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Thread: Food and Health?

  1. #1
    FORT Fogey
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    Food and Health?

    This topic has been brought to mind as I watch the special programs our PBS station is running for their pledge week.

    I have counted at least four different lectures/shows about various ways in which food/diet/eating behaviors is supposed to not only be healthy but in some cases actually be considered a way to "Cure" a variety of health problems.

    I am not disputing this--what I do find puzzling--and what I'd like to hear other opinions on--is whether food (as in a "healthy diet") can be considered as a kind of "medicine."

    And also--when the kind of foods presented as being healthful--perhaps even curative--differ so much from one lecturer to another--how one is supposed to go about deciding what food really is best for them and their familiy.

    I'd be interested in thoughts/ideas/opinions on this.

    Thanks for any feedback.

    Btw--one of the shows is Jillian Michaels of "Biggest Loser" fame talking about what she considers to be the most healthful diet and healthful behavior in relation to eating and food.

    I don't really like her that much--just a personal opinion kind of thing--I find her energy somewhat erratic and to me disturbing in a certain way--but I know that others find her--and her books--very helpful.

    Her ideas contrast/differ from the ideas of some of the other lecturers. Her idea for example that oine should NOT eat within 3 hours of going to sleep differs from that of others who say that it doesn't matter whether you eat before bed--it does matter what you eat etc.

    Another lecturer says that one should cut out all wheat etc products--anything containing gluten--and drastically cut down--even try to cut out completely--the amount of dairy and dairy-related food one eats.

    I am wondering what others think/feel about these contrasting ideas about what food can do to/for us.

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    MRD
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    Re: Food and Health?

    I have fibromyalgia and when I cut out all processed foods (foods with additives) I notice a huge difference. Also foods like tomatos and peppers and some others that I can't remember, have inflammatory qualities and can cause arthritis flareups.

    I do think there is a huge connection between foods and health.
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    Wait, what? ArchieComic Fan's Avatar
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    Re: Food and Health?

    There is so much - too much - information out there about foods related to health that it can be overwhelming trying to decipher it all. I would love to have it all bound neatly in a book for easy reference but I know that isn't possible. And of course what works for one person may not work for another.

    I think the not eating 3 hours before bed is a good practice for people who suffer from acid reflux but as far as weight loss goes, I've heard varying stories that however many calories you consume in a day is the same regardless of what time you do it. I think some people just prefer a cut-off point because it helps to keep them from binging on "tv snacks." Also, eating too much before bedtime could affect your sleep. But I don't think it has much to do with weight loss.

    Now there are reports that exercise doesn't necessarily lead to weight loss. They say some people who exercise may get into the mindset that they can eat that extra piece of cake or fried food, because they are exercising. And also, exercise can increase appetite, so people eat more.

    If there was a handy chart or something breaking down all the fruits, vegetables, grains, dairy, meats, etc. and what health benefits they have/don't have and how much one should consume to receive those benefits, I would buy it. To some extent the food pyramid has that information but it doesn't go into detail of the individual food.
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    Re: Food and Health?

    I don't know if those things work for everyone, but I know that when I follow the diet in Eat Right For Your Type, which is a diet based on blood type, I feel tons better. My blood type (O) is supposed to cut out wheat, which is really difficult for me because I love bread and pasta and it's inexpensive. When I follow that diet closely, I find that I lose weight, have more energy and just feel better. The thing about going wheat-free is that wheat gluten messes with your insulin levels and causes you to gain weight.

    My nephew is on the autism spectrum and the whole family is on a wheat-free dairy-free diet. The change in his behavior since the new diet is remarkable.

    Yeah, I've heard enough nutritionists talk about how it doesn't matter when you eat (i.e. the 3 hours before bedtime doesn't matter), it's more what you eat, that I don't pay attention to that rule. Of course, it's never good to eat a giant bowl of ice cream right before bed, but that's more because it's ice cream and not when you eat it!

    I have acid reflux, so I have to watch myself with spicy foods and I can't have caffeine except in serious moderation (maybe a few times per month). I'm lucky - I can regulate myself with just a Pepcid every so often.
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    Re: Food and Health?

    I think there is a definite connection between food and health. I think that processed foods, as well as all the cra* and additives they seem to be putting into all our fruits and vegetables, and our nations' over reliance on them, has actually caused a lot of harm. When I was growing up, there were no watermelon sized onions, potatoes, etc., yet nowadays, it seems to be the rule. I also remember that children and adolescents were not as "super sized" as they are nowadays. I'm not talking about just being overweight; I'm talking about children who seem to now develop at the age of 8 years old. We have a ton of "light", "reduced calorie, "sugar free", "diet," etc. foods out there these days, yet as a nation we are the most obese ever, so I think it's definitely the food and what's being added to it.
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    Re: Food and Health?

    I think you're definitely right about all the additives in our food, noreality

    I try to stick to the outer rows of the grocery store - that's where the produce and meats and fresher foods tend to be. All of the preservatives and chemicals in so much of our food can't be a good thing. At the very least, our livers get taxed over having to deal with all this junk that it can't process.

    All you have to do is watch TV to see why this country is getting fatter. The fast food ads...heck, the food ads in general, are all for obnoxiously fatty and unhealthy food (okay, not all, but most are).

    Look what we feed our kids: have you seen the Lunchables section in some grocery stores? Not only is that an offensive amount of packaging, but everything in that package is full of chemicals and fat and SALT. Make your kid a sandwich instead! At least it's cheaper, there's less waste and you can use healthier meats and bread. Obviously, people are buying that junk or the section in the grocery store wouldn't be so big. I guess I'm wondering when convenience became more important than a child's health. It only takes a few minutes to make a sandwich.
    Anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that 'my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.' - Isaac Asimov

    I was thinking of the immortal words of Socrates, who said, "... I drank what?"

  7. #7
    runs with scissors waywyrd's Avatar
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    Re: Food and Health?

    I am not disputing this--what I do find puzzling--and what I'd like to hear other opinions on--is whether food (as in a "healthy diet") can be considered as a kind of "medicine."
    Absolutely!

    I have read Jillian's books, and follow some of her advice. I cut out all the processed junk, the plastics, and try not to eat late at night, sticking to proteins if I do. Did the cleansing tea thing, too. Within one month, the eczema on my hands (it was horrible, drove me nuts with the itching) was gone. No more break outs, I sleep better...and have lost a few pounds. So, yeah. As much as I love Little Debbies and junk food, I'll leave them on the shelf now. If I want sweets, I'll bake them myself, without the preservatives and high fructose corn syrup.

    As far as the not eating before bed thing, I don't sleep well if I eat a big meal right before bed. And if I don't sleep well, I tend to gain weight AND my appetite goes up. If I'm running on a few hours of sleep, I want to snack all day long to keep my energy up. Maybe that's where the no eating before bed comes from?
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    RIP Billy Mays:'( Trista's Avatar
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    Re: Food and Health?

    Quote Originally Posted by Critical;3694234;
    I try to stick to the outer rows of the grocery store - that's where the produce and meats and fresher foods tend to be. All of the preservatives and chemicals in so much of our food can't be a good thing. At the very least, our livers get taxed over having to deal with all this junk that it can't process.

    All you have to do is watch TV to see why this country is getting fatter. The fast food ads...heck, the food ads in general, are all for obnoxiously fatty and unhealthy food (okay, not all, but most are).

    Look what we feed our kids: have you seen the Lunchables section in some grocery stores? Not only is that an offensive amount of packaging, but everything in that package is full of chemicals and fat and SALT. Make your kid a sandwich instead! At least it's cheaper, there's less waste and you can use healthier meats and bread. Obviously, people are buying that junk or the section in the grocery store wouldn't be so big. I guess I'm wondering when convenience became more important than a child's health. It only takes a few minutes to make a sandwich.
    That's what they suggest doing, anyways-stick to the outer rows of the store. For me, because I am a vegetarian and I need meat substitutes, I do venture into the aisles but I try to stay on the outer reaches. I also try to buy some of the local brands for things like cheese and ice cream-I only use Tillamook, as theirs does have some chemicals but it isn't as bad, it's cheaper than big-time national brands, and I'm supporting a local business. I can't even touch any of the boxed cookies or anything-except for Circus Animal cookies (weakness). If something has an ingredients list that is longer than a MAC lipstick bullet, or things that I can't pronounce, it's generally not good for consumption, unless it's something like cheese. I'm all for making my own sweets as well, but I'm currently dieting and I'm not allowed to eat ANY sweets (I still allow myself Dr. Pepper though). Already I've noticed a change in my energy levels-I have more energy because I'm not taking in as much sugar.

    About the Lunchables, though, I remember eating a LOT of those before going vegetarian, and the thing that gets the kids is the fun packaging and the "meal-in-a-box" concept. It's those and then the Kid Cuisine TV dinners that just disgust me. When I did Missoula Children's Theatre plays when I was in high school, there was a meal break in between practices and many of the younger kids had the Lunchables. Granted, it may be a case of the parent who has to get off work, quickly run by the store, get the kids some Lunchables, and take them to the activity, but at the same time, we're really doing everyone a disservice. It's no longer the days of crackers, overly processed meat, and overly processed cheese. Oh, no. It's much worse, ever since they started packing some meals with soda. And with this generation being on-the-go more than ever, you also have the ironies of the kids who literally do nothing. They come home, play video games, and so forth. Recess and PE in schools is shrinking, and many kids live in areas where getting out and playing is not the safest idea. You can blame lack of exercise/activity for it, but also the fact that the food is garbage. You lure the kids with fancy packaging and glitzy ad campaigns, and then they pay for it years down the road. The grocery store my dad works at actually banned products with HFCS (high fructose corn syrup) and to get kids interested, they have their "Kid Picks" selections, which are everything from crackers to beverages to tofu in the deli that will be fun, but healthy at the same time.

    Back to me, though-I think one other thing that has helped me was cutting out most dairy. I'll have cheese, but only on certain things, and only ice cream occasionally. I don't drink straight-up milk anymore, and at Starbucks I just get tea. With all the hormones in milk, it's no surprise that women are developing younger and younger. I started puberty when I was 9, and got my first period at 11-and when I had a lot of dairy, my periods were always about 5 weeks apart. Now that I've cut down the dairy intake, it's more regular (sorry if that was TMI, but it's a health issue). I also feel like my voice is a lot clearer. The downside is taking calcium pills every night, but it's a small price to pay. I also think that my brother, who has an ASD (autism spectrum disorder) would not have had the problems he did (behavioural problems, a lot of issues) had he been on a better diet.
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  9. #9
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    Re: Food and Health?

    Add to the confusion the diet concept that your blood type dictates the foods your body will tolerate. I have O- blood which is caveman blood, so I should only eat meat and anything a caveman could forage for... raw fruits, veggies, eggs, water. Ummm... heh.
    As far as food for medicine, I use ginger for stomach upset, dark chocolate for cough, chamomile for relaxing, etc.
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    MRD
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    Re: Food and Health?

    I've been saying for years that the foods we've consumed since WWII with all the additives in them is what is leading to the rise in auto-immune diseases, autism, ADHD, cancer, etc. After ingesting these foods for a life time and then giving birth to kids while we ingested this chemical crap, I think is a factor in a lot of these illnesses in adults and in the next generation.

    Michael Pollan has written a great book called In Defense of Food and his theory is a plausible one.

    When early man was a hunter/gather, he was fairly healthy. Once agriculture was introduced and we became a grain based society, we went through several generations of very ill people as the body adjusted to the different diet. He claims the same thing is happening now. We have gone from eating meat and vegetables to more processed foods, more high fat foods and more chemicals and it's making us sick as our bodies try to adjust to a very radical change in eating patterns than what we had before.

    Good book.
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