Today I finally watched the critically acclaimed 2012 documentary Hungry for Change, directed by James Colquhon and Laurentine Ten Bosch. I like this film because it gets down to the root causes of obesity, illness, bad health, and unhappiness and makes the connection between mind and body. It also talks about why diets don’t work, what is in the foods we are consuming, and gives a solution to this epidemic of unhealthiness.
I decided ahead of time to take notes while watching Hungry for Change because I knew it was going to be filled with great information. And boy was it! I highly recommend watching this documentary (which you can find on Netflix and the Hungry for Change official website), but in the mean time, here are the “cliff notes” with what I found in the film to be most significant.
OVERFED & UNDERNOURISHED
While hunter gatherer cultures consume more nutrients and less calories, Americans today are consuming more calories and less nutrients. We are fatter than ever but starving our bodies at the same time. Why is that? Because Americans are consuming processed foods instead of whole foods that come from nature. Let’s take a look at a few of the toxic ingredients that are causing widespread obesity and chronic illness, and some of my suggestions for healthy alternatives.
- MSG – A food additive used in nearly every processed food and restaurant in America. The problem with MSG is that it’s an excitotoxin, meaning that it overexcites your cells to the point of damage or death, which can cause brain damage and learning disabilities. It also causes overeating and weight gain. Case in point: MSG is used on lab mice in medical studies to make them fat. Alternative: pink Himalayan salt
- Aspartame – It’s an addictive substance most commonly found in diet soda. Aspartame causes neurological damage and weight gain, yet it’s marketed by diet soda companies as a “healthy” alternative to regular soda. Alternative: Stevia
- Fat/Fat Free Foods – If you see “fat free” on a food label, that usually means loaded with sugar because they have to make up for the taste. And sugar is what really makes us fat. Low fat foods leave you hungry because your body needs good fats, NOT fats like soybean oil, corn oil, or canola oil. Partially hydrogenated oils are the worst kinds of fats and are used in many baked items and margarine spreads. Healthy fats are plant based. Alternative: avocados, chia seeds, flax oil, coconut oil
- High Fructose Corn Syrup – Created by Japanese scientists in the 1970’s, it reduced production costs, but fructose (or “fruit sugar”) is highly addictive and changes brain chemistry. In the 1900’s, children consumed about 15 grams of fructose a day, which is less than 1 ounce. Presently, children consume about 70-80 grams of fructose a day and some children consume up to 120-150 grams a day, which is 10x the amount in 1900. Alternative: maple syrup, coconut palm sugar
Take away: Read the ingredients labels on foods! Be careful of ingredients that are plant derived but have been chemically altered, like high fructose corn syrup.