American cuisine…some people might say it’s pretty great while others could not disagree more. Up until my diagnosis of Catamenial Epilepsy, I was one of those people who thought American food was fantastic! In my defense, I was completely unaware of the poor quality ingredients commonly found in processed foods.
It wasn’t until I experienced an allergic reaction to Monosodium Glutamate (MSG) that I began making the lifestyle changes necessary to get me on a path toward better health. The truth is, many foods these days don’t even contain actual food ingredients anymore, instead they’re packed full of chemicals, imitation products of the real thing. The line has to be drawn somewhere, so why not let it be drawn here? Put your foot down to Genetically Modified (GM) food products and cook the way our ancestors used to, from scratch! A microwaveable meal might be easier, but from-scratch baking really saves you in the long run!
“Scientists have discovered a number of health problems — like changes in reproductive hormones, testicular changes and damage to the pituitary gland — related to genetically modified foods, however these studies have been repeatedly ignored by both the European Food Safety Authority and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). GM foods are typically regarded as equivalent to their conventional counterparts. This, however, is flawed logic because GM foods contain foreign genes that have never before been introduced into the food supply, and are universally contaminated with toxic GMO-specific herbicide residues.” (Dr. Mercola)1
These health problems continue to plague United States consumers and will worsen in time if people do not switch to Organic foods and cage free meats and dairy products. The difference between foods in Europe and the United States is quite extraordinary. Did you know that the U.S. is currently unable to import meats into European countries because of all the hormonal and chemical additives?
“Europe is much stricter than our country about what kinds of chemicals get into the food chain. Europeans don’t find many — if any — artificial dyes in their food. They can also rest assured that their cows aren’t shot up with artificial growth hormones. The EU also banned the use of an arsenic-laden drug in chickens long before the United States finally followed suit. More recently, the EU enacted a moratorium on the pesticides responsible for massive bee die-offs.” (Alternet.org)2
Clearly, the EU is taking precautionary steps exactly where they need to be taken! The U.S. could learn a thing or two from their actions concerning food standards. According to VegNews3, the ban on American meats exists in more than 160 countries and “this is not the first time that American animal products have been banned on the ground of public safety — hormone-fed beef is prohibited in the EU, and other United States trading partners such as Japan have outlawed the hormone bovine somatotropin in dairy cattle, which is commonly used in America. While these drugs fatten the food industry’s wallets, they have been shown to skew hormone levels in consumers and lead to health issues including prostate, breast, and reproductive organ cancer.” (Vegnews.com)3
As if these effects aren’t devastating enough all by themselves, it actually gets worse. In recent years, there has been a gradual decline in the amount of naturally occurring nutrients found in vegetables, fruits, and meats. “The way our food is grown is guaranteed to give us beautiful, tasteless, nutritionally deficient food with long shelf lives…the unhealthy result is that our meals are dense in calories, but sparse in nutrition and flavor, so our bodies crave more nutrition and pleasure than is found on our plates.” (Psychologytoday.com)4
In this day and age, we have full access to vitamin supplements and other health food products, yet millions of people across the United States suffer from numerous deficiencies. How is this possible???
“According to the World Watch Institute, farmers today can grow two to three times as much grain, fruit, and vegetables on a plot of land as they could 50 years ago, but that food contains 10 to 25 percent less iron, zinc, protein, calcium, vitamin C, and other nutrients. In simple terms, you would have to eat eight oranges today to derive the same amount of Vitamin A as our grandparents would have gotten from one.” (Psychologytoday.com)4
Due to the current circumstances, finding nutritionally rich foods can be a bit of a challenge. Therefore, it is very important to help strengthen your body by building up nutrients through multiple sources. The best way to accomplish this task is to minimize your intake of processed foods and replace it with whole natural foods, preferably Organic. I know that processed foods like Oreos and Cheetos Puffs are yummy, but they really have no nutritional value to offer your body. By replacing these foods with fruits and veggies, you are doing your body a huge favor! These energy-boosting foods will go above and beyond your typical processed foods by actually satisfying your nutritional needs. “To protect your health and the environment, strive to make 90 percent of your diet non-processed, whole organic foods; it may cost more to eat this way initially, but the amount it will save you in the long run is immeasurable.” (Dr. Mercola)1
If you’re reading this article and would like to make some lifestyle changes as far as your diet is concerned, but you aren’t quite sure where to begin, don’t fret; it’s actually much easier than one might think! It’s all about going back to the basics; just regular whole foods that aren’t processed and only contain natural ingredients. The best places to find foods like these are at Organic food stores such as Whole Foods Market, Trader Joe’s and Sprout’s Market. If one of these stores is not located near you then I recommend you check out your local Vons, as they happen to have a very impressive Organic section, as well. We can’t control what companies put into our foods, but we can control what foods we choose to put into our bodies.
I was diagnosed with Epilepsy when I was sixteen years old, the main cause being a hormone imbalance (which I’m sure my diet contributed to). However, I don’t plan on living with this condition forever. I am confident that one day I will conquer it through Holistic methods. I took my first step in accomplishing this task 4 years ago when I changed my diet for the better. It was the best decision I could have made for my health and it is so exciting to be able to see the improvement in my overall stability. My annual number of seizures continues to decrease and I know that it is partly because of my dedication to a healthy diet. So, if you’re someone who is struggling with a health condition, I challenge you to try changing your diet just so you can experience, firsthand, the difference it is guaranteed to make in your life. Or, if you’re a perfectly healthy individual I recommend you take preventative measures and alter your diet so that you may continue to remain healthy. Whichever you may be, seize the day and take control of your health, today!
1Dr. Mercola. “Americans Eat the Cheapest Food in the World, But What is It Really Costing.” Mercola.com. n.p., 2012. Web Accessed on August 17, 2015.
2Richardson, Jill. “Bon Appetit! Why Food Is So Much Better in Europe Than the U.S.” Alternet.org. n.p., 2014. Web. Accessed on August 17, 2015.
3Dean, Tommy. “Why 160 Countries Say “No” to US Meat.” VegNews.com. VegNews, 2013. Web. Accessed on August 17, 2015.
4Cummins, Denise. “How American Food Makes Us Fat and Sick.” Psychologytoday.com. n.p., 2013. Web. Accessed on August 17, 2015.