“I feel so tired every day. My head hurts, my stomach hurts. I just want to lie down.” My girlfriend had been thin most of her life but in her forties she started gaining weight easily. Her energy level dropped to an unmanageable level and she looked to me for compassion. So I answered her truthfully. “Stop eating sugar. Stop eating white bread, white rice, white pasta, and processed foods. Eat more greens, fruits, and vegetables. Choose only whole grains, and cut way back on animal protein.” After lunch I saw her again and told her about the new movie out, Fed Up. “Go see it. Make yourself go and you will learn a lot from it.”
I remember how tired I felt at 40 and the first nutrition book I read advised me not to eat butter or white bread. I nearly threw the book out. “How am I supposed to do that?” It seemed impossible to me. I served it at every meal. I even made my own bread right out of my new bread-making machine. I loved buttery roasted garlic bread, toasted bread with cinnamon and sugar, warm white bread with salted tomatoes and mayonnaise, bread at dinner with gravy, bread for peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for my kids. Please! I will cut out desserts but let me have my white bread.
In the movie, Fed Up, people try to lose weight by choosing “diet” processed foods, exercising more, and starving themselves by cutting way back on calories, then getting on the scale and not losing a pound, sometimes even gaining weight. How can that be?
Here’s why. The movie explains that sugar-laden calories like soft drinks turn immediately to fat while nutrient-laden calories from vegetables turn to energy we use now. If we cut back on calories but we still eat sugar, our bodies are still making fat. Sugar hides in processed foods and white refined grains. It is hard enough to stay away from candy bars, sodas, and pastries where the sugar is easily recognized but all processed foods? That really cuts into our food choices, our quick-cooking shortcuts, and our fast-food and drink options.
I have a real-life example. I went to the ballgame yesterday where fat-laden hotdogs and hamburgers on white buns, white potato fries, funnel cake, lemonade, sugary frozen yogurt, and sausages were the only food options. It was lunchtime, a hot day, and I was thirsty and hungry along with hundreds of other spectators. I ended up buying bottled water and eating peanuts for lunch. Later I went to another event and helped set up for a celebratory dinner of more hot dogs and hamburgers on white buns, chips, cake, and soda.
We are literally starving ourselves with empty calories. If I opened up a salad bar at one of the stadium food stalls, would anyone come? How about a roasted vegetables stall? Maybe a green smoothie stall? What do you think?
With movies like Fed Up, the word is getting out. The truth about our food is starting to shine through all the lies that manufacturers of processed foods swear by in order to protect their profits. In the movie, I watched folks from large corporations testify that their processed foods do not cause obesity and are actually healthy for us, that pizza sauce is a vegetable, that soda is actually a viable liquid to replace the recommended eight glasses of water a day, and that sugar-laden foods are not addictive.
The Word of God states that faith comes through hearing the message. In the case of scripture, the message is Christ, but knowing the truth about processed foods and what it is doing to our young people is a message we need to hear too. Our food industry is deeply rooted in our economy and culture. Profits and stocks from investments fuel the fire of fear in all of us. But financial ruin in the form of health costs is sure to follow if we don’t stop now. These talking heads from big food industries lie until they believe it themselves. They don’t want to lose the money or lose the jobs they have and provide, and yet to see these young people on the screen struggling to free themselves from obesity and early disease is heartbreaking. It is a failure of the heart of our nation and the only way we can face it is to hear the truth in movies like Fed Up and in books like Salt, Sugars, Fat, over and over again until we have the power to say, “Okay, I’ll give up the white bread and butter.”
For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people (read: nations) eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. — 1 Timothy 6:10