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Food for Life

Mon, May 21st, 2012
Posted in All Columnists

On the wrong path

I just read some very disturbing statistics, and since my column is basically about trying to be healthy, I thought I would share. I know I am not perfect, and I eat a lot of unhealthy things that I preach about not eating. I weigh about 20 pounds more than I should. I have still not found a perfect way to lose this weight, although I’m guessing it has something to do with that exercise thing I never do. But I am trying.

I am going to talk about the United States, because this is where we are, and this country seems to be the worst as far as obesity and obesity-related health problems. There is something very wrong with this. A country this well-off and with this many opportunities should not have such a low infant mortality rate, should not have such a dysfunctional healthcare system, should not have such poor education when it comes to food.

Food is medicine for your body, and when junk goes in, your body is not going to function well. Our bodies were not designed to digest so much sugar. Our bodies store it and it becomes the fat that we hate. There are many, many people making changes in their lives and trying to be healthier, but there are also a lot of people who aren’t aware of what they are doing to themselves or just don’t care.

Americans in general are going down a path with devastating consequences. The poor health that comes from eating processed, fried, fatty, salty, sugary, and fast foods costs the country millions in healthcare. One problem is that people are too busy, too stressed, or too poor to eat the way we should. It is way to easy, and too inexpensive, to stop and get fast food, or buy a box of macaroni and cheese, or eat a frozen pizza. I know. I have three kids, and some nights, this is what we end up eating.

According to the statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), that average weight for both men and women has increased by more than 20 pounds since 1960. In 1970, Americans spent about $6 billion on fast food. In 2000, they spent $110 billion. There has been a 63 percent increase in the consumption of fats and oils, and a 400 percent increase in the consumption of high fructose corn syrup since 1970. Is there really any question why we are seeing more cancers, more heart disease, more type 2 diabetes in young children?

How do we get back to how we used to be? I don’t know. Money seems to control how things are run, and it is going to take a lot of demand from people to make changes. Companies make junk food because people eat it. If more people buy organic, there will be more demand, more supply, and the prices will go down. If more people demand that the government subsidize fruits and vegetables more than corn, which ends up as high fructose corn syrup, or other unhealthy things that end up in fast food, it can happen.

This casserole is, once again, an adaptation of a recipe I found on Oh She Glows. I have made it for company a couple of times, and everyone has loved it. It’s also easy to make, looks pretty, and is full of good nutrition. It can be as spicy as you want it to be, depending on how much taco seasoning you add, or how hot the enchilada sauce is. Enjoy!

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