Monday, July 11, 2011

Shake The Hand That Feeds You

The fact is in North America, we have the highest rate of diet related diseases: diabetes, obesity, and heart disease. Up to two thirds of premature deaths can be attributed to poor nutrition and physical inactivity! That’s astounding!

As well, in Canada and all of North America, we spend the lowest percentage of our income on groceries and meals (9.9%), we spend the least amount of time preparing the food we eat, and we eat more calories each day; compared to other countries in the developed world. And unsurprisingly, when polled, we have the lowest rate of enjoyment of our diet. We seem to have forgotten to enjoy all of this food we’re eating!

In France, on the other hand, people spend a higher percentage of their income on their diet, they spend more time preparing and enjoying their meals (and usually enjoyed with family and/or friends), and they eat far fewer calories each day compared to North Americans. The most important fact is a very high percentage of people polled had a high enjoyment of their diet.

So…does this mean that the more we eat = the less we enjoy our food?

Not quite. This paradox comes down to our relationship with food. Food is much more than the number of calories we eat, or the grams of carbs or protein we eat each day. The better quality the food you eat, the less you’ll want to eat of it each day. Low quality food (processed and highly manufactured food products) tends to spark a craving for more food. Why? This is mostly because our body is still looking for the nutrients that had been removed through processing. High quality whole foods are very high in nutrients, taste incredible, and are much more satisfying. If you’d like to lose weight, have more energy, AND enjoy what you’re eating – eat a diet high in whole foods.

One of the fastest ways to increase the abundance of fresh, nutritious, whole foods in your diet is to shop at your local farmer’s market. Head to your local Farmer’s Market each week and buy your produce directly from the wonderful farmer who grew it for you. This is the freshest food you can possibly buy. In most cases it was picked that morning and is still warm from the sun. You can “Shake the Hand That Feeds You”.

Growing your own food gives you even fresher food to add to your diet, and you can gain a higher appreciation for the time and effort the growers put into the food that ends up on your table. Even a window box full of herbs will improve your diet immediately. Every time I weed my garden, or find a plant is not quite producing the produce it should, I think about the incredible quality the farmers at the market can produce. A lot of work goes into the food on our plate and a higher appreciation can increase your enjoyment of your meal…and therefore slow you down and reduce the amount that you eat.

Lisa Kilgour, registered holistic nutritionist and co-host for the TV show Fit For A King, visits a local farmers market, talks about and compares North American diets and eating habits, to those of Europeans - specifically France. She encourages you to "shake the hand that feeds you" stressing the importance of buying local, fresh, organic produce.

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