I am a health freak. Processed food scares me silly. I have a love-hate relationship with meat, cheese, and my ever-favorite Diet Coke. I have read so many self-help articles, books and journals that my own brain contradicts itself on the daily. Over the past few years, I have tried everything. I’ve jumped on every bandwagon health-kick, exercise regime and diet that exists, waiting for that one to sweep me off my feet and make me instantly healthy. Here’s what I’ve discovered after years of experimentation: the only self-help tools you really need are a set of eyes, ears, a nose, mouth and some good ol’ common sense. Please, let me explain.
Our world today is covered in artificial chemicals, and I mean that literally. We drink water out of plastic bottles, allowing chemically made materials like BPA to bind with water molecules and enter our bodies affecting our cells, tissues and organs. We breathe air next to Diesel trucks, inhaling mouthfuls of carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, sulfur dioxide and other particulate matter. We drop chemicals into our eyes when they are feeling dry, take aspirin when we have aches and pains and eat chemically processed, genetically modified and artificially flavored food because it’s cheap, “safe”, and “good-for-you”. None of this information is particularly new, and none of this information is shocking. What this information is, frankly, is disgusting.
The harmful substances we put into our bodies today, whether by choice or by accident (because let’s face it, breathing in Diesel isn’t necessarily a choice when you’re sitting in rush-hour traffic on a Friday afternoon), are not only making us fat, but they are also making us sick. It’s no secret that diseases like obesity and diabetes are on the rise in the United States. According to the Harvard School of Public Health, from 1990 to 2010, there was a 60% increase in childhood obesity. Diabetes has similar statistics. But what about the diseases you think have nothing to do with what we eat, drink and breathe, like autism? In a study this past May, researchers found evidence that environmental conditions such as air pollution may be a main reason why autism rates are on the rise in children. Increased rates of brain disorders like autism are just the beginning. It’s pretty obvious that as we continue to live, eat and breathe in our environment, we will be at risk for a plethora of new diseases, cancers and epidemics, not to mention extreme weight gain and malnutrition problems. So what do we do? How can we possibly protect ourselves from getting fat and sick? The solution may not be as difficult as problems we face. I’m calling it a solution as simple as “Cut the Crap”.
It doesn’t take a diet book, fad or article to tell you any of the above facts. It takes common sense and some observational skills. The next time you read the nutrition facts on a box of cereal and see more than 20 ingredients, stop and think. The next time you reach for that bottle of water that’s been sitting in ninety degree heat for the last eight hours, stop and think. The next time you drive by a toxic waste center, or see thick smog rising from buildings, stop and think. My hope is that after reading this article, you will begin to stop and think. I hope you will realize that the problems eating away at our health and society are not rocket science. You know you’re not supposed to eat processed food, drink melted plastic, and breathe in polluted air, so don’t. Or, at the very least, cut as much of the crap out as you possibly can.
Chemicals and our environment are making us fat, not the “bad” fats and carbohydrates that we hear about so frequently. It’s not what to eat, it’s what to avoid. Everything in moderation, except for of course, the chemically-processed-been-sitting-on-a-shelf-for-3-months crap. Let’s become a better society together, by weeding out the toxic items we’re putting in our bodies. The first step to a happier, healthier you? Ditch the diet books and open your eyes, ears, nose and mouth. A healthier world is out there for the taking.