The LORD is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation. He is my God and I will praise him, my father’s God and I will exalt him.
National Geographic’s latest issue is on fat: why so many Americans are overweight and what people are doing about it, as well as what they should be doing about it. Perhaps my lack of social awareness in the past has prevented me from noticing this, but does it seem like diets have taken a turn for the stupider. I’ve written about the Atkins diet before (and continue to wonder why, if his diet worked so well, Atkins didn’t let his body be autopsied after he died to prove his arteries weren’t horribly clogged with all the fat he’d consumed. It’s what a good scientist would have done, been autopsied), and I’ve been living on and off with Ian’s family on the South Beach diet (I hear John Edwards’ wife is on that diet. Maybe it makes the constituents feel closer to her, and more likely to vote Democrat this election?). It seems that there are a couple of different motivations for dieting: one, to lose weight; two, to be healthy. Some people truly do present a medical risk to themselves by remaining at their current weight—the National Geographic article, for instance, opened by talking about a 5’5” woman who weighed over 300 lbs. That isn’t healthy and obviously drastic measures need to be taken to help her lose some of that weight.
But what about all those people in the middle, the men with saggy stomachs and women who don’t like their upper arms wobbling? What about the people who would like to lose weight for cosmetic reasons? Wouldn’t it be better to work on eating healthy and exercising daily, and let your body’s shape take care of itself: that is, living a healthy lifestyle? –if the answer is yes, my question then becomes, what does “eating healthy” consist of? Presumably it doesn’t mean doughnuts and coffee for breakfast, hamburgers for lunch, and pizza and pop for dinner. Few people eat that way. So what’s healthy? How much should we worry about eating carbohydrates, or proteins, or fats? Our bodies need all of these components to continue rebuilding itself; without any one part you’re going to start feeling icky. Consuming huge amounts of meat while cutting back—if not eliminating—carbohydrates doesn’t seem like the most logical way to live a healthy, active life. Your body needs “instant energy” sometimes and carbohydrates are nice and easy to break down. I think that proteins take longer for your body to process, providing more long-term energy as well as helping to rebuild muscle-mass after exercise. Fruits and vegetables provide both easy-to-break-down sugars (mostly the fruits do) and fiber to “clean out the plumbing,” so to speak. Chocolate cake, ice cream, and chocolate-chip cookies are essential morale-boosters. Cutting any of those parts out to excess just doesn’t seem like a good plan to me.
In the end, I’m asking this: WHAT IS A TRULY GOOD-FOR-YOU DIET? What’s gone wrong with the “cereal in the morning, a Pb&J;/meat sandwich with milk and a cookie at noon, and some meat-bread-salad-dessert combination” diet that, plus exercise, sufficed for so many years? And what the heck do they put in that “low-carb” bread?!
– KF –
PS – Coolly enough, the zip code National Geographic chose is Point Roberts, Washington! Finally one in Washington state!