Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) is one of my fave organizations. They prioritize taking care of the planet and eliminating animal cruelty. This week, they posted a startling statistic: “a new report finds that poor diet is a global epidemic, responsible for more deaths than tobacco.” (citing The Lancet). My reaction: good job America. In fact, the more I’ve traveled abroad, the more discouraged I’ve become at not being able to sample authentic cultural meals. Instead, I find McDonalds and Starbucks on Peruvian and South African street corners.
So, back to the study – to be specific, the dietary factors of issue include 1) high intake of sodium 2) low intake of fruit, vegetable, nut, seed and whole grains. Today, in American society, there are thousands of diet philosophies competing for attention. Everyone has a theory on how to lose weight. Its no wonder we have a crisis. Prior to this, I spent many years working with large grocery retailers helping strategize ways to aid shoppers in making healthier choices. The reality, however, is that the truth has never really changed, and is right under our noses.
To stay healthy and at a reasonable weight, you must consume fewer calories than you expend. That is it. Nothing more. Nothing less. Sounds simple, if not easy, right? But the next piece of insight is “less simple” but as important. You must make choices to ensure that you’re getting “nutritional density” from your foods. What do I mean? Well, the answer revolves around foods that make you “feel good” – meaning, they fill you up (fiber, good fat and lean protein), they keep you energetic (slow absorption of glucose and low saturated fat), not sluggish and they satisfy you.
One simple test you can take is the “garbage disposal test.” If a food (or, rather, its wrappings) can’t go down your disposal, then maybe it shouldn’t go down your esophagus? The pic on the article is my garbage disposal. Think about your own household.
First, how often do you use your GD? Daily? Weekly? Second, what types of foods are you eating that do NOT go down the drain? Are they providing you with nutritional density? Here’s the challenge: Keep count of how many foods (skins, stalks etc) you put down the drain for one day. Then, make it a goal to up that count by 1 each day for the next week.
More to come on this topic in the future – but start tomorrow. Think about your disposal. Are you peeling, slicing, cutting and skinning foods before you eat them? Or, instead, are you opening crumpled wrappers or cardboard boxes? For a simple fix, add one vegetable or and fruit each day. Its the path forward.