It’s time to take a break from reading and listening to books, and watch some documentaries. I must confess, I have not watched a lot of documentaries up until this point, but I think I am hooked.
Have you ever looked at a family and made a comment like ‘you can tell they are related’? I know I have, and I must also assume that others have said the same about my family………
Many family traits come through our genes, including hair colour, skin tone, size, shape and height. We have no choice or control over some, but others are affected by what we learn from our parents.
There are just so many documentaries on the recommended watch list for the assignment in my Culinary Nutrition course that starts next month. Fed Up: It’s time to get real about food directed by Stephanie Soechtig and narrated by Katie Couric, was one I thought would be interesting.
As I talked about in a previous blog, sugar is more addictive than cocaine.
I have never seen anyone addicted to a whole food, like a peach, but have definitely seen people craving certain processed foods and drinks. What about you?
For this film, the documentary makers interviewed teenagers about 14 years of age that were very obese, looking at what they ate, drank and what they did. Some of the teens were physically active, where others experienced limited physical activity literally limited due to their size. Active or not, it really seemed to make no difference.
To note here is that all calories are created equal when it comes to the energy required for your body to process that food into useable energy. When calories taken-in are in excess of what is immediately required for energy, the body stores those excess calories in the form of fat for future use.
Some calories require energy just to change them into a form that is usable by the body, like whole foods. Others come in the form of easily available sugars that do not require digesting. Those easily available sugars, such as many of the hidden sugars in processed foods, if not required for immediate energy, are converted directly into fat for later use.
It is easy to see in those terms why a diet with excess processed sugars puts weight on us.
BUT, is that the whole picture!
Next, the filmmakers began to interview the teens’ families, and I had a startling revelation.
Almost all the parents were obese as well, and the teens were eating the way their parents were teaching them to eat!
The filmmakers then started to adding up the amount of sugar consumed and amount of processed sugars consumed was astounding!
Families were then taught how to choose and make, whole foods meals and snacks. They were encouraged to buy less processed food, to be aware of nutrition labels and product ingredients to make better food choices.
Easy right? The best laid plans…….…
Convenience is one of the reasons that processed foods were developed and we all have enjoyed that convenience.
For all of us, when we think we are busy and don’t have time, those processed foods creep back into our diets.
Does that happen to you? Or do you just up your planning game to make sure the right foods are available?
In addition to thinking about the sugars in processed foods, since watching this documentary, I have thought a lot about how I have taught my children to eat!
Positive or negative we have all tried to provide nourishing foods for our families to the best of our abilities at the time.
I know for myself, when my children were young, I never knew how easy and quick it was to provide more whole food choices for my family and I didn’t understand the differences between whole food sugars and processed sugars.
Over the past few years I have began to make many different food choices regarding the processed foods I purchase, so I thought I was making good choices.
After watching this documentary, I jumped up and ran to my cupboard to look at ingredient labels, and the hidden sugars. However imagine my horror at what I found!
Let’s just say, there were definitely products that I will never purchase again, but this is a journey of learning. You cannot change your choices of the past, only your choices in the future.
There are so few things we can control in today’s world, but the food we make, purchase, consume and feed our families is something we can control.
There is a whole world of food out there to explore. We have so much more whole food available to us today, then we did 75 years ago. Explore your world of food.
What new whole food will you try this week? Post a photo of it in the blog comments to inspire it others with a new food choice.
Food Sensitivity Coach and Food Lover exploring the world of food.
As a Food Sensitivity Coach, I have had some clients who needed to eliminate corn from their daily diet. As I began my research into what foods contain corn, I was astounded to find that corn is in almost everything, from baking powder, spices to the sugars that are in almost all processed food. It was a real eye opener for me.
In prep for my Culinary Nutrition course this fall, I next needed to view a number of documentaries from a list provided. King Corn, the 2007 documentary directed by Aaron Woolf caught my eye right away.
The documentary was actually a fun one to watch as it followed 2 recent university grads who decide they want to grow an acre of corn and follow it to market. It seems like a reasonable thing to be able to do at the beginning, but what they found was not quite what they expected.
This is August in Ontario and don’t we all love our corn on the cob fresh from the field. This is not the corn we are talking about.
The corn we are looking at is the corn that has been designed to the exclusion of all other corn species to be used in big manufacturing, to be used as in animal feed, literally designed to be in our everyday lives.
I have to admit I was shocked when they started talking about feed lots for beef cows. I must be naive because I never realized that a beef ‘feed lot farmer’ only owned his cows for 120 days to fatten them up (on corn of course).
During their stay on the farmer’s feed lot they don’t have a nice life of wandering in a pasture like I imagined, instead they are confined to a small area waiting for them to reach the right weight to go to slaughter.
Fattened on corn is the quickest method to get cattle market ready and I am certain the same remains true for chickens, hogs and other animals that are consumed by the population in general.
This method has been developed to produce enough for the demand and make a good profit.
My uncle raised cattle on his farm when I was growing up. His cattle came in and out of the barn, wandered in the pasture eating what they chose. He baled hay to feed them in the winter. They weren’t fed corn at all as I recall, but I also remember that he would have his cattle for at least a few years before they went to slaughter not 4 months.
He also raised chickens who ran around the yard and terrorized me - but they tasted great when my aunt cooked them. Unfortunately there were always new chickens to keep me running.
There is the difference!
He could have never made money by today’s standards if each animal had to be fed and taken care of for a couple of years, waiting for it to grow and fatten up naturally on grasses.
Next, I thought about the fish I buy. Much of the fish offered today is farmed, and what are they fed but corn! Is that natural for a fish to eat corn?
Luckily, I have now found a supply source locally with grass fed beef and free range chickens. And when buying my fish I now look for wild caught from Canada if possible.
I think the most concerning thing for me is that big manufacturing has found ways to make corn into cheap sugars to use in the manufacturing of processed foods. High fructose corn syrup is now used less than it was in 2007 as we now know how very bad that type of sugar is for us to consume, but what about what it has been replaced by? Is it better for us?
At the beginning of the film, the 2 university students had their hair tested for corn and shockingly enough there was evidence of corn in their strands of hair. Mind blowing right?
I think it is safe to assume that if each of us had our strand of hair examined, the researchers would find evidence of corn in our hair as well as a result of the amount we have consumed.
How does that happen? If you do an internet search of what foods contain corn or corn by products you will be blown away by the length of that list. (Scroll down to see the products corn may be used in) How many have you consumed on a regular basis?
The one thing we all can control today is our food choices and their sources.
Today we are all so very busy, that sometimes it is just easier to take what is put in front of us to purchase without thinking about its origin.
We eat what our food eats! Food for thought!
Helping you explore your world of food.
Food Sensitivity Coach and Food Lover Exploring the World of Food
I don’t know about you but for so long I have heard all about how salt, sugar and fat were bad for me. I have definitely cut down over the years on how much salt, sugar and fat I consume, but I never really stopped to think about why I craved those foods.
For my next adventure in prep for my Culinary Nutrition course I decided to delve into the book Salt Sugar Fat: How The Food Giants Hooked Us by Michael Moss.
By the time I finished the book there were some startling questions that came into my mind.
The first block buster was how in the world did the cigarette company Phillip Morris make the decision to buy up a number of processed food producing companies and become the largest processed food producer in the world?
I will let you think on that yourselves, but it was a bit mind blowing to me. Wise business move for sure, but……..
Did you know that sugar is more addictive than cocaine?
Let me say that one more time!
Did you know that sugar is more addictive than cocaine?
That was a stunning idea for me. We can’t be addicted to those ingredients, can we?
Salt, sugar and fat have long been used to improve the taste of the processed food that people eat today and to make us crave it and go back for more.
Behind the clever marketing were labs where food was engineered to have you going back for the taste, the mouth feel, the bliss-point and more of just whatever, as long as you came back to their product and not someone else’s seemed to be the goal.
When you are looking at the product labels do you look at the number of ingredients listed, and the order they are listed in?
Most of us today know that the order the ingredients are listed in is based on the % that ingredient is of the total product.
Did you know that there are over 56 different ingredients names that are really sugar, and over 40 ingredients that are actually salt? AMAZING!
When you look at nutritional labels have you ever wondered, if you added up all the processed foods you eat in a day by the % of recommended daily amounts listed on the nutritional label, would you be over 100% for the recommended daily amount for fat or salt or sugar?
It is a little bit of a challenge to figure that out for sugar. If you go to your cupboard and look at some of the nutrition labels there, you will see that there are relatively few that actually give you the sugar % of RDA. Why is that? Hmmm……..
I consume far less processed foods than I used to, so imagine my surprise when I ran to the cupboard/refrigerator to examine ingredient lists and nutrition labels of some of the foods I have purchased.
I was not surprised to see products there that boasted low fat, where the salt and sugar were now significantly more than I imagined and how often sugar was brought into the first 5 ingredients. Condiments like salad dressing, ketchup, BBQ sauce, etc, sugar was the first or second ingredient! Products that you would never expect sugar and salt to be.
Recently, I have started to really try to only purchase products that:
It was really amazing to me now in hind sight, the number of products that have now been eliminated from my house.
This is such an interesting journey to be on, and such an interesting time. Now that I have had more time to explore what I purchase and why. Some of the questions I now ask myself in addition to the 5 listed above while I am in the grocery store are:
One thing for certain, I am taking more control over the foods that I consume, and the foods that come into my house. There are so few things that you can control today, but what goes into your body is definitely one of them.
Thanks for coming on the journey and exploring the world of food with me.
There is more to come, a little bit at a time, and I promise fun stuff too!
Food Sensitivity Coach and Food Lover Exploring the World of Food.
I don’t know about you but I have been cholesterol and weight aware for a very long time. I have lived a low fat and sometimes no fat diet and taken medication to lower my cholesterol on the recommendation of my doctor.
So a logical next choice in prep for my Culinary Nutrition course coming this fall was to jump into the book The Big Fat Surprise: Why Butter, Meat and Cheese Belong in a Healthy Diet by Nina Teicholz.
Imagine my outrage as I read/listened to this book to learn that the research studies that resulted in the my doctor’s recommendation were manipulated and/or seriously flawed to come to the researchers desired outcome. Next as experts acted on that flawed information, in an effort to lower heart disease, governments jumped on that bandwagon of recommending a low fat diet and doctors followed suit.
Even though the studies were questioned in the beginning, it wasn’t until much later that the public was made aware that these studies were flawed and by that time the giant ball was already in motion. We were all receiving recommendations to follow low fat diets and take medication to lower our cholesterol levels. We were brought up that way, so it had to be right. Right??
Over the years, I have consciously lowered the fat content of my diet. I have focused on not eating those whole foods that I now learn offer the fats that my body really needs.
Have we really been avoiding those whole fat foods unnecessarily? Could saturated fats really not be so bad for our bodies?
It all seems so very complicated.
In my learning curve, one of the big WOW moments was the day that I learned my brain is made up of mostly fats! Who knew? I didn’t but perhaps I was naive.
I always knew there were certain vitamins that you needed to consume fat with in order to absorb the goodness, but the thought that my brain needed fat was something that really made me sit back and question what I was doing.
The thought that the very thing I had been told to avoid for so many years, was something that my brain actually needed to be healthy is a bit mind blowing.
I don’t know about you but as I age, keeping my brain healthy is one of the things at the top of my list. I would like to keep my mental faculties intact so that I can enjoy my life to the fullest. Now there are a lot of factors that go into keeping my mental faculties, it is not just about consuming enough good fats but I think it is an important part.
There are just so many people out there making recommendations on what is good for you and what isn’t. There is a lot of noise, but how do they really know, why is their study better or not as good as another. Like I said it is such a complicated question to answer.
I must give credit to the medical research industry out there because there is a lot of amazing knowledge that has been identified through medical research that has greatly improved our lives.
And we need those experts to help us identify and make our personal decisions on what is good for us individually. We cannot possibly be experts in everything.
One thing that really hit home as I progressed through the book was that no matter what health recommendation you were listening to, moderation is probably the best route to keep you on a healthy path.
I watched the author Nina Teicholz give a talk about her journey writing this book. Her last words had a most profound effect on me. She told her audience to focus on whole fats in their whole food choices.
Let me say that again......focus on whole fats in your whole food choices!
I can do that!
Since reading this book, I can honestly say that I am not afraid of eating a little bit of fat on a steak. After all I now only eat beef about once, sometimes twice a week, and even then a moderate amount of 3 or 4 oz. I think moderation is the key.
Ideally if we kept track of our fat consumption in our daily diet, the Government of Canada now recommends that 20 to 35% of our total diet should come from fats.
In my eyes, I want those fats to come from good whole foods like avocados, fish, lean meats, nuts, and such.
How do you feel about all the confusion around fats and what is good for you and what isn’t?
What about the fact that the low fat diet recommendations made so long ago by the experts was based on incorrect information?
We are a whole body that needs whole foods including whole fats, in moderation of course.
Explore your world of food, and decide for yourself what works best for you.
Food Sensitivity Coach and Food Lover Exploring the World of Food.
The Food Sensitivity Coach
I am passionate about exploring the world with a view to food allergies and sensitivities. I look forward to sharing with you what I find, from books, blogs and websites to recipes, hacks, inspirations and opinions, join me in a journey to live your best life.