Top of the food chain: Price we pay

As humans we pride ourselves for being at the top of the food chain. Our ancestors clawed their way to the top so we, their progeny could go to supermarkets and shop the various aisles for produce, meat and dairy that are now made so easily available for us.

The other day someone recommended a documentary called “What the Health”. It’s on Netflix so figured it was worth checking out. I’ve watched a lot of these over the last few years. They brought to light the horrors of slaughter houses, the sad state of dairy cow and chicken farms, and the absolutely zero advantages of drinking bottled water. All of them had a rather profound impact on my life. These were things I turned a blind eye to all this time, not intentionally, but more because it was part of day-to-day life, something you get used to as a result of being at the top of the food chain. These documentaries however made it impossible to continue to live like this.

We switched the household to organic produce and dairy, drastically reduced use of plastics switching instead to glass or stainless steel, started recycling and carried reusable bags everywhere we went grocery shopping. While trying to improve our health, we were also attempting to minimize our carbon footprint on this planet.

I thought I was doing really well too until “What the Health”. Hmm. This documentary focuses on some of the same aspects of food industry as the others. What it brings to the forefront though, is how the medical industry and all the health institutes that were established to “assist” us in maintaining good health are funded by the very corporations that stand to gain from the profits from the sales. A quote from there that really brought things home was “It’s like asking the tobacco companies to tell you the benefits of smoking.” That’s as blatantly obvious as it gets.

Now I’m a diehard pescatarian and eggatarian (is that a word?). I grew up eating and loving both. My spouse had a strictly vegetarian upbringing, no room for eggs even. Somewhere along the line, mostly after we crossed the seven seas to get to the land of opportunity, we switched over to eating everything. Being culinarily adventurous only fueled this. 🙂 Watching the documentary made me question all of this.

The documentary talks about how America focuses a lot on protein as the source of energy for athletes and common people alike. Where then is the focus on fiber and it’s primary source which is mostly plants? From breakfast items to dinner options, the primary ingredient is protein, with maybe a side of potatoes or a stray asparagus. Fortunately, I grew up eating a lot of fruits and vegetables and being really healthy. Then in the last few years since transitioning to a more animal protein based diet, things changed. Gradually but they did.

Two years ago, when I had my knee surgery, I was asked to cut out all sodium from my diet to help manage the inflammation. It was impossible to palate regular food sans salt so I went radical. I switched to a 28 Jason Vale juicing program. It involved drinking four fruit and vegetable juices or smoothies a day. It did wonders for my inflammation but it made several other things better that I hadn’t even accounted for. My skin cleared up, my energy was through the roof and the level of mental clarity was phenomenal! I lost weight too, which was an added bonus.

Then one day, I fell off the bandwagon. Being unwell and years of not-so-great eating habits caught up to me. It became easier to turn to conveniently available processed foods instead of investing the time in making the juices or eating clean. And my body and my health paid the price for it.

A year later, I’ve recouped some of those losses. It is still a work in progress and while juicing is not the sole option, eating well and eating clean is. “What the Health” made me realize that it may be time for me to take life back into my hands. It will require a commitment, a lot of discipline and finally a thick skin to ward of detractors. One day and one bad item at a time, the intent is to start living a cleaner, longer and fuller life.

I highly recommend watching this and many other similar documentaries for anyone looking to make a change in their life. You’ll be as amazed as I am at how well it will shape your life!

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