I was reading the back of the cereal box as I ate breakfast this morning. The sales pitch was quite convincing. It stated that it could fill my nutritional needs for the day. This set my mind to recall many of the claims and research findings that have been published, advertised, and sold over the past twenty years. Then it dawned on me that we as a nation are an all or nothing type of people, when it comes to nutrition and fitness.
Think about it. Years ago we had the Four Basic Food Groups, which evolved into the Food Guide Pyramid. The Pyramid came under assault and controversy, so it was revised only a few years after it made it’s first appearance. We went along with it. Eat more carbs and less fat. So, what did we do? We filled our grocery cart with every no-fat, low fat, of fat-free thing we could buy, only to become more overweight due to the sugar and artificial sweeteners in the products. We decided that the answer to that was to eat more carbs! We hopped on the steak and bacon train until we arrived at the depot of high cholesterol and kidney disease.
Fifteen years ago I was teaching fitness instructors and personal trainers that I couldn’t wait until someone proclaimed that chocolate was good for you. Sure enough, we now know that dark chocolate is an antioxidant and improves mood and depression. I could have told them that! They didn’t need any laboratory or blind studies to prove that. Common sense tells us that chocolate will solve most any problem, at least if eaten in moderation, 3 oz. or less.
Aha! Moderation! That’s the missing ingredient in our food and activity recipe. Some of my fitness friends talk of nothing except going to the gym for their workout, or about taking or teaching their 3rd class of the day, or what they are having that’s healthy to eat, or lamenting that they had sinned and eaten a cookie. It’s insanity! I’ve been there, done that and it isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Exercising is vital to good health. Overexercising only tears down your body. Most of the time, the repercussions aren’t felt until years later when you have multiple overuse injuries, overused, cartilage free joints, and back problems. To add insult to these injuries, many of these exercise addicts also have eating disorders.
We can’t seem to get a grip on this idea of moderation. If we had all exercised moderation, we wouldn’t have the terminology “bail out” in our vocabulary. We are learning valuable lessons as a result of our excess. Financial, physical, and food excesses are leaving us crippled and diseased. When will we learn?
Back to the cereal box. As I read the finer print, I discovered the amount of carbs coming from sugar. If I eat products like this every day, I could develop diabetes, a real killer!
I say if it leaves crumbs in your computer, you probably shouldn’t be eating it. If it comes in a package, we probably shouldn’t be eating it, because of all the preservatives. There we go again, getting all “all or nothing” about it. You would think we would learn.
I’m waiting for the research that proves that ice-cream, pizza, chocolate, and potato chips are the top four healthy foods, and that it has “been proved” that laying on the couch and flipping channels on the remote promotes heart health. It’s bound to happen.