Food, The Ultimate Trojan

over-eating

According to mythology, a Trojan Horse was a huge wooden horse given as a gift. However, it was nefariously used to hide soldiers inside the horse to sneak them across battle lines, and help the Greeks win the war against Troy.

Today, more people are familiar with the term trojan virus; where something inviting, that you want to look at on your computer, is encrypted with something damaging. Once opened and inside, like the battalion of soldiers, the virus can be destructive.

So what makes food the ultimate trojan?  Unlike a wooden horse or a curious file we download, we need food to live.

The food we put in our mouths may seem like a gift and, if done consciously, food will not only enable us to live, it can give us energy, assist in making us feel better when sick, and extend our lives. However, if done haphazardly, this “gift” of food can operate like a trojan and wreak havoc on our systems.  It can sap us of our energy, assist in exacerbating or even causing depression and anxiety, it can contribute to or cause illness and disease.  

Ultimately “trojan food” can cause a premature systems failure: fatigue and moodiness at the least, and premature disease and death at worst.

We get all worked up about guns and terrorism (understandably so) but they are far less likely to kill us then our diet (combined with other lifestyle behaviors). In 2014, death by gun occurred 33,736 times, and for terrorism we lost 32 lives. This gives us a combined total of 33,768 deaths. Sad and tragic as this may be, it pales in comparison to death by heart disease (614,348) and cancer (591,699) also in 2014, for combined total of 1,206,047. That is… one million… two hundred six thousand… and forty-seven. 

Between heart disease, cancer, obesity, diabetes, respiratory illness, good eating habits is one factor that could greatly reduce mortality and assist with other chronic conditions facing many of us, such as Alzheimer’s and arthritis.

So, friend or foe, which is food you?

healthy_vs_unhealthy_food_foodguruz-in_

To put it bluntly, it is foe for a lot of us. The average American diet stinks. According to the CDC, only 1 in 10 Americans eat the recommended servings of fruits and vegetables. On average we only get one serving of fruit a day? And apparently if you cut out french fries and ketchup that number goes down. Wow.

Despite all of the rhetoric about what constitutes a healthy diet, there is a basic agreement that a whole foods plant-based is good, and processed crap (including processed meat, refined carbs and sugar laden “food”) is bad.

So why do so many reject or ignore basic healthy eating guidelines and continue to stuff their pie holes with crapola?

Like big pharma, big food spends not millions, but billions, to get inside of our heads. The goal being to get us to think that what we want, our free will, is what leads us to eat food that might actually be slowly killing us.  

evil-junk-food-companies1

And like the tobacco industry big food targets our kids because ya hook um young and you have a customer for life. Google the phrase “food is the new tobacco” and see what comes up. Here is one piece.

Further, food can be addictive.  Knowing this, what do you think the makers of big food do?  Put more or less of what is addictive, like added sugar, into their version of a trojan horse?  (FYI sugar substitutes have issues of their own.)

The good news is you can retrain your taste buds.  

Confession time. Despite always being thin, I have been a food glutton for a good portion of my life.  If it wasn’t stapled down I would eat it.  In the lunch room in high school, when friends would see me coming, they would go the other way, especially if I hadn’t eaten yet.  My motto was fast food wasn’t fast enough!   The older I got, the more into health I became.  My eating habits changed out of concern for:

  • Health.
  • Cruelty to animals.
  • Effects of food choices on the environment. 

An unexpected surprise was that these health foods started to taste really good!  A lot of the unhealthy things I use to eat that I have once in a while don’t taste as good, making it easier to further refine my habits.  Yes I still have my weaknesses and “cheat” here and there, but I feel like I have woken up.  

This isn’t about vegan vs. carnivore.  You can make healthy and unhealthy choices, including gluttony, within each realm.  The idea is to make conscious, mindful choices.  

Do some research, (these days I feel compelled to warn against fake news sites) and if you’re the all or nothing type, make radical changes. If you’re the dip your foot in the pool type, start small.  That is what I did, and the way I eat today is practically unrecognizable from where I use to be.  

Today, when I read through ingredients on websites and food labels, I get turned off by what I see knowing that the makers intentionally spike food with addictive substances (like sugar, fat, and salt) knowing how bad they are for health.  And just like suspicious emails that may contain a trojan, I stare at it for moment, shake my head no and move on.  Not today trojan, I’m not falling for you.

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Disclaimer:

Before considering any new diet program, or making any diet changes, please check with your doctor and clear any diet changes with him or her before beginning. I am not a doctor or registered dietitian and nothing in this blog should be used to replace medical advice.

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For those interested in the health benefits of vegan and vegetarian eating, I recommend the website: http://NutritionFacts.org

One of the articles embedded in this blog is Oldways Common Ground Consensus Statement on Healthy Eating.  The committee is composed of the below persons.  Co chair, Dr. David Katz has a great health and nutrition blog for you to consider following.  He has a non-judgmental balanced perspective.

The objective of the committee was to get experts with differing opinions on healthy eating (vegan vs. paleo, etc.) together to see what they can agree on.

Chairs:

David Katz, MD, MPH, Founding Director, Yale-Griffin Prevention Research Center, Yale University (New Haven, CT)

Walter Willett, MD, DrPH, Professor of Epidemiology and Nutrition; Chairman of the Department of Nutrition, Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health; Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School (Boston, MA)

Participants:

Steven Abrams, MD, Professor and Chair, Department of Pediatrics, Dell Medical School, University of Texas (Austin, TX)

Sara Baer-Sinnott, President, Oldways (Boston, MA)

Neal Barnard, MD, President, Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine and Adjunct Associate Professor of Medicine, George Washington University School of Medicine (Washington, DC)

T. Colin Campbell, PhD, Professor Emeritus, Cornell University and Founder, T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies (Ithaca, NY)

S. Boyd Eaton, MD, Professor Emeritus, Emory University (Atlanta, GA)

Alessio Fasano, MD, Director, Center for Celiac Research; Chief, Division of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition and Associate Chief, Department of Pediatrics, Basic, Clinical and Translational Research, Massachusetts General Hospital (Boston, MA)

Christopher Gardner, PhD, Professor of Medicine, Stanford University School of Medicine (Stanford, CA)

Frank Hu, MD, PhD, Professor of Nutrition and Epidemiology, Harvard School of Public Health; Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School (Boston, MA)

David Jenkins, MD, DSc, PhD, Professor, Department of Medicine and Nutritional Sciences, University of Toronto; Scientist, Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute of St. Michael’s Hospital; Director, Risk Factor Modification Centre, St. Michael’s Hospital (Toronto, Ontario, CA)

Tom Kelly, PhD, Chief Sustainability Officer, Sustainability Institute at University of New Hampshire (Durham, NH)

Miguel Ángel Martínez-González, MD, MPH, PhD, Professor and Chair, Department of Preventive Medicine and Public Health, University of Navarra (Pamplona, Spain)

Dariush Mozaffarian, MD, DrPH, Dean, Tufts University Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy (Boston, MA) Malden Nesheim, PhD, Professor Emeritus of Nutrition and Provost Emeritus, Cornell University (Ithaca, NY)

Dean Ornish, MD, Founder and President, Preventive Medicine Research Institute; Clinical Professor of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco (Sausalito, CA)

Simon Poole, MBBS, DRCOG, Medical Practitioner and Commentator (Cambridge, UK)

Eric Rimm, ScD, Professor of Epidemiology and Nutrition and Director of the Program in Cardiovascular Epidemiology, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health; Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School (Boston, MA)

Joan Sabaté, MD, DrPH, Professor of Nutrition and Epidemiology, Loma Linda University School of Public Health (Loma Linda, CA)

Meir Stampfer, MD, DrPH, Professor of Epidemiology and Nutrition, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health; Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School (Boston, MA)

Antonia Trichopoulou, MD, PhD, President, Hellenic Health Foundation and Director of the World Health Organization Collaborating Center for Nutrition at the School of Medicine, University of Athens (Athens, Greece)

 

 

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2 thoughts on “Food, The Ultimate Trojan

  1. Pingback: 8 Reasons American’s Eating Habits Are What They Are – Jeff Schubert

  2. Pingback: 12 Tips On How To Eat Healthier – Jeff Schubert

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