It's not a lie ~ We Are What We Eat! - Cliffnotes for your HEALTH!
You Are What You Eat!
What's in your stomach?
 
Your body was designed to maintain an equilibrium of health, and one of the basic cornerstones is your diet. Unfortunately, most Americans are flat out delusional about what constitutes healthy eating (I know I was). America's food has changed drastically in the last sixty years compared to the last several thousand. Our ingenuity coupled with technology has led to genetically engineered crops, fatter, hormone induced animals and manufactured snack foods such as chips, soda pop and crackers that are so convenient when we get hungry.

Though these leaps in technology and engineering may seem incredible, there is a price to pay that we have failed to notice until recently.  Diseases that have not existed for the entire span of humanity have presented themselves in the last 100 years. Obesity, diabetes, auto-immune disorders, food allergies…

Crops
After the end of World War II, farming changed drastically to fill the need for massive quantities of food in dense city locations. The small, localized farms gave way to large, industrialized fields of crops and with that shift came the alteration of how crops were grown. 
 
Farms today grow the same crops year after year in the same fields with numerous fertilizers. These synthetic fertilizers have the three main components that plants need to survive: nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium. The problem is soil requires approximately 52 different minerals! So where is the calcium, magnesium, zinc, iron... they're missing. With a deficient soil lacking so many nutrients, our grains, fruits, and vegetables become deficient. Studies of 64 foods made between 1940 and 1991 reveal that vegetables have lost 76 percent of their copper, 46 percent of their calcium, 27 percent of the iron, 24 percent of the magnesium, and 16 percent of the potassium. Compared to our ancestors’ generations before us, we need to consume more food than ever today just to receive the same amount of nourishment. Also with plants being deficient, they do not have the necessary resources to build up their own “defenses” against the various insects, bacteria, and viruses that ravage them.

Because of our weakened crops, in enters the pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides needed to protect them. The use of pesticides have been accredited with producing greater “yields of most crops” with a wealth of “documented cases” showing pesticides minimizing crop losses. Yet pests and viruses have evolved and have actually become resistant to the pesticides, requiring newer and stronger pesticides to be created. Also, dangerous side effects for humans are now evident and being associated with their use. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that there are 10,000 to 20,000 physician-diagnosed cases of pesticide poisoning of agricultural workers each year in the United States. The list of health problems from exposure to pesticides include: higher rates of blood and lymphatic systems cancers, melanoma, cancers of the lip, stomach, brain, lung, and prostate, Parkinson's disease, damaged immune systems, infertility in women and lower quantity and quality of sperm in men.  
 
Animals
The next atrocity we have become immune to is how our animals are raised and slaughtered. For decades, farm animals were raised on ranches, roaming and grazing on various grasses. With the advent of fast food restaurants, hamburgers became so popular that a greater supply of beef and other meat was needed to keep up with the demand. Here is a scary reality- around 70 million fast-food meals are served daily across the U.S.

Cattle now live the majority of their lives in massive feedlots across the plains, tens of thousands crammed together, wading in their own feces. A single cow deposits about fifty pounds of manure every day and its hide is usually covered in it. Because of their unsanitary living arrangements, many cattle pass diseases and viruses to each other, infecting thousands. Cattle are also slaughtered and butchered into their various cuts at such accelerated speeds, that many times their colons and stomachs are accidentally slit by the workers, spilling feces and remains from their stomachs onto the meat. In the USDA study 78.6 percent of the ground beef contained microbes that are spread primarily by fecal matter.

 
The cattle's normal diet of grass has now been replaced with corn, growth hormones, and antibiotics. Feeding cattle corn has changed the cow's harmless E. coli bacteria in their stomachs to mutate and evolve into a new and deadly strain for humans called E. coli 0157:H7.  This strain can lead to diarrhea, kidney failure for kids, hemolytic uremic syndrome, or death. This new strain is also passed through the fecal matter of the cattle, so that if one has it, the rest will also get it as they wade in each other's manure.

Manufactured Food
Our crops are nutrition deficient and poisoned; our meat is contaminated and infested with antibiotics and hormones- all this before it has reached a processing plant. As if this was not enough, our precious food is then broken apart and changed into something molecularly unrecognizable- processed food. More than ever today, Americans eat out at fast food restaurants, consume junk food, munch on snack items, and eat pre-made dinners. All of these are high in calories from sugar, starch, saturated fats, simple carbohydrates and lacking in vital vitamins, amino acids, minerals, and complex carbohydrates.
 
A typical diet for an American is coffee, soda, artificial sweeteners, sandwiches or hamburgers, ice cream, pizza, potato chips, candy, French fries, cereals, donuts, Hamburger Helper, meals from McDonald's or Burger King, microwaveable meals, etc. They ‘taste’ good, are CHEAP and fill up your stomach- but they wreak havoc on our mind and bodies! 

Health Threats
New threats have arrived connected with our altered diet. Mental disorders, depression, obesity and teen aggression are on the rise. There are numerous studies of how diet affects addiction, behavior, brain function, blood pressure and many other behaviors and bodily functions.
 
If our brain does not receive the proper building blocks of vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and complex carbohydrates, how can it repair and maintain itself? An inflamed, unnourished brain, is a depressed brain. Antidepressants are not the answer, it's changing our diet!
 
One study done produced some interesting results- rats were fed a typical British diet of white bread and margarine, sweetened tea, boiled vegetables, and tinned meat. In her book The Food Factor, author Barbara Griggs wrote the rats soon displayed stunted and nervous behavior, with lackluster coats, they snapped at the attendant and took to cannibalism after three days. After they'd killed and eaten three of their number, they were segregated, to die of pneumonia and a variety of gastrointestinal disorders.
 
Why is this so shocking?
What we put into our bodies- we get out!
 
What can we do?
I think the greatest tool we have against our current, corrupted food chain is choice. Our choices do drive change. Choosing non-GMO, local, organic and seasonal changes the food system, because corporations are smart enough to know- to give us what we want.
 
Take the time to find stores with organic food and products at affordable prices.  Search out neighbors who grow own their crops or a community garden. Get involved in a food share program or co-op community. Get your meat from local humane farmers. Support local farmers by going to farmers' markets and buying your produce fresh. 

Choose to take the time to prepare healthy snacks such as cutting up veggies at the beginning of the week. Plan to make wholesome meals for you and your family, make it a joint activity. If you don't have time, make time by decreasing other activities like internet surfing and watching television. Our bodies will always reflect our choices, for in the end, we are truly what we eat. Most importantly- ask yourself what you are really hungry for. Is it food?
 
Use this website as your health cliff notes. There is just enough here to be informative, but not overwhelming. Read a little each day, each week, and each month. Research, experiment and open your mind and listen to your body. It has a lot to say.

Resources
 
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