I saw a couple of articles today that peaked my interest.  They relate to weight loss and the never ending saga of trying to control what we eat and how much we weigh. Consider this one first:

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/nationworld/2014047701_dietfads30.html

A low carb diet was invented in 1863. Seriously? We all know hundreds of diets have been created over the years, and yet do you know any of them that is proven to work? A diet is only as good as the willpower of the one adhering to it, and let’s face it, dieting is boring and monotonous. Very few can maintain a regimented eating plan for a lifetime. It’s just not a satisfying way to live. But neither is being overweight.

I remember recently I was at a little get-together and a person there, with a plate of chips and cookies in hand, asked me if a particular bean dip I made was fattening. Really? This is how far we are off the mark people. Yes, my bean dip was fattening. It was full of healthy fats. What was I to say? I explained it the best I could, but I could see the suspicion in her eye. Of course it would not have been socially polite to discuss the other choices on her plate, so I left it at that.

The problem is, I think, that we don’t even know what real food is anymore amidst our overscheduled and hectic lifestlyes. A calorie is a calorie it has often been said. I beg to differ. There is a reason we are becoming obese at an alarming rate. There is a reason that diabetes and heart disease are continually on the rise. We are not eating “real” food and we are not taking the time to make meals anymore. And even more frustrating, we balk at the idea of paying more for our food. Check this out:

http://flowingdata.com/2010/05/13/what-america-spends-on-food-and-drink/

Many of us are spending just as much per year on eating out as we are on groceries! Think about the amount of groceries you could buy if at least 75% of your total food budget was spent at the grocery store/farmer’s market instead of at Applebees. I am definitely not saying don’t to eat out, but please, please, please save your dollars for delicious purveyors of food and stop wasting money on fast food and chain restaurants.

So what is the real solution? This guy says it better than I can:

http://www.urbanorganicgardener.com/2011/01/calorie-counting-eat-real-food-and-dont-worry/

I really believe if we ate whole foods, ie fresh fruits and vegetables, lean meats and dairy (local and organic, if possible), and whole grains, it would be very hard to over-consume. I’m not saying we would all be skinny like Heidi Klum, but we would not be obese. This is what I call a non-diet approach. Real food that is an integrated part of life, just as food and meal prep has been for generations across all cultures. Real food that brings families together, encourages communication and fosters a sense of pride and tradition. It may seem like a lofty goal in this day and age, but I know it’s possible. It’s all a matter of priorities. Just something to think about.

About Danielle VenHuizen

Registered Dietitian, Certified LEAP Therapist