10 Food Myths That Could be Killing You Softly

{Yo friends, there’s a giveaway at the bottom of this read. That’s how strongly I feel about this topic. So read on, educate yourself, and follow the prompts. Enjoy!}

tumblr_m21n5fmatd1r15uyio1_250

Sometimes I like to think of myself as the whiter, more awkward Lauryn Hill. So today, I’m taking a cue from the Fugees’ signature anthem “Killing Me Softly.” Because, guys: America’s eating habits are downright atrocious. They are, in fact, killing us (not so) softly.

My fiance, Michael, has recently influenced my perspective on health and equilibrium. Since starting a new job last year, he’s been able to realize an admirable work-life balance. Through working with an improv coach, taking advantage of professional development opportunities, practicing yoga and meditation, and eliminating toxins from his diet (like sugar – that shit is in literally everything!), I’ve witnessed a legitimate and powerful transformation in his life. I’m so proud of him and happy for him.

When Michael proposed to me, he gifted me a book – “Food Over Medicine” – as a decoy present. Well, I devoured it (pun intended). And watched the companion documentary, “Forks Over Knives.” (See my Whole 30 entry for healthy inspiration and meal planning ideas.) The cool part is that this book was authored by Dr. Pamela Popper, Executive Director of The Wellness Forum right here in Columbus. She also contributed to the documentary. How ’bout that for a badass local lady?

I’ve spent a lot of time absorbing information from both the book and the documentary. I feel compelled to share my takeaways. Not because I’m being sanctimonious, or because I follow these principles religiously (yet). But because our health and our lives are too precious not to know this stuff. So without further ado…

The 10 Food Myths

1. If you’ve been eating like shit, it’s too late to do anything about it now.

In the “Forks Over Knives” documentary, they discuss The China Study, which examines the relationship between consumption of animal products and chronic illnesses, and essentially proved this: if you eliminate animal products from your diet and begin a plant-based lifestyle, your body can actually reverse the damage that’s been done to it by years of gorging on fatty animal proteins. I’m talking clearing arteries, lowering blood pressure, eradicating Crohn’s, promoting fertility, eliminating cancer, even!

2. You can eat anything, as long as it’s in moderation.

*cough* Bullshit. *cough* I mean look, the author says it best: “I hear that a lot, though no one ever says it about hemlock.” This is a particularly difficult one for me to grasp because Lord knows I love me some cheese and charcuterie. I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to give that up. But I think I’d like to try eliminating it as much as possible from my diet.

 

3. We need protein to build muscle.

Yeah no. To build muscle, you need more food and more calories, not necessarily more protein. When people take in more protein once they begin lifting or training, their body does feel better initially but that’s a result of the increased calories, not the added protein. Yet they mistakenly attribute it to protein. Look, carbs are the most efficient fuel for the human body. When we use fat or protein (or, God forbid, sugar) for fuel, it’s cumbersome, stressful, and even toxic to the body.

 

4. Milk is important for growth and development.

Fun fact: cow’s milk is designed to help a calf grow to several hundred pounds within a short period of time. (And we wonder why American children have the highest obesity rate globally…) There’s an ingredient in it (IGF-1) that fuels this growth but guess what? It’s a powerful cancer promoter in humans. There are documented, data-driven links between this hormone and breast, lung, colon, and prostate cancers.

 

5. Dairy is important for prevention of osteoporosis.

Lies! Dairy proteins have been scientifically linked to asthma, allergies, chronic constipation, MS, autoimmune diseases, breast cancer, prostate cancer, and osteoporosis. Yeah, you read that right: osteo-motherfuckin-porosis. Here’s a complete fallacy: old ladies fall and break their bones because they are frail from lack of bone density that’s attributed to a calcium deficiency so in our youth, women need to consume more dairy to prevent that. Here’s a motherfuckin’ truth: old ladies fall and break their bones because they are frail from poor nutrition and a sedentary lifestyle so women need to exercise, strength train, and eat a balanced diet to stay strong as they age. We are conditioned by drug companies, media, and the dairy industry to believe that women need dairy to be physically whole. Now shit, I’m not hating on greek yogurt. And I never met a cheese I didn’t like. But damn, now that I understand the cancer-promoting nature of the IGF-1 hormone, I’m definitely pumping the breaks on all of that.

 

6. Dairy, in moderation, can help you lose weight.

I hate to keep harping on dairy CAUSE I FUCKING LOVE IT SO. But it’s pretty damn toxic, as it turns out. It’s calorie rich and adds little nutritional value. Just ask Khloe Kardashian how she dropped all that weight. Bitch’ll tell you it’s because she eliminated dairy.tumblr_n196rja5MP1rfwpdoo1_500

 

7. Carbs = bad.

Riddle me this: why are Asian cultures generally svelte and healthy, yet they eat a fuck-ton of rice and noodles? Carbs aren’t the problem, people. In fact, we need complex carbs for energy, and to ensure we don’t binge on junk food. Our stomachs measure “fullness” based on two factors: stretch receptors (the bulk of the food we ate is sufficient) and nutrient receptors (the calorie density of the food is sufficient). Basically, our food needs to be a healthy amount and not just a pile of empty calories. Vito sub + chips from Jimmy John’s? Bad. Brown rice and lentils? Good.

 

8. We can eat whatever we want because Americans are living longer than ever before.

Well, we are living incrementally longer in poorer health. Plus, it’s costing us a fortune in added healthcare costs to tend to the bodily damage that eating like shit has done.

 

9. Fish is a healthier form of animal protein.

Ah, not so. It’s actually way higher in fat than some other animal proteins. Some fish may be considered a “healthy fat” what with those omega-3s and such, but again, if you’re eating a crapload of salmon because you think it’s super healthy compared with a cheeseburger, you’re essentially loading your diet up with fat. Even omega-3s, past a certain percentage of your diet, can be unhealthy.

 

10. Oil is better than butter.

Oil = fat. Fat = bad. No amount of justification about EVOO being “heart healthy” will change that. And, like sugar, oil is in everything! Packaged foods, baked goods, salad dressings. Fatty AF.

 

I hate that I sound like a condescending foodie bitch for most of this entry. Even though these facts made me seriously re-evaluate, I’m still super into my animal products. But I’m phasing them out and trying to limit them to just a couple of meals per week. The bottom line is this: everything I’ve believed about nutrition is being called into question now. So much of what I was conditioned to know about my food was a series of manipulations from various food industry intelligentsia.

Am I advocating for all of you to do the same? No. I just felt compelled to debunk these myths. Because information is power and what-not. So if you’ve hung in with my preaching ass up to this point, consider yourself enlightened.

The Giveaway

Who likes free shit?!

I feel so strongly about sharing this message and all of the work done by The Wellness Forum that I’m giving away 3 copies of either “Food Over Medicine” or “Forks Over Knives” (winner’s choice). Just drop a comment letting me know what you found most surprising. Deadline to comment is midnight on Sunday, March 19. I’ll pick 3 winners at random. Check out Amazon previews of each below.

12 Comments

  1. Geesh, this is a lot to take in. Do the books get into habit breaking around food? Or stress-induced eating? Cuz thats my "sweet" spot. (The bad sugar kind, not the good productive kind) :0P
    1. Oh girl, I feel ya. But instead of sweets, I cannot imagine a life without cheese! I don't know if I'll ever truly cut the cord there. The books touch just a very tiny bit around habit breaking. Basically, their theory is: go cold-turkey. Which is super hard and unrealistic for a lot of people. Michael really struggled with sweets too. So he started substituting fruit. When he wanted dessert, I'd make him sliced strawberries with a splash of lime juice and honey. But I think the hardest part is when you've got kids or you're traveling - time doesn't always allow for fixing that kind of sweet-substitute.
  2. Yikes. None of it is surprising, but it's one of those things we need to continually be reminded of. Like how long did it take the majority of us to start wearing our seat belts regularly? A mechanism specifically designed to save your life. Wear that shit! Food is the new seatbelt. It's so obvious what we should be doing, but we are (overall) so reluctant to implement changes.
    1. Agreed Krystal! Also, I think it's extremely hard to break a habit that we've been conditioned to do all of our lives. Talk about Mission (nearly) Impossible! :) Thanks for the comment.
  3. We need protein to build muscle = WRONG. MYTH. = my mind BLOWN. This one is hard to wrap my head around. And I've been thinking a lot lately about decreasing my consumption of meat. This just may be the information needed.
    1. Hey Jenn, you're one of my giveaway winners! Please let me know which book you'd like - the "Food Over Medicine" book, or the "Forks Over Knives" cookbook. I'll also your address to ship it to. You can send all of this to CarolynLKent@gmail.com or shoot me a private message on Facebook.
  4. One of my big ah ha's from this and from another post I read was that "cow's milk is for baby cows" is what blows my mind. You added in the fact that the cow's milk is made for major bulking and growing within a short period of time. However, as a mom - as soon as my kids were old enough, the pediatrician started pushing whole milk and asking for amounts, etc. So the habits LITERALLY start from when they are tiny. Interestingly enough, my little guy has issues with milk and we are just choosing NOT to give it to him. Guess what? He's still growing and thriving. Definitely going to add these books to my list - thanks for the great overview. I appreciated it even more, knowing that you are a fellow marketing type who is busy as hell and is still making this a priority. When I read things like this from bloggers/influencers, I tend to brush it off as trendy.
    1. Hey L-Lo, you're one of my giveaway winners! Please let me know which book you'd like - the "Food Over Medicine" book, or the "Forks Over Knives" cookbook. I'll also your address to ship it to. You can send all of this to CarolynLKent@gmail.com or shoot me a private message on Facebook.
    1. Hey Becca, you're one of my giveaway winners! Please let me know which book you'd like - the "Food Over Medicine" book, or the "Forks Over Knives" cookbook. Don't need your address or anything, 'cause I'll just bring dat shit to work.

Leave a Reply