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Is Everything In Moderation Killing Us?

You have to count calories. You have to count points. You can only eat what fits your macros for any given day. Common weight loss wisdom right? Except now people are tired of “dieting” so they just go with the mantra of everything in moderation. You can have the “bad” foods, as long as you’re eating them moderately. It’s not like you’re eating the entire sleeve of cookies, or the whole loaf of bread, or drinking the entire jug of coffee creamer. You’re just having a little bit here and there, or just a serving size every day. What can it hurt? 

I see two problems with that thinking. First, moderation is extremely subjective. There is no set definition of moderation when it comes to food. What does it even mean? My moderation might be extremely different than yours. Maybe you think one glass of wine a night is moderation, but I believe it’s two glasses a week. Maybe you think eating cookies once a week is moderation, but I believe it’s once a month. Second problem, little by little still adds up to a lot. If I add five dollars a day to a jar, at the end of the year, it amounts to a pretty good chunk of change. What starts out as little (5 dollars) ends up being large (1825 dollars) after 365 days. 

Shouldn’t that same logic apply to the things we put in our bodies? That small amount of fake food you’re eating ends up being a large amount over time. You might think you’re putting this stuff in your body (calories in) and it’s being broken down and excreted (calories out). No big deal right? What about the parts that are being stored instead of expended as energy? What about those crappy, inflammatory oils that are going straight to our cell walls and making them unstable? Our cells walls need fat and cholesterol and it will utilize whatever kind you’re feeding it to make them. It’s unfortunate for a majority of the population that their cells walls are only being made of trans fats and manmade polyunsaturated fats. To make stable cell walls, we require stable fats. Stable fats are fats that come from nature. Never ever made in a factory. 

To play off my coffee creamer post from last week, lets use that as an example. And let’s use that because I used to be stuck in the moderation mindset. I meticulously measured out my 1 TBL of International Delight creamer for each cup of coffee. As long as I was accounting for the calories, the rest doesn’t matter right? So let’s assume I would drink two cups of coffee a day. That equated to 2 tablespoons of coffee creamer per day. Pretty small amount. But at the end of the year, I’m consuming 730 tablespoons, or 365 ounces. Hmm not so small now. Now let’s look at 1 gallon of vegetable oil or canola oil, because c’mon, who buys jugs smaller than a gallon? That gallon equals 128 ounces. At the end of one year, I’ve consumed approximately 2.85 gallons of shitty oils. Wow! No wonder I felt shitty ALL the time! For arguments sake, I realize the entire bottle isn’t strictly vegetable oil, but honestly, the rest of the ingredient list is full of fake, cheap, filler ingredients and potentially having the same effect on your body. It’s all contributing to your chronic inflammation. 

This goes hand in hand with my last post. It’s not the calories/macros/points/etc that are the determining factor when it comes to your overall health. It’s the quality of the food you are putting in your body. Is your diet made up of mostly shelf-stable, middle-of-the-store foods that are full of sugar, grains, and bad oils? Or is your diet mostly whole foods that are easily found in nature?

We can go on pretending that our obesity and chronic disease epidemic have no relation to the food we put in our bodies. We can go on eating these foods and question why we have systemic inflammation, aches and pain, or chronic disease. Research is showing that most autoimmune diseases start with leaky gut. It is well known that any disease with an “itis” is a disease of inflammation. What the heck is causing our inflammation and leaky gut? Sure, we have factors like stress, environmental toxins, and other things that contribute, but it’s completely ignorant to think food doesn’t play a role. 

Chronic disease is COMMON, but it’s not NORMAL. It’s not a natural part of the aging process. It’s not a result of only your gene expression. We have some control over our genetic predispositions and whether or not those genes turn on. Through our environment (epigenetics) and our nutrition (nutrigenomics), we can potentially keep those genetics from expressing. I highly encourage everyone to do their own research. Heck, run your own N=1 experiment. For 21-30 days, eat nothing but whole foods and take note of how you feel both physically and mentally, how you look, skin issues, headaches, aches and pains, energy levels, etc. Pay attention to the things you would never equate with your diet. For me, it was my daily headaches. For Jeff, it was joint pain and little patches of eczema that never went away. Give it a go and reach out to me if you need help along the way. I want people to be successful with it and it’s my job to make sure you can be! You will never realize the power of food until you actually try it yourself.