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Less is More

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A 2010 New York Times article on the word/concept of wellness noted that when Dan Rather did a 60 Minutes segment on the topic in 1979, he intoned, “Wellness, there’s a word you don’t hear everyday.” But “more than three decades later,” the NYT notes, “wellness is, in fact, a word that Americans might hear every day…”

 

The above quote taken on the history of wellness from the Global Wellness Institute.

 

If we go even a bit farther back in time to the 1950’s wellness was something that aspired to a higher level of functioning. Halbert L. Dunn’s definition in his seminal work “High Level Wellness” stated:

 

An integrated method of functioning which is oriented toward maximizing the potential of which the individual is capable, within the environment where he is functioning”

 

One could go farther back to Hippocrates, for even more simplicity:

 

“If we could give every individual the right amount of nourishment and exercise, not too little and not too much, we would have found the safest way to health.”

 

So you say what’s the point.

 

This week the new USDA dietary guidelines came out. A laborious event that now takes place every 5 years since the inaugural dietary goals back in 1977 under Senator George McGovern. It’s a mammoth document, I dare you to read it!

 

I wonder how much money, time and energy was spent on this task? For those of us who stand on the side of opposition to many of the recommendations it seems a total waste of time. I get it that organizations want guidelines to frame regulations but what we have currently is just not working.

 

It does not take a commission; task force or other body of politicians and so-called experts to see our country is unhealthy. Look around.

 

What we need is a total makeover. Think about this, no two individuals are alike, why should recommendations try to bundle everyone in the same bucket? Why are children being forced into a diet that has never been fully examined to see if it actually is beneficial to them over the long term?

 

How can we make recommendations for entire families when the issue is a lack of access to real foods in their neighborhoods, aka food deserts? We know certain foods contribute to increased blood sugar and contribute not only to fat storage but diabetes, why not inform individuals on this?

I could go on and on.

 

“You can always count on Americans to do the right thing – after they’ve tried everything else.”

Winston Churchill

 

So what’s the solution?

 

Here are my 5 dietary guidelines for the New Year:

  1. Eat as many whole/real foods as possible
  2. Cook as many of your own meals as humanly possible
  3. Enjoy meals and food gatherings with friends, family or just you!
  4. If you have the means, assist someone else in gaining access to real food
  5. Think critically on everything food, health and nutrition concerned!

 

Final note

 

I admire what Brazil has done as a country to emphasize real foods, if an organization needing structure check their guidelines out. Also Roy Baumeister and John Tierney’s, “Willpower: Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength” offers some brilliant tips.

  1. Never go on a diet.
  2. Never vow to give up chocolate or any other food.
  3. Whether you are judging yourself or judging others, never equate being overweight with having weak willpower.

 

 

Bon appetite! Eet smakelijk! Enjoy your meal!

 

 

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