Just Say No.

Tip of the Month – October 2013

By Cynthia Ruzzi

I’m on a diet.  I’m not alone – according to a Colorado University study, one third of all women and one fourth of all men in the US are on a diet. In fact, the American Medical Association states that 68% of Americans are overweight or obese. The US Department of Agriculture reports that average Americans consume 150 pounds of sugar in a year – perhaps explaining why dieting is a $60 million dollar industry in our country.  We rightly promote “Just Say No” to drugs, but we forget to say no to the drugs in our food and sugar is the cocaine of food!

Sugar is in everything.  In America we are eating about 22 teaspoons of sugar a day. Some might say it’s not our fault because our ancestors were programmed to seek fat and sugar for survival and we just haven’t grown out of it.  However, do we really need our food manufacturers to ‘support’ this glitch in evolution by adding sugar to everything?  We live with so much abundance and access to food, but we are still facing a famine – a nutritional famine.  We may be overfed, but we are starving to death for the nutrition our bodies need to prevent diabetes, obesity and heart disease.

For three years, my husband and I followed a 90LOV diet.  Ninety percent local, organic and vegetarian.  I was fond of saying that the other ten percent, I ate whatever I darn pleased. While you wouldn’t find me swigging a Coke, I wouldn’t turn down the dessert menu after a meal and I never met a piece of bread or a pint of ice cream that weren’t my friends.  What I didn’t realize at the time was that allowing myself 10% processed foods led to the addiction to desire more  and before you know it 10% became  12%, 14% _ 25%.  Add this to sitting at a desk all day, excuses for not biking and well, here I am facing an adjustment.

I want to strip MSG, Aspartame, Caffeine and particularly refined sugar from my diet. I’m targeting these items because this toxic mixture is what causes us average mortals to crave more and thus gain more. Manufacturers add these chemicals to food because of the affects they have on the neurotransmitters of our brain that trigger these cravings and thus we want to eat more and buy more.  I’m targeting refined sugar because when we consume conventional foods (filled with sugar) – I actually heard my body say, “Sugar rush! Hey, Pancreas quickly produce lots of insulin so this chick doesn’t kick it”.  The pancreas is very compliant (for now) and being the fat producing hormone does what it does and turns sugar into fat for use later”.  However by now we all know, I’m not running any marathons these days and my body says, “We’ll just put it here on your thighs for use later”.

I thought I had this figured out.  But if you think Eskimos have a lot of words for snow, then try to find those find my no-no’s – MSG, Aspartame, Caffeine and refined Sugar – on your average food label.  There are so many derivatives of these used in processed foods, that it takes a chemical degree to analyze each package.  We take our cars to the mechanic for regular tune ups, but rarely do we visit a doctor before we feel ill.  I’m on a diet for life learning how much protein and other nutrients I need for optimum performance and I’m basing it on simple, natural, local, organic food.  Join San Ramon Valley High School Environmental Club and Sustainable Danville Area for an evening screening of Hungry for Change on Wednesday, October 23rd 6PM at the SRVHS Performance Arts Center 501 Danville Avenue to learn more about feeding your body.

There’s a plethora of films and books to start on the path, but I’m ready to work with a health coach that will help me optimize my nutrition and life choices for best performance. I’ll be working with Four Quadrant Living, a Danville Area Sustainable Business. Dina Colman has just finished writing her first book,Four Quadrant Living: Making Healthy Living Your New Way of Life, and will be holding a launch party Saturday, October 12, 3 – 5pm  at Rakestraw Books in Danville.  RSVP to Dina at dina@fourquadrantliving.com or to Rakestraw Books at (925) 837-7337.

Reprinted with permission from Danville Today News


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