A basic overview of the role food plays in our health and wellbeing.
Katie Dienes, RN, BSN
The S.A.D., otherwise known as the Standard American Diet, really is a sad sight to see.
In what’s become the hustle and bustle of everyday life, turning to quick, cheap, convenient options is now the way of the world for many. With that quick, cheap convenience on the front end comes an immense disconnection from the food that we eat each and every day.
For each and every meal.
Why Even Eat, Anyway?
I mean on some level, sure, we all know that we need to eat to live. And for the most part, we have a general sense of what “eating healthy” is. More fruits and veggies, sure, got it.
But have you ever stopped to wonder why?
What REALLY is the purpose of eating? What makes food “healthy” or not? And perhaps most importantly: why should we care?
Maybe you’ve stopped to think about these questions already, and if you haven’t that’s totally okay. What’s important is that you’re here now. I hope that by the end of this piece you’ll be starting to recognize the role that food plays in your life a bit more and relate it back to your own unique experience. Or maybe it’ll serve as just some food for thought for ya.
*cue drums+symbol crash*
Yikes bad joke, okay moving on…
As mentioned, with the desire for quick and convenient that’s translated its way into our food culture, it is easy to become disconnected from what’s ACTUALLY entering our bodies. If you feel totally out of touch with what you’re eating don’t worry, you are definitely not alone. In fact, a 2018 study from Cornell University showed that a whopping 48% of Americans never seek out where their food comes from or how it’s produced. We’ve grown so accustomed to outsourcing our food infrastructure to big-name brands and manufacturers that this number isn’t at all surprising.
But the fact of the matter is, the more disconnected we are from the purpose of our food and what even makes food food in the first place, the less control we have over it.
In a nutshell, food is what works to make us, us. It provides us fuel just like gasoline does for a vehicle, and it can do so in 1 of 2 ways.
What we choose to eat will either:
Fuel our bodies and fight disease
Fuel disease and fight our bodies
Now of course, there’s a lot more at play here. But when you peel back all the (sometimes messy) layers, it’s really that simple.
A Trend in Plain Sight
Do you ever stop to wonder how and why the rates of obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancers, and neurodegenerative diseases, to name a few, have seemingly skyrocketed? What’s interesting is the fact that this climbing trend just so happened to start escalating around the time that the fast food era was introduced into our society. Namely bringing you, yup, you guess it: The SAD diet.
Source: CDC, updated May 6, 2022
Prevalence of two or more of nine selected chronic conditions among adults aged 45 and over, by age and sex: United States, 1999–2000 and 2009–2010
Source: CDC/NCHS, National Health Interview Survey
I think not!
You see, this is a perfect demonstration in plain sight of just how powerful food is when it comes to fueling or fighting disease. Healthy, wholesome food is full of the building blocks of life needed to make our body go, whereas food-like substances, found in the form of ultra processed junk, are nothing more than foreign particles to the body that create a sense of chaos throughout the body.
Its the difference of promoting
EASE (through healthful, whole foods)
dis-EASE (through ultra processed, highly refined food-like substances)
We Have the Power
Those beautiful little building blocks in whole foods that work hard to make us what we are are incredible, but at the end of the day can only be effective if we choose to put them at the end of our forks. Our bodies are made up of trillions of little cells, and our food will quite literally becomes us.
Think of it this way:
Would you rather your cell walls be made up of powerful, energizing veggies, or sluggish, damaging donuts?
At each and every meal and each and every snack, the choice is always ours. The first step in being empowered in this choice is to finally reconnect with our food and the purpose its meant to serve in our lives.
Now am I saying to never enjoy a donut or a pizza ever again? Absolutely not. But I hope that this has helped shed some light on the importance of food and why choosing "healthful" options really does matter. It’s not just some who-blah that everyone’s talking about for fun-zies.
Be sure to check out this week's YouTube episode of Katie's Corner
If you’re ready to make the shift but could use a helping hand, a Registered Nurse Health Coach may be just the thing you need! Head on over to my home page and book a discovery call now.
Until next time,