So many people talk about the foods that you shouldn’t be eating. Certain diets eliminate or limit your intake of everyday things like breads, meats, fats. On the Atkins diet its carbs, if you’re a vegetarian or a vegan (though most would tell you that it’s a “life choice” not a diet), you don’t eat meat or animal products. For many reasons, people make the decision to change their diets. I have mixed feelings about changing one’s diet. I think too many people see a commercial and think they should call Jenny or order NutriSystem, or they start eating SmartOnes or Healthy Request or Lean Cuisine, and without making a truly well-informed, conscious decision, they just throw themselves into a diet thinking they’re saved; thinking that the program will do it for them. That they won’t have to do anything but just eat from a box and they’ll drop 30 pounds in no time.

Its people that take a different stance on diet that really make it. It’s a different idea. It’s not a goal of dropping 30 pounds in as short a time as possible. It’s not making sure you can fit into a dress or a bathing suit at the end of the month. Its making a choice to change your ideas about food, and it’s a choice that few people even realize the importance of. Because nowadays if you can add water and stick in the microwave, that’s a meal. And from the stand point of nutrition, if you’re planning to improve yourself with foods like this, it makes no sense at all.

Food is a sacred thing. It nourishes us. It gives us the building blocks that make our bodies. It’s a beautiful thing. If you’ve heard the term, ‘nature’s bounty,’ that is how I think of food. I live for summer time when I can go to the farmer’s markets instead of the grocery stores. I love to eat huge bowls of garden-fresh salad greens or take big bites out of a pepper or a tomato that I’ve just picked and eat it like an apple. There is nothing more blissful in life than eating something you’ve grown and knowing how good it is for you. This simple act satisfies something so basic and good inside a person, I find it incomparable to any other.

Yet, even though we live here in our beautiful mountains with most of us having more than enough land for a family garden, or having a relative that has land we could help with, we depend on Food Lion and County Pride for our fruits and vegetables. Even though we have orchards all around us and cattle that graze the land right down the road, we buy from the grocery store. Where does that food that our neighbors are raising go? Why aren’t we eating it? And why aren’t they selling it at the grocery stores instead of shipping it from God knows where? How much less money would we spend on eating the beef the Timbrooks or any number of other county families raise? As I drive down our road, I always see their cows and I watch them eating and I think, “I would much rather eat that cow than a stranger’s cow from 1,000 miles away. Why can’t I?” I know those cows eat well; I know they’re well taken care of, where can I get some?

I find it very strange and insidious that we don’t have publicly available what’s locally produced. Why aren’t Food Lion and County Pride buying from local farmers? It seems very underhanded to me. And it’s not very supportive of the community. And here, we should be very community-oriented. We don’t have any distractions of the big city to keep us from paying attention to what’s important in life. We have each other. And even though my family doesn’t go back generations upon generations here, I love where I live, I love our home and our land, and I respect the people who live here. I would rather live here than anywhere else I can think of. I don’t think you can top Hampshire County or West Virginia. I think people who move from here to the cities are crazy and I think people who lived in the cities and moved here must be divinely guided.

When it comes to guiding our patients on what to eat, I often use the line “Eat like your grandparents ate.” For most people that means good wholesome home-cooked meals free from chemicals, additives, preservatives and all other kinds of bad-food-juju. Eat things that will help to build the body up and not tear it down. Eat foods that are real and not fake. Eat fresh, flavorful produce. Eat real butter. Eat real meat. Eat deer, eat red-meat, eat chicken, eat fish. Eat the tomatoes you canned. Eat the relish your neighbor gave you that she made herself this summer. Eat apples from the tree. Eat berries you can pick. And if you can’t get those things, and you think you can only shop at the grocery store, READ THE LABELS! For God’s sake. Know what you are putting in your body! Is there something on there you can’t pronounce? It’s probably a good idea to look for something else. Is there an ingredient that has words in the name you remember from chemistry class? Again, it’s probably best to look elsewhere.

It’s true that most packaged foods have inedible ingredients that should be avoided if you’re focusing on improving your health through your diet. It’s not a conspiracy, it’s not a joke. It’s a cold reality. Most things people eat are killing them. If you’re eating foods that have a lovely chemical slurry added to the mix, you’re not helping yourself in anyway by ingesting that. And even though your loaf of bread has a couple synthetic vitamins that were sprayed back into the flour after processing it (like thiamine mononitrate or dicalcium phosphate) the micronutrients that make those vitamins available to the body by completing their complex, were removed in processing. See? What’s going on with this stuff!

The following list shows the names of the most important things to avoid when reading labels, which you must do if you buy food at the grocery store and wish to help yourself.

• High Fructose Corn Syrup
• MSG, or Mono Sodium Glutamate
• Hydrogenated and Partially Hydrogenated Oils and Fats
• Sodium Nitrate/Nitrite/Erythorbate
• Aspartame (NutraSweet, Equal)
• Sucralose (Splenda)
• Saccharin (Sweet-N-Low)
• Acesulfame – Potassium [Acesulfame – K] (Sunette, Sweet One)

If you’re chewing gum, you’re getting a straight-shot of Aspartame and Acesulfame-K.

If you’re interested in the TRUTH about why these ingredients are horrible for you, you can Google them successfully by typing in “bad” along with their names, or you can wait and see what I have to say about them in upcoming blogs. YouTube is also a good source for the Truth about these things.

Here is a good website to check out about High Fructose Corn Syrup:
http://www.noweightgaincookbooks.com/worse_than_sugar.htm

Until I write again my friends, Adieu!
~Olivia

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