Did you know the average person is unhealthier now than in 1970? People were not counting calories, drinking green smoothies, or going to expensive gyms. So, WHAT happened?
It’s complicated and there is a plethora of reasons but here’s my take:
There is confusion on what is the “right” balance of macronutrients. Diets range from keto, vegan, plant-based, etc. and the list goes on. When we become extreme the body starts to rebel. If we take out essential nutrients, we start to compromise our metabolism, nutritional status, and overall health.
In the 70’s people generally ate 3 meals, no snacks, a protein, vegetable or salad and a starch at meals. Weight issues were no where near what they are today.
Getting back to basics may be an answer here – it’s not simple but yet it is – eating a protein you enjoy, having a serving (or two) of organic veggies/salad so you feed your gut microbiome, and rounding out with a little fruit, a small amount of healthy starch (wild rice, organic yam/sweet potato or potato are the best) and healthy fat (grass-fed butter, olive oil, avocado, ghee). AND eating enough to get you through to the next meal (minimum 4 hours) so you don’t snack or graze. Grazing increases your insulin which makes it hard to utilize fat stores AND makes it challenging to digest your food properly (creating space for bacterial overgrowth and not the friendly kind).
Home cooked meals are becoming scarcer. Even if you eat at nice restaurants chances are you are not getting grass-fed protein choices, organic veggies or foods cooked in healthy fats. Most restaurants use vegetable, soybean or corn oil for cooking and dressings which are extremely inflammatory and alter your omega 6/omega 3 ratio (it’s supposed to be no more than 1:1 and in America most people have a 20:1 ratio).
In addition, food manufacturers are using more pesticides than ever (think glyphosate AKA roundup) so eating out increases your exposure to pesticides which constantly attack your gut microbiome and increase the toxic load in your body which can lead to cancer, autoimmune and neurological challenges in some people.
Exposure to dangerous plastics. It’s easy to drink out of plastic, eat out of plastic and put products on your body that contain “endocrine disruptors” such as BPA. The plastic chemicals leech into the water, and daily use highjacks our metabolism and makes us more susceptible to weight issues, diabetes, and other medical challenges. What you put on your body (personal care products, makeup, etc. “feeds” your skin all day long so it can be more significant than a meal).
We are nutrient deficient. The soils our crops are grown in are coming up short on nutrients and are saturated in pesticides and herbicides. The average produce (a head of lettuce or an apple) provides far less nutrients than it did 100 years ago. I hardly ever recommended supplements or even a multivitamin when I started in private practice many years ago. Now I’m shocked at the low level of nutrients in someone’s blood panel making it essential to take supplements to get nutrients up to a healthy level, especially vitamin D.
Since it’s impossible to fix the “system” of what is wrong you can only control your own health through the daily choices you make.
Here are 4 things you can do to turn your health around in 2024.
- Decide on the balance of the diet that is right for your body (based on genetics, blood work, history, etc.) and stick to that balance within 3 meals.
- Eat at home as much as possible so you are controlling where your food comes from (grass-fed, organic), the fats in which it is cooked in, and the balance that works for your body.
- Decide to lower use of plastics as much as humanly possible – drinking out of glass, changing your products to be free of plastics, parabens, etc. (see blogs for ideas)
- Get regular blood work to determine if you need supplements (vitamin D, B12, folate, etc.) so your body can function normally versus running on empty.
Although maintaining your health is more challenging than ever, managing these 4 things will go a long way towards unwinding ill health – the choice is yours!