Nutrition Knowledge: Then and Now. You know, there's no question that we all try to do the best we can in life given what we know. Wisdom is simply a matter of learning new things, and then applying them to your life. A friend of mine, Stephanie Snider Hale, recently posted a link to a fascinating article entitled Ten Worst and Best Foods, and it shocked me.
The foods themselves didn't really shock me, what shocked me was stepping back and realizing that my life used to be the left side of that list not so long ago. It wasn't due to not caring, or giving up on myself; not at all! Quite the opposite, in fact. At the time, I was in college, working out regularly, buying food that I knew I would enjoy and would fuel me. Now granted, I was on a budget, so that narrowed my vision, but looking back now that really shouldn't have been a factor. So what changed?
It's a simple matter of my nutrition knowledge. I was a smart, health-minded individual who simply lacked the nutrition knowledge to know just how bad the food I was buying was for me. I did have some inkling of things like sodium being a factor that I wasn't paying enough attention to, but calories? I had no clue what my caloric intake should be on a daily basis, or how many I was even burning for that matter. Indeed, I am even now just learning some of that information. Having recently purchased a heartrate monitor, I can keep better track, and therefore (hopefully) be more accountable and aware…but let's get back to the food itself.
I was recently sitting beside my cousin Jimmy Hays Nelson, a highly athletic individual in great shape, and we were looking at this list, and we BOTH could say that we'd partaken of the left side items at some point…we all have! I mean, years ago my own mother suggested Marie Calendar chicken pot pies as a good solution for me in college. How could she have been so cruel?? Of course, she wasn't being cruel at all, it was simply a lack of nutrition knowledge. The things I was brought up on as nutritious meals astound me now, looking back. Tons of meat and potatoes, meals loaded with breads, pastas, carbs of all kinds, no salads, little fruit, some veggies. That was standard life in America's heartland. It's the reason for the obesity epidemic.
However, the important thing I have to keep coming back to is, this is NOT a case of horrible, uncaring parents. Quite the contrary. These are hardworking, loving parents who want the best for their children. It's simply a lack of nutrition knowledge. I mean, some of the items on that left side are obvious, like the sweets, but really, what caring mother would see their sick child and NOT want to give them a hot bowl of Campbell's soup to make them feel better? We live in interesting times. I believe we're getting to the point where this nutrition knowledge gap CAN be closed. The knowledge is out there. Healthy recipes that don't taste like cardboard and don't take an hour to make are out there. The foods on the right side of the list don't cost a second mortgage. It's now simply a matter of 1) caring enough for others that you decide to say something, and 2) sharing what you know. That's it, nothing huge, nothing Earth shattering. Caring and sharing. We can each make a difference. What will you do today to help close the gap?
About the author: John Hays is a super friendly web developer, photographer, and health & fitness coach using products like P90X, Insanity, TurboFire, and Shakeology to help people get in the best shape of their lives. His proven methods of personal accountability and constant support have helped people see major life changes. John's photography has been seen in numerous publications, and he has worked with such web clients as Jack Daniel's, Mission Tortillas, Joe's Crab Shack, Conoco/Phillips and many more.