It is National Nutrition Month in the USA! This is an annual nutrition education and information campaign created by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. The campaign, celebrated each year during the month of March, focuses on the importance of making informed food choices and developing sound eating and physical activity habits. We love this idea in theory, however a brief search gave us the list of sponsors for this campaign:
Academy National Sponsor:
National Dairy Council®
Abbott Nutrition (biotech- with products like Pedialyte, Pediasure, Ensure, Elecare and other synthetic formulated beverages)
BENEO-Institute (animal feed, intense sweeteners, pharma)
2018 FNCE® Exhibitor Supporters:
Cargill (the largest privately held company in the United States, one of the world’s top producers and distributors of agricultural products such as sugar, refined oil, cotton, chocolate, and salt.)
Campbell Soup Company (salt, sugar, preservatives and GMO)
Global Nutrition & Health Alliance (biotech, specifically omega 3 and other supplements )
Potatoes USA (the marketing organization for the 2,500 commercial potato growers operating in the United States)
Sunsweet Growers (grow large scale commercial fruit using tons of herbicides and pesticides, create products using fruit concentrates and sorbitol)
The a2 Milk Company™ (a public listed company that commercialises intellectual property relating to a2 milk, as well as the milk and related products like infant formula. This corporation focused on dairy farm breeding programs to develop herds that would produce only a2 milk, lacking a1 casein protein that is known to cause inflammation and digestive upset.)
Now, I don’t know about you, but learning that the funds for this organization and campaign come from the dairy industry, big pharma, supplement companies, packaged refined food and artificial sweetener manufacturers doesn’t have me feeling so great. In fact, in making informed food choices and developing sound eating and physical activity habits for myself and my family, these are exactly the kind of companies I would be trying to avoid completely!
Cognitive dissonance is something that we talk about a lot at the beginning of the WildFit 90 Day Challenge. When there is an inconsistency between attitudes and behaviors, something must change to eliminate the dissonance. These constant mixed messages are what make people so confused about what proper nutrition is, which program to follow, and how to prepare the best food to be healthy. For example, we hear sugar is bad for us, and yet there is sugar in everything, and so we continue to eat sugar and change our belief to be “well it can’t be that bad”.
Often, the cognitive dissonance becomes “I have been trying to to lose weight and eat healthy, but no matter what I cannot succeed long term” which leads to the solution “I might as well just give up.” You were not the problem, and your friends and family still in this situation are not the problem. Things like the dairy industry, big pharma, supplement companies, packaged refined food and artificial sweetener manufacturers being the ones behind National Nutrition Month is the problem!
So, we are here to offer a few solutions for you to truly make well informed food choices and continue developing sound eating and physical activity habits.
1) Get connected to your body
When we first started listening to our food dialogue and becoming aware of emotional connections to food, it was easy to see how disconnected we had become from what we truly wanted and needed. During the Challenge we cultivated the ability to listen to our body. We paid more attention to our energy, were willing to rest when we needed, we actively sought sunlight and deep breaths of fresh air, and were very aware of the physical symptoms that foods created in our bodies. Remember how some of your experiments felt in week 11 and 13? Eric hadn’t ruined food for you. You had simply become very sensitive to the difference between what was nourishing and what was palatable.
When we are consciously seeking ways to nourish our bodies- with food, movement, and time outdoors- and it becomes a priority, we naturally become less attracted to the things that do us harm. Are you still doing this? If not, how can you gain the momentum to do so?
2) Be fully aware of where your food comes from
Life can be busy and chaotic- but until 100 years ago, growing and preparing your own food was the norm. Yes, tremendous advances have been made with our ability to specialize- but at what cost? The health of most people we know is in the toilet, we toil all day doing work, and most of us are stressed and time crunched. I want to suggest to you that by making your nutrition a priority, you open the door to more knowledge, creativity, and connection in your life.
Do you know the story of your food? Where are your supermarket carrots grown? How was it cultivated and harvested? How did it make its way to you? What about the fish sauce in your fridge? What is in it and where are those ingredients from? In discovering your foods’ origin, rather than assuming it apparates in the back of the supermarket, you create accountability in your purchasing decisions and awareness in what exactly you are putting into your body. You take on the responsibility of your food choices, no longer a victim but a changemaker. By purchasing from local farmers and becoming aware of the large scale greenwashing taking place, you will be better able to vote with your dollars and create the world you wish to see.
This may initially sound tedious- but this kind of conscious eating makes it nearly impossible to eat junk! It will enable you to change your perception of Girl Scout cookies from “a variety of treats that supports the community and reminds me of warm childhood memories” to “an edible product containing factory farm produced grain, dairy, sugar and chemical additives”. You will be much less tempted to buy the boxes of cookies and instead just give a donation. Your awareness gives you freedom.
3) Remember that you are the ultimate health authority
We are constantly seeking advice about our body and it’s functioning from those we feel are a higher authority on the subject. We give up trust in ourselves and our symptoms for those we think know better or a medicine with a ton of side effects. Doctors and nurses are well trained health professionals, but they do not have much in the way of nutritional education. It is normal for someone who is not trained in food but rather in pharmaceuticals to offer you pharmaceuticals as a solution rather than food. This is why WildFit strongly believes that medical intervention is fabulous in cases of acute illness or injury- but chronic illness should be remedied by treating the cause, not the symptoms.
You are the only one who is with you to witness all your habits, behaviours, thoughts, feelings and the physical sensations in your body each day. If you are the one who knows the most about you, why are you so quick to forfeit your power? This is a learned behaviour, no fault of your own, but still it keeps you feeling powerless over your own health and nutrition decisions. What if in listening to the latest information on a fad diet, a wonder supplement, or a quick hack to health, you trusted plain and simple whole foods from quality sources that truly value your health and the environment? How much mental energy and decision making would you save by just keeping it simple.
If you are concerned about a particular illness or set of symptoms that you have been coping with, visit a functional medicine doctor or holistic nutritionist who can help you get to the bottom of it using food rather than pills. If you have a doctor or nurse you are seeing, always remember- they work for you. It is not your job to please them, but to get the answers and resources you seek from them.
Over the month of March we are going to be bringing you more information about how to best source your food, authorities to trust, and how to make the best possible decisions about your nutrition. We hope you will celebrate this month with us, taking credit for how far you have already come, and being an example of the change we are making in the world.