Would you put sugar in the gas tank of your car?
Eating that donut, the ice cream or the cookies stashed away in your office drawer is putting sugar in the most important gas tank- your brain.
#NationalJunkFood Day is really a holiday?
As an integrative medicine physician, I woke up concerned that Americans are celebrating "National Junk Food Day" on July 21st. #NationalJunkFoodDay has been trending on Twitter all morning. Now please, I am not going to sit here with a "holier than thou" attitude about nutrition. I am the first to admit in every one of my lectures my love for chocolate. When I am traveling and find a restaurant that serves a gluten free chocolate dessert, I will indulge with joy.
"Eating processed junk food leads to toxic inflammation in our guts & brains" @DrRomie #FoodIsMedicine not #NationalJunkFoodDay Tweet This
Practice mindful eating with junk food
The key is that I try to practice mindful eating and use sweet and sugary desserts as a rare indulgence. When I do eat, I try to follow the two bite rule. Eat one bite while being present to savor the taste. I eat one more bit to remember the taste. I then send the dessert away or share with someone else at the table.
I also feel like my engine slows down after that indulgance, do you? After eating junk food is your brain is a little foggy, sleep feeling a bit restless, or belly getting bloated. Sound familiar? These are the symptoms of an overload of processed carbohydrates and refined sugar creating toxicity in our bodies.
Why eating junk food is putting sugar in a gas tank
Eating foods that are comprised of saturated fats, refined sugar, and processed carbohydrates promote inflammation in our gut. With an alteration of the healthy gut microbiome, bad bacteria takes over. (Hence the gas, bloating, and other digestive issues). From gut inflammation arises a myriad of hormonal and chemical changes that alter the gut-brain connection. These toxins cross from the blood stream into our brains. Symptoms like fatigue, slow memory, difficulty focusing, and mood changes appear or worsen with these inflammatory changes. Eating junk food is if you are clogging up your entire car engine and computer system with toxic sludge.
After careful online research, I could not find the origin of National Junk Food Day. I could only find website after website promoting eating all the junk food you desire on July 21st and then resuming a "healthy diet" tomorrow.
Junk foods are the foods that are high in fats, sugars, salt and calories and contain very little nutritional value. Unfortunately, junk food is not an occasional treat in the American diet, but rather a staple.
Diets are high in saturated fats and processed sugars and low in the nutrition requirements needed to fuel our brains, bodies, and spirits.
Junk food is fueling public health crises such as childhood obesity, rising Diabetes Mellitus diagnoses and increased mortality from heart disease.
Integrative Medicine approach to individual nutrition
As a physician in an integrative medicine center, too many clients arrive seeking a "supplement for a symptom" to replace the "pill for an ill". At the core of creating a foundation for health in an individual, family and community are nutrition. There is not "one diet to fit all", and we are part of the problem. "Experts" in the field engage in intellectual arguments over vegan vs. paleo vs. low glycemic index diet. These intellectual debates are only confusing the consumer and fueling shame into a belief "that I am not following the right diet".
I call upon the entire holistic health community help promote a system that will take the individual needs of each client's emotional, financial, spiritual, mental and physical health needs into account. This is the holistic approach that is the foundation of integrative medicine. By considering the needs of each, we are helping to promote an individual healthy lifestyle rather than a cookie-cutter paradigm that has plagued traditional medicine.
Give our consumers options that fit busy lifestyles, financial restrictions, and individual health needs. So to all of you who belong to the tribes of Integrative Medicine, Holistic Health, and Functional Medicine- I ask you this. I propose creating #FoodIsMedicine day to educate the public on eating for health.
Food is medicine, we should not be treating our brains, bodies and spirits worse than we treat our automobiles. Fuel yourself instead with nutrients, anti-oxidants, and anti-inflammatory foods.
Join me on Twitter by tweeting:
I promote mindful eating #FoodIsMedicine instead of #NationalJunkFoodDayTweet This
Here is to your next healthy, savory, and delicious treat!
In happiness and in health,