Over the past 150 years throughout the coming of age of the industrialized world, what we eat and how we come by it have changed drastically.
From their very start, plants are raised with synthetic chemicals that our bodies just don’t understand. Sadly, plant diversity has severely diminished and conventional farming methods have sacrificed nutrition for perceived higher yield.
“Nutrient decline has occurred because the focus of plant and animal breeders, farmers, and agribusiness has been on increasing yields, not on food nutritional quality. The reason for this focus is clear–farm commodity markets, federal farm policy, and those funding agricultural research have rewarded yield increases above all else.,” explains the organic center (1)
To compensate for incomplete nourishment, we overeat—our bodies seeking what they need for all the things they have to do to remain healthy. This situation is not only welcomed by Big Food, it is encouraged.
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Processed foods are formulated to satisfy the flavor of nutrition but not the content. Eating has become a mind game of “sensory-specific satiety”. Here’s how it works: strong flavors in manufactured foods send signals to the brain that confuse nutrient receptors and the brain doesn’t know when to stop eating. In fact, there is a whole body of science dedicated to flavoring foods; fast and junk foods are specially designed to be addictive (2). It’s just good business.
In these ways, food producers manipulate what you want to eat and how much.
The Cost Of Cheap Food
The consequences of nutrient-poor foods are evident: obesity rates have climbed higher and higher, now affecting everyone from the elderly to toddlers.
Chronic disease can start even younger. In fact, immune system-related conditions are common in young babies, from eczema to Crohn’s disease. This occurs because common grocery items are loaded with additives of all kinds, including preservatives, flavorings, colorings, and genetically-modified organisms that trigger immune response. Virtually everything in a package contains added sugars, salt, and adulterated fats. When women eat these foods during their pregnancy or when babies are given infant formula, these substances confuse their developing immune system.
If an invader in any form enters the body, cells will try to metabolize or kill it. If neither works, healthy cells and body chemicals will interact with a toxin, trying to figure it out and/or store it in fat. The immune system shifts gears to address the problem and inflammation occurs.
The reality is that most chronic disease is completely preventable. This fact may shock you, but it is also liberating.
The World Health Organization states:
“MISUNDERSTANDING #4: chronic diseases can’t be prevented
Adopting a pessimistic attitude, some people believe that there is nothing that can be done, anyway. In reality, the major causes of chronic diseases are known, and if these risk factors were eliminated, at least 80% of all heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes would be prevented; over 40% of cancer would be prevented.” (3)
The root causes of chronic disease in almost every case are toxicity and deficiency.
“The chronic disease burden in the USA largely results from a short list of risk factors—including tobacco use, poor diet and physical inactivity (both strongly associated with obesity), excessive alcohol consumption, uncontrolled high blood pressure, and hyperlipidaemia—that can be effectively addressed for individuals and populations,” states one scientific study (4).
Recipe For Disease
Removing the risk factors for disease means reducing or eliminating the root causes.
Toxins are found in food, pharmaceuticals, water, tobacco, alcohol, personal and home care products, and the external environment. They’re pretty much everywhere. Avoiding them takes conscious effort and diligence.Things we do that we may not even think about are adversely affecting our health because they lead to a toxic internal environment.
Above all, avoid the following:
Anything we eat apart from a wide variety of fresh, whole foods is potentially detrimental to our health—if not from their content, then from the packaging.
Our bodies tell us when something is out of whack: we don’t feel well. Simple signs like sluggishness and fatigue give way to more serious symptoms. The conventional medical approach to illness is to treat the symptoms so you feel better, which is what we want.
The treatments, however, are often worse than the cause and can have long-term effects. Without the right nutrients going in, our bodies don’t have the ammunition to fight illness, which they’re designed to do.
Common deficiencies of the North American diet include:
Chronic Inflammation = Chronic Disease
A combination of toxicity and deficiency in the body cause inflammation as cells try to do more with less.
From The Family Health Guide of Harvard Medical School:
“Inflammation is an essential part of the body’s healing system. Without it, injuries would fester and simple infections could be deadly. Too much of a good thing, though, is downright dangerous. Chronic low-grade inflammation is intimately involved in all stages of atherosclerosis, the process that leads to cholesterol-clogged arteries. This means that inflammation sets the stage for heart attacks, most strokes, peripheral artery disease, and even vascular dementia, a common cause of memory loss.”
“Inflammation doesn’t happen on its own. It is the body’s response to a host of modern irritations like smoking, lack of exercise, high-fat and high-calorie meals, and highly processed foods.”
“Medical researchers and pharmaceutical companies are hot on the trail of inflammation-busting drugs. Don’t bother waiting – they are a long way off, are bound to be expensive, and will almost certainly have side effects.” (5)
Instead, start immediately by removing toxins from inside and around your body, make sure you exercise regularly, and eat a diet of whole foods.
If you feel overwhelmed, start with juicing: drinking your nutrients can actually ensure that you get all the vitamins and minerals you need without overeating. Plus, it’s much easier than cooking up a well-balanced meal or snack.