Today I watched a documentary that I have been very impatiently waiting to see- Fed Up. It is a very well made, acurate portrayal of our food industry and why we are so sick in America. Do you ever watch something at home and feel like a crazy person because you are nodding along, and saying ‘preach it!’, and clapping even though you are alone and your child is sleeping? Just me…? Well, anyway, that is how I felt today. And, now naturally, I am going to preach to all of you.

It’s bullshit! Let me say that again so you know it didn’t just slip out the first time. It is complete and utter bullshit that we know so much about what makes us sick, but we never hear about it because of the massive amount of coroption. We know that fake food is killing us. We know that too much sugar is killing us. We know that we are killing (or at least giving disease to) an entire generation of children. We know this, and we do nothing.

So, I was pretty riled up when I first started writing this. I have actually deleted half of a post 2x now trying to find the right level of ‘intense’. I can be pretty…uh.. energetic sometimes. But, I didn’t want to scare everybody off, so I turned to Facebook and asked my friends if they wanted ‘tough love’ or ‘supportive encouragement’. I got your typical mixed bag response (and one ‘bacon’?) so I thought I would try and make everyone happy (because that usually works so well).

Tough Love: Stop eating crap. Wait, seriously, stop it. 1x per week! That is what you get. 1x to eat the junk! I’m not saying you can never have pizza and cupcakes, but you can’t have that shit every day. You just can’t. And, either can your kids. Every time you turn around, someone is trying to give your kid sugar, and it is often the parents. For the love of god- what do you think happens to a kid who has cereal for breakfast, peanut butter and jelly sandwich for lunch, and pasta for dinner (that’s about 5x the recommended level of sugar for the day)? They get sick. Sick looks different for everybody, but it WILL eventually happen (Did you know that you could have a thin child that still has high blood sugar and fat around their organs? Sorry, but it is important that we don’t brush these things off because our kid ‘looks fine’.). And, I didn’t even mention juice and pop and gatorade and vitamin water and chocolate milk.

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Supportive encouragement: I know it’s hard. Making better choices for yourself and for your family seems impossible sometimes. We are all so busy, and we have picky children. Bottom line, we are all getting way too much sugar and sweetener. Try and make at least 2/3 of your meals at home, and stop giving your kids soda, juice, and gatorade. This will make a dramatic change in their over all intake. I would also highly recommend saving cereal for the weekends only or just 2 days per week.

Tough Love: If you are trying to lose weight, eating less is simply an exercise in futility. What happens when you eat the same foods, but less of them? You get hungry! How many days can you last when you are hungry all damn day? Not very many. This is why ‘diets’ fail. Change the food you eat to real food, cooked at home, and you WILL lose weight. Example of foods that are not ‘real’ or ‘cooked at home’: pasta, bread, rice, pasta sauce (out of a jar), salad dressing (out of a jar), Yoplait strawberry yogurt, lean cuisine, etc.

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Supportime encouragement: The old adage of ‘eat less, and move more’ is out of date. We need to really hold a microscope to what we are eating. If you think about the amount of exercise it takes to burn the calories in a soda or sugary coffee, you will quickly realize- all calories are not equal. In the movie fed up, they compare 160 calories of almonds to 160 calories of soda. The effect these have on your body are amazingly different. IF you are eating the right things, your body will thank you. What are the right things? Vegetables, fruits, meats, eggs, nuts/seeds. Did it grow out of the ground (and can be eaten before processing)? Safe. Did it have a mother? Go for it. Can you forage for it? Go take a hike! Focus on protein, fiber, and healthy fat and you can’t go wrong.

Tough Love: Do you still need to work out? Of course you have to fricking work out! Our bodies were designed to lift and run and twist and move and have sex. This is a huge part of keeping our bodies healthy and keeping our brains happy. The point I am trying to make is that you can’t eat non-sense and expect to work it off in the gym. That only works for 18 year old boys… You need to eat right FIRST. Then, you need to also challenge yourself in the gym. Btw, reading a magazine on the elliptical for 20 mins. is not going to cut it- ever.

Supportive encouragement: Love yourself where you are right now. Not everyone is going to join cross fit and that is okay. Just remember- food is the most important thing. A close second is exercise. Challenge yourself to do more each time but don’t compare yourself to others. Take classes to get an extra push. Hire a trainer to teach you how to safely lift weights. Encorporate more playful activities into your life. Only running isn’t the answer. Only doing zumba isn’t the answer. But, mixing up your activity in a way that is fun and challenging is most certainly the answer.

Tough Love: Oh, my Paleo diet is a fad??? Please tell me how a diet based on vegetables, healthy protein, healthy fat, fruits, nuts/seeds, and limited sugar is a NEW and CRAZY idea??? Compared to the standard American diet, the Paleo diet crushes it in every category. Can people screw it up and eat too much red meat? Sure. Can people get too discouraged when they try the diet because they try too many complicated recipes and look for pature-raised bison-livers? Absolutely. But, does that mean the whole premise is bad? Of course not. I also strongly believe in supplements beyond this but that is a different topic for a different day…

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Supportive encouragement: If you are looking to change your diet in a way that cuts out the modern junk, I would stronly encourage you to give Paleo a shot. Give it at least 2 weeks to truly feel the effects (30 days would be better). All you need to do, is focus on plants and meats/eggs. Lots of veggies, good fat (olive oil, coconut oil, avocados, grass fed butter), good protein, fruits, nuts/seeds, and limited sugar and dairy (no dairy if it bothers you). You can do anything for a couple weeks, and there is no ‘risk’. This is one of those things you have to commit to. Just cutting back on certain things (although that is a step in the right direction) will not have the same effect as making the leap. The biggest thing is plants first and then protein and fat. Fiber is like your sexy friend that loves to dance and has a british accent and helps you poop.

If you have any underlying health issues, or are pregnant, or are an endurance athlete, ask for some more professional help. In my humble opinion, any person in the world can and should eat this way, but understand that I am not a doctor! Just remember, if you do ask your doctor, make sure he/she knows what the Paleo diet actually is before they wave it off and call it ‘the new Atkins’. GRRRR!

Okay, I tried to find the balance there between tough and supportive. Hopefully everyone found their comfort zone. Let me know if you have any questions. I am playing around with doing one-on-ones and possibly a grocery store tour. If that sounds like something you would be interested in, let me know. Thanks for listening, and please please please watch Fed Up.

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