Understanding the Cause of Obesity: How to Identify Toxic Foods

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Currently, two-thirds of American adults are overweight and one-third obese, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  That means that 58 million are overweight, 40 million obese, 3 million morbidly obese, and all are at serious risk for virtually all chronic disease.

Why is everyone getting so fat?
There are several identifying factors behind the recent surge of obesity, but one of the major contributors is toxic food choices.  Diet-induced diseases, including obesity, account for the largest burden of chronic illnesses and health problems worldwide.  The current Western diet, characterized by foods that are highly processed, deficient in nutrient quality, and high in energy density, has Americans fat and sick as ever.  More Americans each day are forsaking healthy home-cooked meals, and are gorging on calorie-rich, nutrient-poor snacks, sodas and sweets when the dinner bell rings.  In fact, 90% of the money Americans spend on foods goes toward processed foods.

Why are processed foods so toxic?
Very simply, your body is unable to express optimal health when it is fed unnatural food.  Your body knows exactly what to do with food that grows from the ground and is found in nature, but it becomes confused when faced with mechanically altered foods.

The modern convenience foods of today – sugar and white flour products with hydrogenated vegetable oils – are key factors in the alarming rate of chronic degenerative diseases, learning disabilities, and dental disease.  These denatured, processed foods do not provide sufficient nutrients to allow anyone’s body, especially children’s, to reach full potential of health, nor the proper functioning of the immune, nervous, skeletal, digestive, and reproductive systems.

At the heart of the problem:  Sugar.  Refined sugars, or simple carbohydrates, provide no nutritional value to your body other than to provide calories.  When we consume processed carbohydrates such as white flour and sugar, it is absorbed rapidly into our systems and needs relatively no digestion time.  Our blood and cells get flooded with sugar, and the result is a physical disaster.

Many researchers believe refined or processed, high glucose foods are the major dietary cause of all degenerative disease.  The sugar surge depletes, replaces and uses up important vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients.  It quadruples adrenaline output, inhibits immune functioning, lowers metabolism, raises cholesterol, and increases triglycerides.  The glucose that is produced from refined foods gets stored as fat.  The conversion process not only causes fatty deposits on your body, but also in your cells, on your arteries, and on your heart.  Fat is even deposited in your liver, kidneys and other organs.  The constant bombardment of blood sugar raises your risk of obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, arthritis, premature aging, and cancer.

According to the USDA, people consuming 2,000 calories a day should eat no more than about 10 teaspoons of added sugar.  USDA surveys show that the average American is consuming about 20 teaspoons of sugar per day.

What are some characteristics of non-toxic foods?
• Been around for thousands of years and eaten by your ancestors
• Grown from the ground or tree
• Animals that graze freely
• Variable quality
• Spoils quickly
• Requires preparation
• Vibrant colors, rich textures
• Authentically flavorful
• Strong connection to land and culture

What are some characteristics of toxic foods?
• Produced, manufactured, and likely only been around for a short period of time
• Made in a laboratory or factory
• Animals that are raised in captivity and fed unnaturally
• Always the same
• Keeps forever (ever seen a twinkie go bad?)
• Ready for instant consumption
• Dull, bland
• Artificially flavorful
• No connection to land or culture

Here are a couple more suggestions:
• If it didn’t exist when hunter-gatherers were around, it’s probably not food.
• If it’s wrapped in layers of plastic, cardboard and foil, it’s probably not food.
• If it requires heavy advertising to sell it, it’s probably not food.

Be sure to check out the The Top 10 Never Eat Foods list.

Remember, addition is the first step toward making lasting change.  So find some foods that fit the non-toxic criteria, and give your body what it needs to be healthy, age gracefully, and feel great.

Week 11 Fuel Insight: Avoid Toxic Choices

by admin

ESSENTIAL ELEMENT:  Avoid Toxic Choices

Critical Concept:  Toxicity and Deficiency
Life is an extreme sport.  Between the long hours, stressful jobs, barbecues, teenagers, traffic jams, ozone depletion, and 700 calorie sugar-laced Frappuchinos – it’s a wonder anybody lives to see fifty.  The fact that some people are still upright and walking under their own power is akin to Keith Richard’s ability to still be on tour with the Rolling Stones.  The toxic insult that we withstand over a lifetime from the external environment in the industrialized world is an absolute testament to the tenacity of the human body.  Compounding that burden is the lifestyle choices that people make today.

Toxic behaviors will compound and create stress and sickness as readily as healthy habits combine to create health and wellness.

As discussed in previous Insights, some foods are inherently toxic to the body.  Truth be told, most people can readily identify which foods they should choose to avoid.  These toxic food choices are especially harmful because they are consumed instead of the nutritious foods that our cells require.  This “double whammy” sets the stage for accelerated aging and promotes both acute and chronic disease.

The modern marketplace is filled with selections that exploit your weaknesses.  Advertisers know that you are instinctively driven to sugar-filled, fat-laden, salty foods.  They aggressively taunt you with images, flavors and economics to get you to pull into their drive-thru lanes or toss their products into your buggy at the grocery store.  Every time that you watch TV or walk into a store, there is an overt assault on your senses and sensibilities.

Push back.

Modern foods have been laced with substances that super-stimulate your taste buds.  These chemicals will actually change your future taste threshhold for flavors by altering your neurology.  This class of additives is known as exicitotoxins.  They are heavily addictive and act as accelerants in the trend towards over-eating.

We bio-accumulate toxins over time.

The choices that we make regarding our food intake every day are as important as the ideas and beliefs with which we choose to fill our hearts and minds.  Our bodies will collect many of the impurities that are found in industrialized foods and store them in our cells over time.  This bio-accumulation of toxins has been found to result in neurological disorders like autism, Parkinson’s and Alzheimers Disease, not to mention liver damage, arterial plaquing and cancer.  At a minimum, toxins are an added stress on the body and promote inflammation; at their worst, toxins cause cellular dysfunction, leading to disease.

Healthy people choose to maintain as pure of a diet as possible.  A Bonfire vital behavior is to make a commitment to consuming organic foods whenever feasible.  Establishing a reliable source for locally grown, organic fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds makes life easier than trying to find it “on the run.”  Seek out a local source for organic, range-fed poultry, grass-fed beef and buffalo, as well as a way to get wild caught fish and/or game.

It’s critical to identify common de-railers to your efforts at a pure diet-styleRule #1:  Never leave your house hungry.  Rule #2:  Never shop hungry.  Rule #3:  Always bring your own healthy foods or snacks with you (or at least know where you’re going to get some).  A Bonfire best practice is to pack your own lunch.  It’s key to always make enough food so that you’ll have leftovers for at least one or two additional meals.  Having healthy foods readily available makes it easier to make healthy choices, while snuffing out the stress of food prep at every meal.

Fill your home with the foods that you wish to eat.  If you were building a house you would only buy the supplies with which you wished to create your home.  The same is true of your body.  The war against toxic, deficient choices is won or lost at the register.  If you don’t buy it, you won’t eat it.  We have significant influence on our toxic burden by the way that we choose to eat, move and think.  You either build health, or build sickness with every choice, every day.

Summary Checklist: At this point you should be….

  • Drinking adequate water
  • Eating plants first
  • Consuming lean cuts of high quality protein
  • Consuming high-fiber, whole food carbohydrates
  • Increasing your healthy fat intake
  • Taking your Bonfire Essential Supplements
  • Taking 3 Deep Breaths before you eat to reset your state
  • Maintaining a net zero or net negative calorie / energy balance
  • Mindful of “why” you’re eating, not just “what” you’re eating
  • Choosing to consume an abundance of Nutrient Dense Foods
  • Choosing to avoid Toxic and Deficient Foods (see Dr. K’s “Ten Never Eat Foods”)