I started watching a documentary on Netflix last night about child obesity in the United States called Fed Up. It disgusted me. Schools in the U.S. don’t even feed their children real food. It’s all pre-made and reheated JUNK. Most times even fast food is served. Whatever happened to homemade meals, or parents packing meals for their kids? No wonder obesity rates are so high. But, this is not to say Canada is doing any better.
I remember my Jr. High didn’t have a school cafeteria, but my high school did. Yeah they sold hamburgers and fries everyday but they always had yummy daily specials–homemade meals from the foods’ students. They were pretty good from what I remember, and I didn’t always eat there. I would usually pack a lunch from home.
I’m a people watcher, and I’m also a gym-goer. I see people of all shapes and sizes nowadays and to be quite honest I’ve noticed an increase in the amount of overweight individuals. It saddens me that people have fallen victim to processed foods because they are too lazy or too tired to cook something with fresh ingredients. If you know me personally I loveee to cook. It is my best past time hobby, as well as a routine I have become accustom to in the last 2 years. I really fell in love with cooking while I was abroad because I opened my eyes to other cuisines as I had roommates from all over the world.
But I was in the Netherlands for 6 months so you’re probably thinking, “Steph you were gone so how would you notice a change?”. Actually, I have. Look around you, count how many of your friends or family who have put on some extra pounds. But hey, I’m no better. I put on some weight while I was abroad and shortly after I returned so I guess I can shut up now?
A few years ago I started watching what I ate, began lifting weights, and read food labels much more thoroughly. Up until early last year I fell victim to binge eating and fell completely off track. You want to know the culprit in all of this? Sugar. If you think weight loss is about focusing on the fat content you are highly mistaken my friend. Next time you visit the grocery store and tread along one of those aisles with boxed and processed foods, read the ingredients list. Don’t read the nutritional facts; read the ingredients. You’ll be surprised where sugar is added in the least suspecting products. That tomato sauce or those “healthy” granola bars you usually buy, they all have added sugar. Or take that supposedly “healthier option” cereal or salad dressing–ALL SUGAR ADDED! If it doesn’t say sugar it will most likely contain one of the following equivalents:
The most common one you will see is high-fructose corn syrup. It’s just as bad. It’s made from the starch in corn which contains glucose. This glucose can be modified into fructose by adding enzymes and voila! You have HFCS. This is seen in an array of products including coca-cola, Special K cereal, Heinz Ketchup, Ben and Jerry’s ice cream, and many more. It may also be under the name glucose-fructose.
The problem with these added sugars is that the brain becomes addicted to it, just like it would with hard drugs such as cocaine and heroine. You crave it because you’re addicted. And the more you eat these highly processed food products, the more your body will store it as fat. Unlike fruit, these added sugars are toxic for your body. However, in moderation is fine, but for every meal? That’s gross. Think about what you are putting into your body and become a little bit more conscious about your eating habits. Do you find yourself eating out a lot, or eating a ton of pre-made shit? Why are you making these poor decisions when you have the produce department to play with?
One thing that has stuck with me since I started being more food conscious is this:
The biggest area you should spend the majority of your shopping in is the parameters of the store; not inside.
The best thing you as an individual can do is change these habits! Look at labels and RECIPES! You’ll be surprised how easy it is to make your own salad dressing from only a short handful of ingredients. Also, you can track how much sugar you’re eating by logging it into MyFitnessPal. There’s so many things you can do, you just have to be more conscious!
So, what will you be cooking tonight?