“This is another fine mess that you’ve gotten us into, Stanley.”
In case you were culturally deprived when you were young, that quote is a rather famous accusation voiced frequently by Ollie in the Laurel and Hardy comedies. About the only thing that I never heard Oliver Hardy blame Stan Laurel for in those movies was his weight. Obesity was not viewed as a national health crisis in the twenties thirties and forties, hunger was closer to home for a lot of our population.
The weighty have always been among us. They have never been as dominant in numbers as they are today. Along with the new fat epidemic comes symptoms of ill health that worry us (a lot) when we exhibit them. Added to that are diseases like cancer, heart disease and diabetes; all common problems related to the obesity.
So absent a handy Stanley to blame
for this mess what is the real cause of our obesity today? Is it just overeating? Is this just couch potato syndrome due to too many hours in front of the TV?
It is tempting to blame obesity on overeating and lack of exercise. As a nation, we seem to believe that we can banish (or at the very least, resolve) the entire obesity issue by just naming it. Diet books that promise to help us lose weight sell faster than liposuction; a procedure that is responsible for 1 death per 100,000 surgeries. But these quick fixes keep selling because even successful dieters find that most of the fat returns, sometimes with its big brother.
Clearly nutrition is a big part of controlling obesity. What, how much and even when you eat all play a significant role. The real problem lies with food as we eat. Processed and fast food that are fast and easy to prepare. Foods that are processed to preserve them, enhance the flavors and still be convenient and easy to prepare. Without processed food we wouldn’t have a fast food industry. Our foods are often altered far beyond anything dreamed of even in the infamous Pillsbury Mills or Betty Crocker Kitchen prior to 1960.
From the shiny wax containing MSG and other “Preservative and taste-enhancing chemicals,” which is now sprayed on most fresh fruits and vegetables; to the hidden ingredients buried on labels under catchall phrases like, “Spices, Natural Flavoring, Natural Meat Tenderizer, and other questionable sobriquets, much of our foods is chemically altered. Which brings us to the real question –How can you learn what you need to know in order to survive this onslaught against the nature of the food itself?
Instead of looking for causes, cures and treatments it makes more sense to take a really close look at what we eat. I know from experience that adopting an organic whole food plant-based approach to eating (no matter how you define it) will eliminate symptoms, cure disease, make you lose weight and never gain it back!.