All animals on earth know how to eat. However, most humans have lost their instinctive ability to make wise food choices and instead look elsewhere for advice. Unfortunately, we are inundated with messages about how and what to eat — mostly from unreliable sources.
Food is the foundation of everything you do. Without the right fuel for the aerobic system, fat-burning will be limited. Without the thousands of nutrients from food, the immune system can’t stop the process of disease. And without the necessary balance of macronutrients, the brain can’t continue to thrive
In order to achieve optimal human performance, wise decisions about the foods you eat are essential. The best foods help the body produce nearly unlimited energy, increase fat-burning and lead to a healthy life. In addition, the body is constantly making new cells, and, in fact, always replacing itself, so you’re really making a new body all the time. The building blocks for this new body come from the foods you eat. So, in a very real sense, you really are what you eat.
Just as each of us has a different set of fingerprints, the specific requirements for carbohydrates, fats and proteins, along with the right amounts of vitamins, minerals and fiber, can vary from person to person. To build and maintain optimal health you must supply your body with the right mix of fuels and nutrients that matches your individual needs. This is much easier than you think, and what you’ll learn in this book.
Unfortunately, many people obtain information about food and nutrition, and other key lifestyle issues as well, through newspapers, magazines, radio and TV. With few exceptions, this information is usually misguided — packaged and processed junk food disguised as healthy is continuously pushed on the public. While these sources
may be entertaining, they’re usually not an accurate source of health information. The goal of these media sources is to sell newspapers and magazines, and keep you listening or watching a certain program. One reason for the slanted information is the editorial process — many articles, interviews and other bits of information never get reported because the information clashes with advertisers. But in addition to their ads, these same advertisers get their information to the public in the form of articles, interviews and other media — even through sponsored “scientific studies” — often with the public not suspecting there’s a conflict of interest.
There is a lot of money behind this campaign to sell you unhealthy food. Large corporations spend billions of dollars telling us to be hungry for unhealthy foods. And it works — how many times have you seen a commercial on TV and suddenly had an intense craving for whatever was being advertised? And how often did you feel the need to buy a certain product because the announcer or writer said it was the best thing for your health? The answer to both questions is often— that’s the power of advertising and the way the media is intricately connected with advertisers.
Likewise, we cannot rely on the government to make our menu. Over the years and decades, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has come up with many different recommendations — I often referred to these as pyramid schemes. While these are often associated with updates in scientific information, there is a heavy dose of special interest groups and lobbyists behind the recommendations. These include lobbyists for the dairy industry, from companies that make breakfast cereals and from those who have directly contributed to our current obesity epidemic — the sugar industry. From the old four food groups to the many changing pyramids, these recommendations include many unhealthy foods, such as refined carbohydrates and sugar, but have de-emphasized fresh vegetables and fruits. The best recommendation is for each of us to know our own food needs.
The truth is each person has his or her own food pyramid because we’re all unique with individual requirements. However, there are some basic recommendations that may be helpful, and these will be emphasized throughout the book. These are the foundations of a food
CHOOSE YOUR FOOD WISELY• 27
plan to build and maintain optimal human performance. The first is to only eat real food — not processed, not artificial, but foods provided by nature. Instead, common recommendations and the largest component of most people’s diet include refined foods, especially carbohydrates — cereal, bread, bagels, rolls and rice — and sugar and sugar-containing foods. Another key feature of a healthy food plan is balancing fats by eating sufficient amounts of good fats and avoiding all bad fats. In addition, we all need moderate amounts of high quality protein. And, we all require sufficient amounts of fresh vegetables and fruits. We also need adequate amounts of pure water, something many people fail to achieve.
What’s the basic recipe? Choose your food wisely.
The Carbohydrate Trend