I’m reading Tips for Natural Eating 1- Michelle’s blog entry regarding the tendency for people who have issues around food to override their natural responses and who feel hunger when their body isn’t who is directing the signal, but their mind. This led me to the topic for this blog edition, as I am currently going through a series of explorations with my diet to see what it is that is making my edema kick in, as I have ankle and foot swelling episodes that generally follow recent jumps off the wagon of my eating healthy.
In light of our previous mention of the Drill Sergeant influencing control over our common sense, I’ve pretty much stifled that and yet, I am still dealing with weight gain. As a way of remaining pro-active during this confusion, I am avidly researching anything that has to do with food, cravings, incomplete digestion etc. I have been continuously perplexed because as a rule, I eat healthy. In my deductive process, I have been to western doctors who tell me that my weight gain is to be expected. It is the relative outcome to the amount of calories that I take in, doh! At the same time, I have a great rapport with an eastern medicine doctor who gives me roots to simmer and make tea out of, which improves my liver function as he’s identified that my liver is working much harder than it should.
With my recent discovery of sugar additives becoming more prevalent in our food, this is all starting to make more sense.
Remember that I am a shrewd shopper who rarely if ever brings home snacks, baked goods, candy, pop or other such groceries that I deem pretty useless. Although my life is sedentary at present, I’m not taking in that much, however, I HAVE been caving to cravings around caramel, jelly candies, gummy bears and worms and have been known to occaisionally down the entire Costco container of them. A decade ago, the International Delight creamer additives led my weight to skyrocket 30 lbs in a single summer. I cut that out based simply on my realizing it was the contributor to my gain, but still I crave Macdonald’s coffee and Tim Horton’s Ice Caps. I cave to the craving now and then and almost instantly rue the decision as my shoes begin to tighten on my size 12 feet.
Recently, I discovered an article online that warns about the dangers of ingesting High Fructose Corn Syrup or HFCS. There is a current flood of information in the dieting scene regarding this substance that has been added to our food by agribusiness as a sweetener since the 1970’s that digests in a particular way that leads the body to send the wrong messages to the brain regarding hunger responses.
Corn and its byproducts is an enormous billion dollar agribusiness that claims to have a solution to world fuel shortages and has contributed to the demise of the sugar cane and beet industry. As corn is produced en masse at the expense of other crops, that which isn’t converted into ethanol for fuel, becomes disposable. A Japanese scientist in 1970 discovered that if you take that remaining corn, attach a fungus to it, then stir in a bacteria and let ferment, the resultant goo becomes a high fructose corn syrup concentrate that is easy to add to regular corn syrup, it is an inexpensive additive, making the corn syrup stretch a lot further and also doing several things as a result.
One result is that by adding High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) to corn syrup and then that corn syrup to anything, the final product has an extended shelf life, like margarine, which is only one molecule removed from plastic. The HFCS food product becomes suspended in a state that no longer has the same decomposition tendencies. This makes digesting this product a challenge for the human body however. Not only does HFCS make things hard to digest, but the liver becomes overworked in the doing of it, where sugars in our body create insulin, HFCS does no such thing. At the same time, tests done recently have shown that continued digestion of HFCS sends false messages to the brain that indicate hunger is present and to add to the evil, those cravings become specific for products that contain… you guessed it, more HFCS.
I am beginning to suspect that my errant consumption of HFCS foods is contributing to my weight gain, combined with other factors, such as menopausal body, sedentary lifestyle, access to more food. When I started to become aware of the prevalence of HFCS in our food, it was natural to start looking at ingredients of foods and it was harder, to my amazement, to find food that DIDN’T have it than it was to find foods that did. It is labeled in many different ways and there is no consistent vernacular for it. I suspect the food industry disguises it by not addressing it in its easily recognizable initials. HFCS is present on the label if its posted as ‘liquid sugar’, corn syrup, fructose, glucose as well as corn sugars. That’s not to say all corn syrup has HFCS, but how does one know and wouldn’t it be prudent to conclude that by eliminating all corn syrups, one lowers the risk of exposure to HFCS?
Also, the use of this sugar additive is not new, imagine that you have been ingesting HFCS in greater and greater quantities since 1970. For some of us, that’s our whole lives!
Canada produces less HFCS and uses less as a result. Europe is vigilant against it and baby food companies avoid it in their baby food, but use it in their juices for adults. What message does that send you?
I’m beginning to narrow down all the foods that contain HFCS and as strong as my cravings make me yearn for them, my common sense is able to override those pangs because that stuff is contributing to my overall health demise and it’s going to STOP!
This is why, in a sense, I am at a place in my life that is so readily able to work with Michelle, and synchronistically at a time when I NEED to become more proactive about the borderline obese physical state we find me at, as I post this.
So not only do we have to be vigilant about how often our body hits us with messages of hunger, and if it is a physical or emotional hunger, we also must be aware of the things that we ingest which offer up more confusion in that end. Imagine not knowing the most pertinent information that any product with HFCS in it will send us messages to eat when we’re not hungry, and not only that, but to crave a product that will provide our addicted bodies more of the dreaded HFCS it craves. Articles I’ve read online, and I will add the urls to several after this blog, have also stated that to eliminate this scourge to our wellbeing from our diets, we are to expect the body to retaliate as withdrawal symptoms ranging from severe headaches and dizziness, nausea and intense cravings can result.
HFCS has been introduced to almost everything we eat as a way for the product manufacturers to cut costs on sweetening agents and still claim the sweetener to be ‘natural’ or 100% original. Law suits have drawn attention to the mislabeling involved, causing large food corporations to change the semantics on their labels from stating they are 100% organic, to state similar things that are just as easily confused with wholesome foods. I don’t know how ‘natural’ it is, when I looked at the aerial photos of industrial plants provided in one article, that are 5 square miles of pipes and buildings which is apparently what it takes to turn corn into HFCS with the bacteria and fungal additions.
By becoming vigilant in our desire to heal from issues contributing to tendencies to use food inappropriately, we must also be consciously critical thinkers when it comes to WHAT kind of foods we are permitting into the sacred temples that are our bodies as well as how much and how often.
Hard to quell a food obsession by coping with it, with the resultant vigilance bordering on food paranoia thanks to the development of Big Brother food supplier agendas, isn’t it? Don’t even get me started on the genetically modified corns that those Big Brother consortiums are imposing on the world farming industry.
What can we do as the ‘little people’?
The best suggestion of all the articles I read on the perils of ingesting HFCS, stick to the outside aisles of the supermarket. Organic vegetables and fruits grown relatively locally (to avoid the pesticides and slack regulations of Mexican and Chinese providers), breads that are baked locally from actual sugar and not corn sugars, nuts, seeds and grains that will swell or germinate if given half a chance and meats that are not modified with additives, preferably organic. Fruit drinks that claim to be healthy are big culprits of adding HFCS, including Gatorade. As are ice creams that I used to think were the better brands, and every other canned or processed food item. Mayo, salad dressings, Ketchup, 7 up… its across the board.
Do research online on products and become more pro-active by emailing companies and informing them that you think their decision to sweeten their product with HFCS is in poor regard for their customer base.
One step at a time… one label at a time. Just don’t be a sheeple around what you eat. Know that what we are eating is not nourishing us if its killing us. And THEN watch your urges towards Hunger, as Michelle suggests, in Natural Eating 1. Pick up where Michelle guides you to suggestions of carrying almonds as a test to asses s just how often you respond to the craving and reach for food.
URLS of interest: Pro and Con articles on High Fructose Corn Syrup
From Green Magazine: High Fructose Corn Syrup – A Not So Sweet Surprise – Get the rest of the facts! Click here.
From the Washington Post: High Fructose Corn Syrup: Not so sweet for the planet. Click here.
For an intriguing article accompanied by photos of big industry related to the corn industry from the website SPROL: Click here.
From ‘In the kitchen with Mother Linda’ found online at: Click here.
Tina Budeweit-Weeks is a member of the CEDRIC Success Team in the role of staff writer and executive assistant for Michelle Morand. Her philosophy has always been one of self-nurturance and dignity. In support of the complex difficulties clients may experience around regaining a healthy balance, Tina’s writing is designed to sympathize, support, encourage and inform. Although there are many similarities in Tina’s process, she is not a client, but a hard working, behind-the-scenes member of the team, dedicated to helping the CEDRIC Centre stay current and effective.