Tag Archives: Unhealthy eating

An Alarming List…And (of course) We’re at the Top of it

Yesterday I made some comments about the healthiest countries in the world.  I wrote about how there are those regions of the world that prioritize health farming practices, active lifestyle, and have supportive Government bodies who are interested in maintaining healthy citizens.

So I know we like to be the best at everything.  We want to have the most, do it the quickest, be the smartest, and yes, be the biggest.  Apparently we are literally the biggest country in the world.  According to the Huffington Post, here is the rest of our shameful company:

  1. United States | 33.8% Obesity
  2. Mexico | 30%
  3. New Zealand | 26.5%**
  4. Chile | 25.1%
  5. Australia | 24.6%
  6. Canada | 24.2%
  7. United Kingdom | 23%
  8. Ireland | 23%
  9. Luxemborg | 22.1%
  10. Finland | 20.2

**First things first, what in the world is New Zealand doing here?  They are also mentioned on several of the healthiest countries lists.  But at number three here, they definitely suffer obesity, and in no slight way!  I’m curious about why this is–how could it be that a country with a fantastic record of low disease, high activity and long life spans is also the world’s 3rd most obese.  Seems to directly disprove any thought that diet and exercise is enough, so I turn to mentality.  I also turn to the theory that moderation is key, and that even too much of an inherently good thing, is a bad thing. 

Oh, America.  What are we going to do with you?  It’s to the point where the other members of this list attribute their obesity issues to becoming “Americanized”.  Meaning McDonalds type “restaurants” are showing up more often now, and other convenience foods found in the notorious center aisles of grocery stores are becoming more popular.  The thing is, we’re still the cool kid on the block.  What, with New York, LA, San Fran, Chicago, America is swimming with amazing scenes and opportunity.  Apparently, we’re contagious.  One would hope in the good ways, as well as the obese ones.

Some of the irony for me lies in the fact that we are a a giant collage of cultures and ideas.  And our food is no different.  So when I see Mexico on the list, about as obese as we are, I think, “okay, make sense.  Eat enough Mexican food and you’re gonna get fat”.  But, wait!  How do I know that?  Because you can eat as much Mexican food here as you can in Mexico!  Same goes with Irish food, or Canadian (are they really any different from us?  What is Canadian food, anyway?).  I digress.  My point is, collectively, we don’t really have a cultural cuisine that we can look at and say–“yup, it’s that American food that did it”.  Maybe I’m wrong.  But, if I’m right, it’s even harder to pinpoint where the problem is exactly so we can begin recoursive action. 

To be safe, we can easily say it’s the practices we have here that diametrically oppose those in countries like Japan (2% obesity):  Unsafe farming, refined sugars and processed goods, lack of focus on making improvements, lack of Governmental support of healthy living.  Certainly, an elimination of even ONE of these factors would make a measureable difference in the old American waistline. 

But I would prefer to propose a challenge.  Unlike Mexico, whose culture is grounded in centuries of mono-cuisine (delicious, but unhealhty and fattening), Americans have an opportunity!  We are what we make ourselves.  We are rebellious.  We recreate ourselves all the time.  There is no mono-culture here, because we all bring whatever we like to the table.  So let’s start talking dinner table, and invite all the wonderful cool kid parts about us to the kitchen and to the garden.  We might be the fattest, but I thoroughly believe that the same way we got here, we can turn it around.  Reinvention is our middle name.

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Wait! Do I Have an Eating Disorder?? …Post-Raw Day 6

Approaching my one-week anniversary of the completion of my epic Raw journey, something VERY interesting was brought to my attention.  Aside from my airplane salad debacle, I also had a Women’s Health Magazine debacle:

Orthorexia
A fixation with healthy or righteous eating

Orthorexics often eat only organic foods, eliminate entire food groups, or refuse to eat anything that isn’t “pure” in quality, says clinical psychologist Sari Shepphird, Ph.D. Unlike anorexics, they don’t necessarily think they’re fat or strive to be thin; some are motivated by a fear of bad health, a fixation with complete control, or the desire to improve their own self-esteem. Ironically, severe orthorexia can lead to malnourishment.

Okay, so here’s what.  No one tells you that your ambition to be healthy, ward off potential genetic diseases, be energetic, feel youthful and look fit would later, somewhere along the way be classified as an [GULP] Eating Disorder.  No one says that the reward for fending off the American obesity epidemic, and avoiding the fats, sugars, and other unsavory abundant delights would be replaced with the scorn of a mid-shelf magazine.  That the few of us who are courageous and creative enough to take the road less traveled, eating clean when we can, indulging here & there when we want to, and trying to raise awareness as we go; our efforts should be minimized and we should be made to feel there must be some kind of ulterior motives to our apparent madness.
Yes, I choose to eat as healthy as I reasonably can.  Check.  I’ve also eliminated meat, most dairy, refined sugars and simple carbs from my diet.  Check.  Certain items, the “dirty dozen” to be exact, I insist must be organic.  I don’t like to eat pesticides.  Check.  But in making what I deem simple adjustments, delicious adjustments!, I enjoy a life full of much more energy, quality and laughter than ever before.  I’m more intuitive, more thoughtful, and I care more about the planet.  Now, am I thin as a result?  Maybe.  I also make sure I sweat a few times a week.  And of course I’m not afraid of being sick, because I am confident I am feeding my body well.  And as for malnurishment–ask the bunch of Kale, Spinach, Quinoa, Wild Rice (yup! I had bloomed wild rice again tonight, this time with a pesto sauce…mmmmm!), Avocado, Oatmeal, Nuts and Berries, Grapefruit and Chocolate I had today if I’m getting sufficient nutrition.
I understand there are folks with unhealthy perspectives on their bodies, and that have toxic relationships with food.  But when it comes to those who are enthusiasts, and who prefer oats to frosted flakes because they want to stay full past 9, at least give us the dignity of letting us dance to the beat of our own colorful, raw drums.  So am I an orthorexic?  I don’t know.  Am I?  Seems sort of like a made up word anyway.  I kind of love being “fixated with healthy or righteous eating”…especially the righteous part.  But in general, I prefer the term, foodie.
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