant portions of heavy cholesterol building or sugar-stacked dishes. Remember, many of the ingredients that are used to build such dishes are pumped with hormones and pesticides. Now I am NO perfect eater, and know there are exceptions to all rules. However, I’m going to suggest that America as a whole is so fat and unhealthy because of the aforementioned eating habits. Aesthetics are an issue for some of us, but the thing we should be most concerned with is what is happening on the inside. This is the scary part because when we can’t see it, we often let it go.
My mother, who will be the first of hopefully many people I will interview to give insight on their experience with drastic diet change, has always appreciated the health aspects of what she consumed. Before I begin with my mom, let me interject with an important declaration. You do not need to be wealthy to eat healthy. Growing up, money was always tight. I learned from my mom how to make the most of what was available. Creating habits and learning recipes that we could afford to buy the ingredients for was key. Also, we ate our leftovers and didn’t let them go to waste. We added in fillers like barley or bulky vegetables to stretch what we had. There are ways. 100%, it’s possible.
Ok back to my story. My mom’s mother passed away when my mom was only six from breast cancer. Because cancer disrupted her life so much, she made it a goal to do anything in her power to guard against it. She did this by avoiding chemicals, even most beauty products. She also got to know what foods to eat and what foods to avoid. Like most of us, she still craved the occasional sweet or fried food. She always exercised wonderful control, regardless. All of this took her down a semi-holistic road. It’s not that she didn’t believe in western medicine but she wanted to have control and prevent more than anything.
She started noticing pain and problems in her lower abdomen and got checked out. It turned out that she had two ovarian cysts. Thankfully, they were not cancerous or this story would probably have taken a different turn. Of course, surgery and whatever else was an option, but that was not the approach she wanted to take if it was avoidable. Oh yes, she doesn’t like anesthesia or surgery AT ALL. So she researched. She found dietary changes that could be made to shrink or do away with the cysts. Now many people would have read the suggested alterations and said forget it. Surgery or pharmaceuticals it is. Not her. She cut out caffeine. This was a biggie for her because she drank coffee from sun up to sun down. She cut out fried food, most processed foods, white flour, sweets, and shifted to a strict Mediterranean diet. She already didn’t eat red meat or that would have gone too. She also started taking Vitex which comes from plants. This woman went hardcore. She made a rule that 60% of her food must be raw. She focused more and more on what her body needed to thrive. To this day, she swears that she can feel the positive effects that some good old raw honey makes on her blood quality. The cysts basically evaporated. No need for western medicine of any sort.
Her story is not the norm because as a society, this is not how we roll. Sure, we are healthy and have a lot of options but we are busy or lazy, and often don’t have it in us to make this drastic of a change to accomplish something that may or may not take place. It can be even harder to make this choice when we are told it is not possible which happens often. And then, MEDICAL PHENOMENON. It happens. I am no expert, nor do I intend on giving medical advice. However, if you will ponder with me for a moment, you may find it an interesting topic. I think it’s become a very important thing to think about, not to replace current day healthcare, but to take charge of prevention in a way like never before. Our consumption is what fuels us, so it’s reasonable to think that it can do us in as well, if we consume incorrectly.
More to come, and I hope you enjoyed the read. If nothing else, remember moderation is a thing. Mind over matter is a thing. Also, because we love cake here, it’s only fair to mention that there are recipes for everything, even cake, with a healthy spin. Alternative non-bleached flour. Honey. Fruit. Coconut. Cinnamon. Those are just a few of hundreds of ingredients that you can use to concoct fabulous, decadent desserts.