When I was a teenager, I had a teacher who challenged our class to give up television watching for six weeks, and to share with the class what the experience was like. He asked all the students to be honest; when they gave in, he wanted them to share that they did, and why. Students didn’t lose points for not getting through the whole six week period; they were graded on the journal entries and the final written assignment. I can still remember what it was like to just give up television, “cold-turkey” so to speak.
The result was that very few students were able to completely give up television watching for the month and a half. Some didn’t even make it through one week. After about two weeks, I gave in and watched one of my favorite shows, and was back to my old habits before the project ended. But there were some students who made it through the entire period of the project without even slipping up once. There were others who only watched a couple of programs during the course of the project. Though I didn’t think too much about it at the time, the reason is obvious to me now. The students who had the easiest time giving up television were the ones who either already had something else to do, or found something else to do.
Have you ever tried to give up one thing without replacing it with something better? You might have noticed that it was really difficult. You have to have a reason you’re giving that one thing up, and you have to find something else to replace it. It helps if the thing you’re giving up is something you know to be destructive.
If you’d like to change your body and feel new energy flowing through it every day, then the first step is to eliminate refined and processed foods from your diet, and replace them with garden cup fresh, healthy ones. When I say refined and processed foods, here’s what I’m referring to:
– Refined carbohydrates-white flour, white rice, potatoes, refined sugars, corn starch, and corn syrup or to put it simply anything out of a packet.
– Refined oils, hydrogenated oils, and vegetable shortening like sunflower oil, corn oil, canola oil, extra light olive oil, olive oil and margarine
– Canned foods with added salt, sweeteners, preservatives, or gelatin
– Bottled long life fruit juices, especially concentrated fruit juices
– Artificial sweeteners
Of all of these, fruit juices are probably the least detrimental to your health. But if you’d like to lose weight and have good digestive health, fruit juices are going to take you in the opposite directions.
There are a number of ways processed and refined foods negatively affect health and energy levels, but I’d just like to talk about two of them here. When food manufacturers make many of the refined foods you see in the store, they do it through an industrial process. The purpose of this process is to make the food as flavorful as possible, and to eliminate anything that might detract from that flavor. As a side effect, most of the fiber and necessary micro-nutrients (vitamins, minerals, and essential fatty acids) are removed and replaced with sugars, hydrogenated or refined fats, salt, preservatives, and artificial sweeteners.
When you consume these things, your nervous system gets a huge level of taste stimulus, and your body receives a huge amount of caloric energy. The problem is that, with the beneficial micro-nutrients removed, your body has to take those nutrients from your internal organs and muscles in order to process the new calories you’ve just eaten.
When your cells and organs don’t have access to the vitamins and other nutrients they need to function properly, they slow down their processes, including metabolism, in order to compensate. This is the biological equivalent of starvation in the presence of plenty. Your stomach may be full, but you feel drained. Since your cells can’t burn the calories you just consumed, those calories get stored as fat. And since they’re refined, they’re easy to digest, too. So they get stored in your waist, neck, and buttocks even faster.