It can be a “process” weening processed foods out of our diets.
According to Joel Fuhrman’s most recent publication Super Immunity, 65 percent of the calories that Americans consume are processed calories. The modern day individual is swimming in chemicals, GMOs, preservatives, and processed junk!
This is the way of capitalism. Don’t get me wrong, their are many positives to it, as well. But, if you want the truth in a capitalist economy, you must follow the money. And the money clearly says that we are a society addicted to sugar and processed death.
If the demand didn’t exist, we would not be surrounded by a chemical kingdom. As much as we like to point our finger at the phantom fast food kings and queens, we must also realize that the power lays in our choices. If half of America woke up tomorrow and refused to eat McDonald’s, they would either go out of business, or start selling products that are healthier.
Part of the problem is we are late in figuring out just how harmful our new ways of mass producing food truly are. Heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and cancer rates continue to sky rocket. Yet, it is so lucrative to sell the public these disease building products simply because we continue to buy them.
In fact, if taken away, many of us would be outraged. Instead, multibillion dollar corporations like Kroger and Nestle are pressured to not only keep up with this jaw dropping rate of production, but to also steadily increase their numbers to appease their stockholders and executives. According to the Department of Commerce, from the 1980s to now, fresh food index prices have gone up 40 percent while processed food has gone down 40 percent.
It was also around 1950 that scientists began to categorize the main nutrients, vitamins, minerals, and enzymes that are vital to our human diet. It was widely accepted that 31 vitamins and minerals made up basic human composition and dietary needs. So we began infusing our milk with vitamin D and making cereals and drinks that were full of nutrients that we would normally have to find in real food.
We now know that the truth is that it’s more like 1,031 nutrients that are vital to overall systemic health and that one strawberry carries nearly 700 of these phytonutrients. These nutrients are not really something you can find in your Gatorade. It’s sad to realize that in the 21st century we haven’t only moved further away from nature in a spiritual context, replacing this relationship with the ease and comforts of technology, but also in a dietary platform.
In the last 50 years, the green content in people’s diets has gone down hill. As I mentioned earlier, the numbers show that this is partly because of money and how expensive buying fresh can be. Only recently has the recognition and power of green food compounds been rediscovered and implemented into our culture again. It’s beginning to gain speed. It’s more widely accepted to be a vegan, and to some, perhaps even sexy if you are a vegetarian. I personally am neither, but am very conscious about how much animal products I choose to put into my body and where they come from.
The biggest problem with processed food is what it does to our DNA. DNA methylation is an epigenetic mechanism that cells use to control our gene expressions. This means it’s directly correlated to how we age and what our bodies and minds become. DNA methylation isn’t bad, but abnormal gene methylation is scientifically proven to be a building block to human disease—mainly different forms of cancer. Processed foods cause this abnormal methylation because we are consuming chemicals and foreign particulates that the body has never been exposed to in its evolution!
Everyone is afraid of cancer in this day and age, and I get that. According to the National Cancer Institute, in the year 2016 alone, 1,685, 210 people were diagnosed with cancer. The general public has this attitude that no matter what you really do these days, you have a chance of getting cancer, even if you are healthy. I stop listening right about there, because their version of healthy is the failing health care and food system we find ourselves in.
We are already cancer proof! All of the cells in our bodies have something called antioxidant response elements (ARE). It’s important for us to ingest antioxidants as well, but we already have them built into us to protect us from free radical cell and DNA damage, the building blocks for cancer and disease. The body wasn’t made to get sick; it was made to stay healthy. It is the greatest tool we will ever have.
It also has a direct relationship with the planet; with nature. It wasn’t until the boom of the industrial era that we began being able to mass produce processed foods and monopolize on our meat and agriculture. Before this, we had a much different style of eating. We still ate meat, but we relied much more on wild greens and vegetables found in nature. This connection to our roots and the relationship that human beings have with the planet is so vitally important, that it can be found even in the act of eating.
Certain vegetables like broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and cabbage found in the cruciferae family are known to have amazing anti-cancer fighting properties. What has warmed my heart and changed the way I understand this relationship between our food and our body even more is how this exchange in properties happens. If you look deeper at the scientific causes behind these anti-cancer fighting green compounds that the cruciferae vegetables have you realize that the vegetable by itself does not have the anti-cancer formula.
This alchemy literally happens in the process of eating it! When we chew and break open the cellular wall and mix the enzymes in our saliva with two key components found in these vegetables called myrosinase and glucosinolate this anti-cancer recipe is created. In my mind, a finding like this defines our relationship with the wild. The plant we are consuming isn’t even that powerful of a health elixir until the act of us eating it!
It’s a process getting rid of the processed foods in your life and learning how to navigate in a healthier more aware mind surrounded by the tide of diseased culture scape we have created. Regardless, taking the time to listen to your body more and society less will change and evolve how you understand wellness and positively impact the quality of your life.
We don’t need to spend billions of dollars searching for the “cure” to cancer or a more effective form of heart surgery. This cure has been here all along, and no matter how much money we dump into our health care system the truth will stay the same. This connection to our plates and our planet is the only way to find true health.
Author: Rainer Jundt
Image: Flickr/Sanjoy Ghosh
Editor: Travis May