It Begins With Information | #BigFood #Health

It Begins With Information

Source: GreenMedInfo.com
Charles Eisenstein
April 19, 2017

When I first discovered the world of holistic health and nutrition, and saw the ignorance from whence I had come, I thought my health problems would be gone forever. It would be easy — all I needed to do was to implement the information I was discovering.

This was the formula I’d learned in school. Find the answer, and the problem is solved. Do what you are told. I’d been told the wrong information, but now I’d discovered the right.

Perhaps the reader has also experienced that rush of excitement, and that fresh surge of motivation that follows it. Finally, the answer! It’s blue-green algae! Lions mane mushrooms! Far infrared sauna! Vitamin D supplementation! Structured water! Negative ions! Adaptogenic herbs! High-intensity short duration exercise! Alkalizing the blood! Omega-3 fatty acids! Veganism. Paleo. Raw. Fasting….

Yes, it wasn’t long before I encountered a problem: Information overload. No one can implement all of these, even if they didn’t sometimes contradict each other (vegan and paleo for instance). At some point one wonders, how many “must have” supplements must I have? A rebelliousness sets in: it isn’t supposed to be so complicated. Should a person have to sift through numerous scientific articles just to be healthy? (Or trust someone to do it for them?) How do we know which expert to trust? In a more innocent time, we trusted the (supposedly) impartial self-correcting mechanisms of scientific publishing. When the flaws in that system are exposed — the influence of money and politics, the quashing of dissent, the institutionalized confirmation bias — then what is left? Whom do we trust, when the old authorities are discredited and so many new ones are vying for our attention, many with a product to sell?

The response I’ve worked with for fifteen years has been to develop inner authority as a way to cut through the fog of so many dubious and contradictory outer authorities. Inner authority is based on sensitivity to, and trust in, the communication coming from the body. That is easier said than done in an age of distraction, in an age of dissociation from the body, and in a society that constantly asks us to surrender our sovereignty to medical, educational, and other authorities. The formula for doing it right that I learned in school — to find the answers out there — is itself part of the problem.

To establish inner authority means to learn to distinguish authentic appetites from desires that come from displaced needs. Needs are displaced when the the thing we really want, the thing that meets the need, is unavailable, whether through circumstance, lack of knowledge, or emotional blockage. The unmet need could be for something like intimacy, meaning, connection to nature, fulfilling work, or adventure. An unmet need generates both discomfort and desire, and that desire often gets channeled onto something — such as junk food, overeating, alcohol, or another addiction — that doesn’t meet the actual need. For example, someone who lacks deep, unconditional self-acceptance might be compelled to frequently give themselves a treat to confirm (on an unconscious level), “Yes, I am a good girl. I am loved.” Or maybe you eat because you are lonely. Or snacking offers a respite from a lite that is just a little intolerable.

This leads to a second reason why finding correct information may only be a first step: Just because you know what to do doesn’t mean you will actually do it. People bring things into their bodies — and their lives — all the time that they know are not good for them. We do things that we have vowed to abstain from, and fail to do what we’ve promised ourselves. Why?

Until we can resolve this question, having the right information will not be enough. Displaced needs explain a lot of it. if the real need is for intimacy, no amount of sugar — which gives a momentary experience of something like intimacy, and momentary relief from the discomfort of it — will be enough to meet that need. You can eat it and eat it, and blame yourself for your weak willpower, but actually it is just that you are trying to meet a need. Maybe the reason it is unmet is that the marriage has become stagnant and real communication has broken down. Maybe secrets and pretenses are in the way of true intimacy. Changing your diet or switching supplements is unlikely to change that. But then maybe you have a breakthrough in your relationship, and voila — the craving goes away. Until then, the sugar is helping to maintain the status quo.

Various addictions usually fit this pattern. Coffee as a substitute for the natural motivation of following a life purpose. Gambling as a substitute for taking bold risks. News addiction as a substitute for a feeling of power and agency. I’m grossly generalizing and simplifying here, but I think you get the idea. You cannot make an addict stop using by telling him that it’s “bad for you.” You cannot make yourself stop that way either. The information is not enough, and neither is the kind of willpower that comes through a regime of threats and incentives.

How then can we identify and meet the displaced needs? How can we know when a food or a practice or a supplement is meeting a real need? And how can we align desire and discipline so that we can choose beneficial things effortlessly, and effortlessly avoid that which harms? The answer to all three of these questions comes from the same fundamental practice. Put simply, the answer is available through the power of attention directed toward the body and its sensory experience. When we can fully receive and integrate the experience of taking something into the body (or into life), then we know it on a body level; we know what it is and what it is not. Then it take no more willpower to decline harmful foods than it does to stop from jamming your thumb into your eye. Because you know, on a body level, that it hurts.

To establish this kind of direct feedback, so that harmful things become repellent and helpful things become attractive, requires integrating body responses over time. It also requires unlearning a lot of habits that seem totally normal in our culture, and bringing into consciousness the unconscious ways in which we avoid feeling.

I give a fuller description of this process in my online course, Dietary Transformation from the Inside Out, including meditations and take-home practices to reprogram new habits over a period of a few weeks. The goal is to establish a kind of ease and freedom, a release of struggle, an aligning of health and pleasure, and a trust in inner authority.

I hope I have not unduly simplified a complex issue in this brief article. Another crucial piece of the puzzle include the ways our culture deadens us to subtle body information and how to recover sensitivity to it. Even more important, perhaps, is the realization that a state of diet is a state of being — something must shift before a person is ready to inhabit a higher level of vitality. If the readiness is there, new health habits are easy to adopt. if it is not, then the energy coming from the miracle supplement or superfood or yoga practice will just be consumed by a correspondingly intensified addictive habit. Maybe you’ll feel great so you’ll drink more to bring you down to an energy level that fits your life right now.

Truly, the journey toward better health leaves no aspect of life untouched.

Of course, none of this means that information from researchers and experts is useless. It is in fact extremely valuable, because it gives the techniques I describe something to operate on. It opens up a new menu of possibilities on which to exercise inner authority.

Furthermore, there is a natural complementarity between the inner, attention-based process I’ve mentioned and the world of natural or holistic health. We sense a kinship between them, because both are part of a transition from a belief system in which well-being comes through the domination or conquest of nature, to one in which nature is our ally and teacher. Both also affirm that health is not a matter of fighting the body — neither imposing pharmaceutical control over it, nor imposing willpower over it based on mental knowledge. Holistic health isn’t about substituting one body of expert opinion for another. It is about reclaiming our power through a return to nature.

Read More At: GreenMedInfo.com

Why do so many Americans continue to choose junk food over healthy food?

Image: Why do so many Americans continue to choose junk food over healthy food?

Source: NaturalNews.com
Isabelle Z.
December 6, 2016

Even though more people than ever are switching to organic food and other healthier choices, the American diet in general remains very unhealthy. With obesity and its related health problems reaching epidemic proportions, many people wonder why Americans continue to make such bad choices when it comes to food.

The problem cannot be blamed on a lack of information, especially not in the Internet Age. While some people still remain largely ignorant when it comes to the dangers of GMOs, for example, most people in the year 2016 realize that junk food is not good for their health.

Other people say that it’s a lack of money that drives people to make poor food choices, with people able to stretch their money a lot further on the McDonald’s $1 menu than in the organic section of a supermarket. This could be part of it, although other calculations have shown that the average amount of benefits provided by food stamps is sufficient for a healthy diet. Organic produce can also be grown at home cheaply, even without a yard.

Some say it’s because Americans are too busy working to make a wholesome meal from scratch, so they just grab whatever prepackaged foods they can find. While that might be true for some people, it doesn’t explain why someone in search of a snack would grab a bag of chips over a banana, solely in the interest of saving time.

Others posit that it’s largely an issue of taste, with people preferring the flavor of potato chips to that of spinach, for example. Again, it seems reasonable, but anyone who has ever taken a serious approach to a clean diet can tell you that there are many flavorful choices out there that do not put your health at risk.

Junk food is addictive, plain and simple

Nevertheless, the idea that it’s a matter of personal preference ties into one of the most compelling reasons people eat junk food: It is highly addictive from a scientific standpoint. In fact, a series of studies have shown that rats can become so addicted to a junk food diet that they would rather starve than eat healthy food, mimicking the addictive pattern that nutritionists see in humans who eat junk food despite knowing better.

Junk food is actually engineered to make people want more, which is why the Lay’s potato chip slogan promising that “No one can eat just one!” is so alarmingly accurate.

Junk food is engineered to trigger overeating

Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Tricked Us author, Michael Moss, says that Doritos and Coca-Cola are largely successful because of their complex formulas that taste very good but do not have one single prominent flavor that triggers the brain to stop eating.

Meanwhile, he says that Cheetos contain a remarkable number of attributes that make the brain crave more, not the least of which is their ability to melt in your mouth, which tricks your brain into thinking they don’t contain any calories and makes you want to keep eating them. Food companies employ teams of chemists, neuroscientists and physicists to get the ratio of sugar, salt and fat just right to keep people coming back for more.

A study from UNSW’s School of Medical Sciences found that feeding junk food to rats caused them to lose interest in novel foods, an effect that lasted even after being put back on a diet of healthy food. This could be one reason that people who eat a lot of junk food can’t get out of their rut – trying healthier alternatives no longer appeals to them, as they’ve lost their natural preference for variety.

Processed food also tends to contain a lot of sugar, even the savory choices. Americans eat 152 pounds of sugar every year on average. With sugar being eight times more addictive than cocaine, it’s easy to see why so many people are struggling to kick the habit.

As long as food companies keep pumping their foods with chemicals that keep people coming back for more, America’s junk food obsession is not going to go away.

Read More At: NaturalNews.com

Sources include:

TreeHugger.com

NaturalNews.com

NaturalNews.com

NaturalNews.com

NaturalNews.com

U.N. Expert Calls Junk Food a Human Rights Concern

Source: NaturalSociety.com
Julie Fidler
November 5, 2016

A United Nations (U.N.) expert says that when the world’s poor go shopping for food, they are often forced to choose between what they can afford and what is nutritious, calling the problem a human rights concern. [1]

Hilal Elver, the U.N.’s special representative on the right to food, blames free trade and increased industrial food production for excess amounts of cheap junk food, “effectively violating [many people’s] right to adequate food.”

Elver says that nearly 800 million people live in hunger worldwide, but more than 2 billion people are micro-nutrient deficient, and another 600 million people are obese.

Though many people don’t think of it this way, obese is often a sign – and the result – of malnourishment.

This is a topic I’ve written about before. In countries where there simply isn’t enough food to go around, people are emaciated with bloated bellies.

But in industrialized and developing countries, obesity is often a consequence of poverty, but also of location. Urban dwellers tend to live in areas where cheap “junk” food is everywhere, but access to healthy food like fresh produce is non-existent (food deserts).

According to U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) stats from a few years ago, the most recent data available, children and adults in America on average consumed more than 12% of their daily calories from fast-food restaurants.

The agency noted, however, that in the U.S., people’s poverty status did not significantly affect those numbers. The facts run contrary to the long-held belief that the biggest consumers of fast-food in America are low-income families.

It’s important to note that obesity is just 1 problem linked to poor diet. Poor nutrition also wreaks havoc on the immune system. Researcher Ian A. Myles points out in an article published in the Nutrition Journal:

“The Western diet is characterized by an over consumption and reduced variety of refined sugars, salt and saturated fat.

Our poor dietary behaviors are encoded into both our DNA scaffolding and gut microbiome, and thus these harmful immune modifications are passed to our offspring.”

 Those behaviors can lead to increased inflammation, infection, cancer and allergies, Myles says.

To confront the problem of malnutrition, Elver said that states must do more than merely ensure that citizens have access to the minimum nutritional requirements needed for survival and ensure access to food that is highly nutritious. [2]

The international community is doing an abysmal job of meeting globally agreed upon nutrition targets intended to eradicate malnutrition in all its forms.

The biggest concern that Elver has, however, is the aggressive way in which junk food is marketed to children and developing countries. She is calling on governments to distance themselves from industrial food systems and embrace ecologically-friendly, sustainable systems.

Source: ChangeLab Solutions

She says:

“The first step is to recognize nutrition as an essential component of the human right to adequate food, reinforced by monitoring accountability and transparency.”

Read More At: NaturalSociety.com

Sources:

[1] Medical Daily

[2] Associated Press

Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations

ChangeLab Solutions


First Russia Bans GMOs, Now a Junk Food Tax Could be Next

soda

Source: NaturalSociety.com
Christina Sarich
April, 1, 2016

Californians and Russians must think alike. The U.S. state recently considered reinstating a soda tax, and now Russian government officials are thinking of adding soda, potato chips, and palm oil to a list of excisable goods. The measure would be part of a plan to promote a healthier diet for Russians as well as boost tax revenues.

This new suggestion, along with a recent ban on GMOs, is a move that Russia officials hope will create a healthier population (and of course…more money for the government). Both decisions have been supported by the Russian Ministry of Agriculture. The latest proposal could also include foods with excessive fat or sugar content – all tied to obesity in the U.S.

A recent decades-long study, including over 33,000 Americans, has proven the consumption of sugary beverages like soda interferes with genes and helps to cause obesity. Sugary, fatty, processed foods do the same. Russia’s move to tax these goods isn’t a new approach, but is growing more popular.