Food and eating as we know are important for our body maintenance and growth process, but can we eat anything we like and trust it? As long as you live in the Western side of this world, you cannot always trust what you digest. As Michael Pollan author of ‘ Escape from the Western Diet’ mentioned, most of the Western food is processed food, which you cannot trust. Pollan is focusing on getting rid of Western diet in the United States and guiding Americans to start eating healthier and having better eating habits. On the other hand, Mary Maxfield author of Food as Thought: Resisting the Moralization of Eating’ goes to the other extreme. The main argument that Maxfield asserts and reinforces throughout her essay is that diet and health have no correlation. The Western diet is threatening our health and it might become uncontrollable in the coming years. Replacing processed food, growing your own and changing bad eating habits can save Americans from many dangerous health problems they are suffering from
The message is getting through, but slowly: the way we’re eating is killing us. Something has to change. Unfortunately, all of the change has fallen on the backs of consumers. In a nation where close to a tenth of the population has diabetes and heart disease is the number-one killer, our food system is a national disgrace and a public health disaster. Yes, many of us could make small choices to eat better, and many of us have indeed adjusted our dietary habits in reaction to increased information about healthy eating and increased access to healthy food. But choosing to eat well isn’t an easily available option for many Americans, in large part because of structures implemented by big food companies and their agents in Congress. When a corporate food culture is setting us up to eat large portions or heavily-processed, densely-caloric, low-nutritional food, “personal responsibility” isn’t going to cut it. In a recent review published in the Nutrition Journal,1 Dr. Ian Myle of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases explained that our modern-day Westernized diet is setting the stage for immune-mediated diseases:
“While today’s modern diet may provide beneficial protection from micro- and macronutrient deficiencies, our overabundance of calories and the macronutrients that compose our diet may all lead to increased inflammation, reduced control of infection, increased rates of cancer, and increased risk for allergic and autoinflammatory diseases. Growing fruits and vegetables seems overwhelming to most people, but it’s actually much simpler than it sounds All you need is a few square feet of the great outdoors, a water source, and a little time. Your grandparents did it, and so can you.
Start with adding in one new food. Buying one new food item at the grocery store is one-way Lindsey Smith revised her eating habits. Smith is the author of “Eat Your Feelings: The Food Mood Girl’s Guide to Transforming Your Emotional Eating.” While seeking a better relationship with food, she experimented with one new thing a week, trying a new recipe or vegetable. Trying too much at once can backfire, she said. “They spend $150 on fruits and vegetables, and they don’t eat half of them.” Avoid wasting time and money by incorporating a bit at a time. With the DASH diet, for example, McMurry recommends that if you eat one or two vegetables a day, add a serving at lunch and dinner. Substitute brown rice instead of white, whole grain bread instead of white. Be flexible. Find and keep flavors you enjoy. Just because a friend posts perfectly planned meals doesn’t mean that’s your route to food salvation. If meal planning isn’t for you, don’t force it. Getting rid of everything gluten in your pantry might leave you feeling stressed two weeks later. Steer clear of actions that fill you with guilt. “Our bodies are complex, and we tend to crave things at different times,” said Smith. “So many of us think that it has to be rigid.” Find flavors you enjoy and incorporate them. “If you find yourself feeling deprived of foods that you love, then eventually you’re going to rebel and go back to the less healthy habits,” McMurry said. So, if you love macaroni and cheese, maybe make it with low-fat cheese and skim milk and eat a smaller serving, instead. You can even try the NIH’s recipe If you go big, keep it temporary. Some diets tell people to avoid whole food groups, notes McMurry. “They’re OK for a short period of time, but what we really like to promote about DASH is it’s a heart-healthy eating plan for life and part of a healthy lifestyle,” she said. Ideally, find something you can sustain. But if you try a diet that eliminates entire food groups, consider it a chance to see how the absence of those foods affects your body during that time. “What we want is something that’s very sustainable,” McMurry said.