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Declining Health

Obesity in the US is rising, along with our rates of type II diabetes and levels of depression. In a materialistic culture where nearly anything is at our disposal, we have to ask ourselves why our health is so far from being maximized, and how our relationship to food comes into play.

The food system we have in the US is an industrial food system, in which many of our basic inputs are grown (a) in large monoculture swaths in certain parts of our nation, or (b) in other nations, often third world. The food products we create are done so in large facilities, packaging and shelf-life being a major component in their organization and production. Food must be able to be shipped, withstand long journeys of varying temperatures, and perhaps, sit on a shelf for weeks or even months when arriving.

Additionally, the "natural marketing" of food, such as the brightness of an apple, or the shimmer from lettuce, must be supplemented by colorful wrappings or cartoon characters to be marketable. Often times our industrial foods lack any real nutritional value, and include high amounts of either fructose corn syrup, white refined sugar, white refined flour or all three - and a bit of MSG just for kicks. All of which have been shown to be possibly linked to the three disorders mentioned in the beginning of this article.

Embrace the Soil
One of the most important things to understand about food - meat included - is that really everything starts with the soil. The sun feeds plants, which utilize soil nutrients to develop. We also feed these plants to our animals, which help them to develop. But there is no escaping the soil, whether fruit or egg, bacon or lettuce - the soil is where it all begins. And so too is where it all ends - as an apple core degrades, or a bit of cow poop.

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Fresh Picked is Best
Food that is freshly picked is far more loaded with active enzymes and often higher nutritional content than food that has sat on a truck or shelf. Just like everything biological, things degrade through time. A head of lettuce is truly at its prime the moment after picking. If we work to eat fresh produce, from local farmers markets, or even our own gardens - than we're doing ourselves a huge favor in maximizing the nutritional content of the food we put into our bodies.

Start a Garden
One of the best ways to embrace the natural way of things is to create a garden. Although gardening is not a simple task, and is an endless world to itself, it is a lot harder than it sounds. It does take work to fight back weeds and countless other insects that may also want a stake in your fruits. But creating a garden or a rooftop garden - a container garden even - are simple ways to bring fresh food into your life. There is truly nothing better than fresh picked herbs, tomatoes or zucchini and bringing them right into the kitchen for cook time. Here is a link for how to approach building a container garden.

Not only will a garden provide you with all sorts of fresh food, but it will also teach you subtly about the natural world. Gardens attract other living things, and as your life interacts with these living things more often, you may find positive results in your psyche and outlook.

Embrace the Power of Plants
An easy way to embrace fresh and natural foods is to purchase a juicer. Jack LeLanne (a famous tv-fitness-personality) has a variety of juicers that are simple to use and moderately priced. A fresh glass of juice in the morning and afternoon has a kick to it, in some ways similar to caffeine, especially if consumed on an empty stomach. Not only that, but it is super-loaded with nutrients and is much more easily absorbed than a multivitamin.

Throw Away your Processed Food
Changing habits, especially are eating habits, take time and should be approached gently and with small changes. One of the best things we can do to give ourselves a head start, is to throw away the foods we presently have that are highly processed and refined. Life shouldn't be lived without good sweets from time to time, but we can help ourselves by getting rid of microwave dinners, and replacing them with fresh vegetables on our counters or in our refrigerators.

Change takes Time and Habits build Slowly
Changing eating habits truly takes time. Try throwing an onion and bell pepper into your next batch of tacos, or try adding a fresh salad to your lunch with your sandwich. Start small and add things slowly. As your palette begins to adjust to more fresh food, you'll find that your understandings of taste will change too. The power of fresh food is real, and as you embrace this relationship in your life you'll notice changes in your body, mind and your outlook towards food in general.

Food is Medicine
In many ways, healthy eating and a healthy relationship to nature is not taught in our schools or churches or other places of social training. And the clear result of such an absence of information can be seen in our present state of health. Fresh food and limiting refined food will cause a person to lose weight, struggle less with diabetes or heart problems, and will too likely increase their immune system health and levels of mental well-being. If we start to think of food as a medicine, rather than as a recreation, our entire relationship to it, as well as to ourselves, may change.

Sources: natural superfood