Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Problem With Our Current Food Supply - Two Words!

PS - posted at the end of writing the below post after previewing it - Yes I have simplified things as I promised - but blogged my heart out along the way - so if you want to get to the point and miss all the fun stuff in between - scroll down to bottom.

Let me tell you where it all started to get very interesting for me, this madness, this obsession with the effects of food on our bodies and health.

In my early pursuits for fitness, someone put me onto an author who had a particular notion - that fat in the diet does not make you fat.  This whole concept intrigued me, and I began to dig deeper.

But hang on.  What was the general message out there regarding fats? Well for athletes like me (I can hear some of you laughing but hey this was a while ago) "keep your diet low in fat and eat all the carbs you want". Oh yes I can still remember the weeks on end where I dedicated my lunchtime meal to the hugest plate of spaghetti you ever saw, complete with a whole tin of Campbells meat sauce and half a block of cheddar cheese (yes I was trying to put on weight).

 In pursuit of the  truth of such matters I find it is best to experiment on yourself. Thus I embarked on adventures in high fat eating.  My proudest moment was when I managed to make the Mother of all Protein Shakes max out at just over 2000 calories - yes I only could manage to consume one per day and I could have killed a small child if I dropped the blender jug on them.

This particular masterpiece contained the following:
1 whole tin of coconut cream (saturated fat)
6 eggs with yokes (more saturated fat)
Several scoops of protein powder
20 to 30mls of virgin olive oil
a little water to make it more viscous ( i use this word cos yes it was like thick oil)

I ususally consumed it during the course of the day in 2 sittings. 

my other staples each day included a tub of dollop cream for breakfast (yes I ate it like yoghurt), a little fruit to taste, steak or sausages for daytime meals and an evening meal of more fatty meat with some veggies.  I maintained this regimen for over three months at one point.  Yes I avoided the lean cuts like the plague hehe

In the early days I did not understand the risks of processed meats versus untouched meats so I also enjoyed salami, bacon, sausages and various deli meats. 

Sausages were an easy way to take in large amounts of calories - however after eating 5 to 10 per day for several weeks at times during one of my high fat adventures I had several rash outbreaks (and I have never had allergy problems before).  A little researrch at the time suggested sulphites (preservatives) in the sausages were the likely culprits so I cut right down and have never had an allergy since.  One allergy rash lasted nearly 3 days and was a nightmare.  These days I stick to purer meats like steak, mince and chops and chicken.

Anyhow getting back to the point - I was taking in over 300 grams of fat per day for 3 months at a time. To put this in perspective - low fat mantra suggests you have about 50g max per day) Yes I low carbed while doing this (except on weekends where I carbed up to round it all off and balance it out).  I lost bodyfat during this period - yes I lost it! Without doing any cardio - but I was doing weights 4 times per week. But the whole calories in and calories out myth I also blew right out the window.  I muscled up considerably. These days I understand that high saturated fats and cholesterol (which is good for you) equals extra testosterone and thus promotes muscle growth. Quite simple really.

I dont know about you guys - the readers - but this experience and this experiment amazed me. I had debunked a huge lie - fat does not make you fat.  Again, these days I understand it truly is the carbs and the hormone responses to them that makes us fat. 

Many of us out there are still on the low fat diet hamster wheel - running back to the supermarket for more low fat milks and creams and yoghurts and other items - totally on the wrong track.  Hehehe you should hear me curse when I try to buy sour cream and there is only low fat.  This used to happen a lot - and I cursed each time every time. Then as if to taunt me even more they brought out extra low fat sour cream and I would often find plenty of the low fat and extra low fat version - still with NO FULL FAT version.

Sorry for digressing.  The point of all the above is that this stimulated me to seek further answers regarding our diet woes.   I found them in a single book titled Nutrition and Physical Degeneration - Weston Price.

Price was a dentist who in the1930's travelled the world investigating the dental health of primitive racial stocks as he called them.  He looked at what people were eating - and compared those who were living on a tradiitonal diet compared to the modern diet of sugars, and white flour  He quickly learned that dental health was closely related to overall health - and where people were living on a modern diet their health quickly deteriorated.  He also noted that every traditional diet included some form of animal protein and fats.  Where butter and cream and eggs and lard were mainstays - people were in excellent health.

Back to current times - I urge you to take a look sometime at the ingredients on the processed foods in your supermarkets.  Forget the additives and preservatives for a moment (I have not even bothered to research them because there is no need - yes they are bad for us) almost every product on the shelf has either white flour or sugar in it. 

There you have it in the nutshell.  Sugar and flour are terribly bad for us.  In fact, foods containing flour can be considered as anti-nutrition because they leach the minerals from our bones to assist with digestion. 

If you want to be healthy - Step 1 is to minimise the use of these types of foods.  It is a challenge both to find better foods and to resist the tantalising taste of them - but well worth it in the longrun.

So next time you are at the supermarket and you hear someone cursing in the dairy section, take a look,  it may just be me...

-Cameron

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