We are what we eat. The old saying still holds true today for busy people trying to find balance in their overworked, overstressed lives. Many of us have little time to manage meals, energy levels, and a lifestyle path toward whole health. The idea of basic nutrition and eating for energy seems to have become an inconvenient thought in our everyday lives. Perhaps we feel overwhelmed by the abundance of foods available to us, the quick-fix diets calling our names, or the confusion between true energy sources that increase our performance and random spikes in our blood sugars that cause us to crave more sugar.
It is easy to understand why the rate of heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and stroke has increased so rapidly in recent decades when you consider that some of the most common foods consumed in the United States are processed with added solid fats, sugars, starches, and sodium. In most cases, micronutrients that were lost during processing are added or replaced later. You may be thinking: Why in the world would we go through so much trouble to break down our foods from their natural states, then enrich them with nutrients that may be less absorbable by the time they are in our digestive systems, especially when these foods are contributing to the rise in obesity and chronic illnesses? It makes sense that we will have poor health if we eat foods with poor nutritional value.
According to the National Cancer Institute, 90–95 percent of Americans exceed the recommended consumption of refined grains, which are defined as a grain product that lacks the bran, germ, or endosperm. Therefore, they provide little nutrition. These foods are culprits that entice us in the most convenient ways: in fast-food drive-thrus, vending machines, and packages that can stay on supermarket shelves for long periods of time.
If you read every piece of information on a product's Nutrition Fact Label and are still confused as to whether or not it is a good food choice, you may realize how inferior products are slipping past even discerning consumers. The Nutrition Labeling laws have changed several times over the years, allowing marketing departments to give consumers a run for their money. Many new products that reach supermarket shelves each year are non — nutrient-dense foods, which have few natural micronutrients and lots of “empty calories.”
The Everything® Guide to Nutrition is about eating real, whole, delicious food, but it goes beyond just handing over a meal plan. People have a desperate need to understand basic nutrition to help them feel their best, mentally and physically. Focusing on lifestyle changes instead of following a specific diet is the ticket to achieving optimal health, decreasing your risk of illness, increasing your energy level, improving your quality of life and well-being, and reducing your medications.
Multiple factors block us from transitioning into a healthier population. One solution may be to restructure our food choices from the ground up, consuming fewer processed foods. As you read this book, keep an open mind about new foods that are waiting to support your health in many ways. The support they offer will give you a new appreciation of and positive relationship with foods that provide your body with the energy it needs to perform. This book is about understanding how to eat for energy and live mindfully, instead of just following a trend.