Wednesday, March 16, 2011

A little closer to balance

I am continually amazed by my own gullibility.  Maybe because I am an honest, literal person, I expect that others are and I take what they say at face value, never suspecting an agenda.  I like balance, I like information from two sides of an issue, so I can make a decision for myself.  Unfortunately, when someone is only giving me one side of an issue, I tend to believe them, but often I am misled, because I don't even realize they could be trying to make me think a certain thing is true, even though it hasn't been proven... I'm trying to stop doing this. I'm trying to think for myself.  In a world where we are constantly barraged with ideas and images and "evidence" and "studies" and "science" that "proves" ideas to be "true", I'm learning to question, learning to ask for evidence, learning that if something hasn't been proven 3 or 4 times, it might not be true...

So I was very happy to discover that someone had made a counter-argument documentary for a film that I had watched last year, the film that tried to destroy McDonald's:  "Supersize Me".  This movie is shown in some of our own junior high health classes, and has been said to "expose" a "conspiracy" in the fast food industry, etc. etc.  I suggest you watch it rather than have my opinions affect your own.  I took it pretty much at face value and, having been told my entire life how bad saturated fat and animal fat is, I felt pretty guilty every time I ate at McDonald's after watching it.  It even made me feel a little sick to watch this man get more and more grossed out by the food as he ate it for an entire month.  A few of the points made by the film were that McDonald's is partly to blame for obesity in America, that Americans are helpless against the corporation feeding them food that's unhealthy, and that the government should do something.  Etcetera.

And then, this year, along came Netflix.  We got rid of our satellite service and adopted the Netflix streaming on our Wii.  By happenstance, one afternoon my husband and I watched a less professional, but even more interesting documentary called "Fat Head", which systematically debunked everything in the film "Supersize Me", as well as showing how we, the nation, including the medical world, have been indoctrinated to believe that manufactured vegetable oils were better for us than animal fat (saturated fat), and all this "science" about lipids.  It turns out that in the '80s and '90s while obesity was becoming an epidemic, people were eating a lot more vegetable oils and sugars and grains and a lot less animal fats.  And we were still gaining weight.  How could this be?  I can't remember the actual studies or science (again, watch the film, it's better than my memory will reproduce), but the gist of it is that humans actually need animal fats-- our brains are made of fat.  Also, the man in this film reproduced the "experiment" of eating at McD's every day for a month and he lost weight, his cholesterol went down, his blood sugars were good, etc. in effect:  by increasing his exercise routine to 6 nights of walking each week, while eating fast food for all 3 meals (I think it was all McDonald's, but it's possible I'm mistaken), he got healthier!  Weird.  It was very strange, and his doctor tried, without success, to explain it away.
My recommendation to you?  Watch them both, beginning with "Supersize Me".  Then do some research, if you are able, and decide what's what.  To find out the government has been misleading us for decades should come as no surprise to any of us.  We have become increasingly cynical and mistrusting of our politicians for a reason.  As for changing my diet?  I will not be taking any drastic measures-- for one thing, I love bread and cakes and sugar.  However, even before watching this film, I realized my family needed to increase our fruit and veg intake and dramatically decrease our sugar intake (now I realize this includes breads and grains, but I won't be removing them completely.)
I think balance is the best thing.  What rings true?  What sounds right?  Do you feel good when you try to cut out all meat or animal fat?  Does it make sense that we are eating processed, manufactured oils, when butter or coconut oil is actually better for us?  Can you give up your soda and chips?  I would dare say that if American parents want their children to be healthier, the first thing to go should be soda and candy.  The second, chips and all those starches-- fries, breakfast cereals, etc.

I actually find it difficult to research these things because the internet is packed with conflicting information, and the only way to know what is true is to keep going, keep reading and then listen to my gut.  If something feels wrong, it probably is.  At least for me.  But it isn't always easy to tell.  Logic plays a large part.  It is logical that we would be healthier eating natural foods, like butter, than processed, man-made foods like vegetable oil, but I was taught most of my life how evil butter is. Same with eggs.  We've been told alternately that eggs are bad, eggs are good, eggs are bad, now eggs are good again.  What do you believe? And what has led you to believe it?

I think I should do my own experiment.  Change my diet... I'm not interested in going full-Atkins here, but maybe a little bit for a month, see how I feel.  I spend so much time feeling tired and sluggish-- probably changing my diet would help.  Hmm...

A link with some interesting quotes about some items discussed in the second film:
http://www.chelationtherapyonline.com/articles/p150.htm

5 comments:

Angie said...

Very interesting, thanks for that insight Steph. I also think that people rely too much on food and not enough on exercise for weight loss and health. I have rarely changed my diet, but have fluctuated my weight by moving or not moving. I now feel guilty and think I need to get back to a walking routine with the kids........I will start that tomorrow since it looks like rain:)

Steph said...

I agree, Ang. Another point he made in the second film is that some people simply burn fat faster, some people process food slower, i.e., not all fat people are unhealthy, some of it IS genetics, and not all thin people are healthy (people tell me that I'm one of the thins, but I'm tired ALL THE TIME, and I eat a lot of grains and sugars, so I would bet a combination of increased activity and decreased sugar would help me a lot). It's really very interesting. :)

I keep meaning to get back to my yoga tape, but not today, it looks like rain...

Steph said...

That's not to say that fat people who eat poorly wouldn't lose weight if they changed their diet a bit and moved their bodies more. Genetics does matter, but so do our actions... or inaction...

MommyChickadee said...

LOVED this post! I'm a huge proponent of moderation in all things. Everything comes from somebody's angle and sometimes finding the middle ground is difficult... I have always felt like the "real deal" in food is healthier than the manufactured stuff. (Mind you, some of that stuff is absolutely delicious now and again!) Thanks for sharing!

Chris said...

I wanted to comment on this but I couldn't reach the keys over my stomach. Did I eat at McDonald's yesterday?