Why are Americans so Sick?

Why do we have the highest rates of degenerative disease than any industrialized country? If we have the best Health Care System in the world, than why are we so damn UN-healthy? Could it be that “healthy eating” is making us sick? There are many reasons why we as Americans, the most industrialized nation in the world are so un-healthy but the main reason could simply be that we are well, INDUSTRIALIZED? This isn’t necessarily a bad thing right? I mean, I don’t think you would enjoy performing hard labor everyday as people did in 18th and early 19th century. Americans have always taken the path of least resistance… By becoming more industrialized we have become more technological. By becoming more technological we have been able to get more work done in a shorter amount of time with out expending too much energy. Try working for 8-12 hours a day standing up? It’s not a coincidence that we are almost always sitting down to work…
So, technology in short has enabled us to invent, produce and sell “things” pretty much 24 hrs a day.
 That’s quite a demand to keep up! This is part of my point. The “demand” to keep up with the economy and keeping your job forces people to work longer, sometimes to the affect of taking up a second job. This “demand” forces many parents to work outside of the house which leaves children at home to feed and parent themselves. This is another problem… Back to my point! With both parents working long hours and sometimes two and three jobs, what kind of time does that leave for cooking quality food for themselves and there kids? Parents get home exhausted from keeping up the high production and the “demand” from there employers to make more (services and money). This not only leaves a “demand” for the parents to find cheaper and faster ways to eat but also the children.
In comes the processed food industry to save the day! TECHNOLOGY has allowed us to produce foods that have a long shelf-life (you don’t have to cook them), these foods happen to be cheap, taste good and they can be eaten quickly.
 The fact that these cheap/highly processed foods are dead empty calories that have almost no nutritional quality is a major problem but the point I’m trying to make is that these products are in “high demand” because we don’t have time to cook. You must understand that if there is a “demand” for ANYTHING, someone is going to capitalize on it. We can argue that McDonald’s and General Mills add things to there foods in order for you to get addicted (they do!) but neither of these company’s forces anyone to eat it. There is a need for this crap!
From a health stand point this is a vicious cycle that leads to:
1. Stress– As if you didn’t have enough from the traffic on the way to work! This is a killer in of itself and I will delve into this subject thoroughly very soon.
2. Lethargy– You’re tired to exercise and if you do have the energy you do something stupid like a spinning or aerobic class (more on that later).
 3. Low Blood Sugar– Brain Fog and irritability occur and you make more poor food choices plus raise insulin levels and store body fat.
4. Symptoms– Yep, you got it! From headaches (migraines), stomach aches, rashes, colds/congestion, sleep disorders, sexual dysfunction, high blood pressure, blood sugar issues, abnormal cholesterol levels etc… I could go on for hours! But guess what? You’ve got a symptom than “they’ve” got a remedy! Where there’s a demand there’s money and the Pharm companies are laughing all the way to the bank. These drugs do more harm than good, trust me! The problem will still exist if not dealt with because what all drugs do is simply take care of the SYMPTOMS that your poor lifestyle is causing! They never address the underlying PROBLEM.
5. Disease– Breast Cancer, Heart Disease, Osteoporosis, Diabetes etc… Etc… Contrary to what your Health Care, I mean Sick Care provider told you these are all degenerative diseases caused by trashing your body with the foods that you demand.
 I know, I know, it runs in the family… It’s your genetics… Repeat after me, “Genetics loads the gun and LIFESTYLE pulls the trigger”. It’s easier said than done but our health all starts with what goes in your mouth. If you put the right fuel (food) in your engine (body) your car (body) will run (feel) better. Thy food is thy medicine!
Where’s The Beef?
Archaeological and climate records show us clearly what prehistoric Man ate: a diet of meat and fat, supplemented at certain times of the year, when available, with berries, nuts and leaves. It could not have been other wise for, over at least the last two and a half million years, our ancestors lived, evolved and adapted during a long series of Ice Ages. The last Ice Age began to end a mere 9,000 years ago. But it didn’t end everywhere at the same time.
As the Earth warmed up, the ice cleared from the equatorial regions towards the poles over a period of 5,000 or 6,000 years ago. It was only after this that agriculture started to be practiced. In evolutionary terms, that was literally yesterday.
 The significance of this is that, if you are like me- a blond-haired, blue eyed individual- whose evolutionary ancestry is in Northern Europe, your genes, which are essentially the same as those of your early ancestors and control every function of your body, were developed during a long period of weather patterns that aren’t unlike those of present day Greenland.
Even if your ancestry is in southern Europe, south-east Asia or Africa, your genes will be very much the same. And therein lays the problem, for your genes are concerned only with the foods that they have been programmed over millions of years to recognize as “food”. They care nothing for what we place in our mouths today; they simply won’t recognize many of them as “food”. If they are fed properly these genes will do their job of keeping us healthy, but give these genes nutrients that are unfamiliar or in the wrong ratios, and they malfunction.
 According to Dr S. Boyd Eaton, one of the foremost authorities on Paleolithic (pre-agriculture) diets, the foods we eat today are quite unlike anything our genetic makeup has prepared us for. Eaton makes the point that 99% of our genes were formed before the development of agriculture. The less we eat like are ancestors, the more susceptible we will be to coronary heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and many other “diseases of civilization.” This just seems like common sense to me…
I have found that American consumers in the 1920’s had only a few hundred products to choose from in there local grocery store. By 1965 about 800 new products were being introduced each year, and in 1995 alone there were over 16,000 new products on the market shelves! Are those 16,000 HIGH FAT animal products? NOPE. What are these 16,000 new products made of? GRAINS. Are Grain prices dictated by the ups and downs of our beloved stock market? ABSOLUTLY! Are the prices of MEAT products dictated by our beloved stock market? NOT ON YOUR LIFE!
 How’s That Working For You?
It really baffles me how people can actually believe that MEAT is the reason for Americans state of health… How many isles are found in the typical grocery store? On average around 20. How many isles are filled with meat products? ONE. How many isles are filled with boxed, processed foods filled with food colorings, food additives, NATURAL Flavorings, preservatives and EMPTY Calories? On average around 15. Ever look in people’s grocery carts? What is it filled with? Well, it’s not filled with meat, vegetables, fruits, seeds, nuts and berries! It’s filled to the rim with LOW FAT, processed, high carbohydrate, dead foods. I guess now you see why RD’s and Gov. Officials push 9-11 servings of grain products a day? All you have to do is follow the money!
I think there are a couple of things we can all agree on… Can we agree that FAT does not raise insulin levels? Can we agree that one of insulin’s main jobs is to store sugar? When there is too much sugar, then there is insulin to store that sugar as FAT (energy).
 Can we agree that sugar, grains/bread, cereal, fruit juices and basically anything processed and found in a box will raise insulin levels? We would than agree that high amounts of insulin in the body isn’t a good thing? So, if you a agree than you would also agree that eating in this manner for long periods of time would have detrimental effect on the total health and well being of Americans?
I’m not advocating that we go to McDonald’s and eat poor quality meat products! I am advocating that we get back to eating REAL FOOD! Nutrient dense, whole food! Food that we have been consuming for the last 2.4 million years! Are bodies don’t recognize low fat or boxed anything. You’ll find superior health in area’s around the world where they eat similar to that of our hunter-gatherer ancestors. They are free from the diseases that we encounter until they adopt a diet that includes white flour, sugar, denatured low fat milk, table salt and processed foods. This is the S.A.D (Standard American Diet) diet of our Western culture. I don’t need science to see that the LOW FAT, high Grain paradigm isn’t working…
  It just takes a little common sense to see that the REAL science is the millions of years of the one diet that got us to 20th Century, Organic Grass-fed MEAT, wild fish if near a body of water, seasonal vegetables, seeds and berries. The further we get away from what got us here the further we will get away from OPTIMAL HEALTH.
Matt Pack, NASM CPT, Nutrition Lifestyle Coach