Image via Flickr by Alexander Day
Here’s a question: Are you what you think you are? An Old Testament proverb declares, “As a man thinketh, so is he.” I expect that applies to us ladies as well. How about this one: are we really what we eat? The correct answer is in the affirmative, it is impossible to be otherwise.
A startling figure was reported in The Guardian, in that, “About 85% of Americans do not consume the US Food and Drug Administration’s recommended daily intakes of the most important vitamins and minerals necessary for proper physical and mental development.” This is a 2015 metric, though I don’t see the state of affairs has changed much, from my own research. For example, french fries remain the number one vegetable consumed by Americans, some 28 pounds per person annually. And let’s just gloss over the approximate 180 pounds of sugar…for now.
The Guardian article recognizes that “hidden hunger” (micronutrient deficiency) wreaks havoc on our systems because we do not appear hungry, we appear filled out or even pudgy. If we don’t look emaciated and weak, it follows that we don’t necessarily move toward dietary changes. But the fact remains that body mass is clearly not synonymous with nutrient density. It’s one thing to consider our own body, quite another to feel the weight of responsibility for what we teach our children to consume on a daily basis. As a mother, this is an ever burning question for me. Am I giving my children the best building blocks that I can, or am I placating their demands for something of far less quality, content to set them up for a lifetime of disease?
Long-term illnesses and chronic discomfort have compounding effects, if we don’t clear things up quickly. In my own practice, I look at daily dietary intake, as this will give me a great idea as to what may be being set up in the body. Garbage in eventually equals garbage out. Sometimes, the real problem is that the garbage actually doesn’t come out; it remains lodged in the G.I. tract or in organs and fatty deposits. Over time, this equates to an ever-thickening toxic soup under our skin, clogging our veins, crossing the barrier and poisoning our brains. Little wonder that we’ve lost our get-up-and-go, or that our children are dulled vessels of apathy.
Nutrition, nutrient density, nutrient-rich foods…not the sexiest of conversation starters. But converse about such things we must, if we would live and live well. In her 2009 article, “Gut and Psychology Syndrome”, Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride observes that so-called mental disorders in children are very frequently the symptoms of unrecognized physical illnesses. She writes that, in addition to suffering from environmental contaminants, children also “cannot digest and absorb their food properly and have severe nutritional deficiencies. As a result they are unable to learn, unable to function in society, to play sports, to make friends, to fit in.” The good doctor underscores my earlier point, that it is impossible to reflect anything other than what we consistently feed ourselves. And let’s remember, that aforementioned government recommendation is widely considered to be the barest minimum for survival.
So the final questions for the moment are: Are we thriving, or are we barely surviving? And are we clipping our children’s wings at the same time?