While the wind howled and the rain tapped on the window panes yesterday, I watched the documentary Fed Up.
Fed Up is about the obesity epidemic in the USA but really, it speaks about much of the Western world.
It didn’t tell me anything I do not already know.
We consume too much sugar and it makes us fat.
But what I was shocked about are these stats:
- 1 in 5 kids are overweight
- obesity related deaths are surpassing those from smoking and cancer
- 2 out of every 3 Americans are overweight or obese
- sugar is 8 times more addictive than cocaine
- In 1980, there were ZERO cases of type 2 diabetes in adolescents (which used to be called adult onset diabetes). In 2010, there were 57,683 known cases.
It was sad to see young teens in emotional pain over their size. It was no surprise that their parents were also overweight.
I just don’t get how people can let themselves get to that point.
I get that we are overloaded with choice, too many bad choices, but I don’t understand how you cannot put your health and wellness first. Yes sugar is addictive. Yes booze and drugs are addictive. And yes, it’s hard to stay away from that stuff long-term.
If you’ve followed this blog for the past three years, you will know that I too struggle sometimes to make the right choices. But I always put my health first and get out of the danger zones. Sure, I visit those places sometimes but I never stay there for long.
Watching Fed Up confirmed that what I am doing is spot on. I’v made a commitment to my health and although I trip and fall into the sugar bowl sometimes, I always crawl out of it and head towards the veggie patch.
Today marks the third anniversary of my sister Virginia’s death.
She wasn’t overweight EVER. If anything she was underweight for much of her life. But thin doesn’t equate to good health.
She was diagnosed with stage four cancer on August 19, 2011. It was in her bowel, liver and by mid-September, her lungs.
Healthy people don’t get cancer, do they? Maybe they do. Virginia lived a seemingly healthy lifestyle but there’s one thing she never did: exercise.
She was thin so maybe she thought she didn’t need to have a fitness program.
She smoked cigarettes for half her life (maybe more, I can’t remember when she quit but it was many years before her death). We used to smoke together a lot!
She also ate a lot of white bread and commercial cereal. She loved Alphabets and Shreddies. She ate that stuff most of her short 53 years.
She had changed her diet to include more whole foods not long before her diagnosis but it was too late. The cancer was already there and thriving.
She died only 5 weeks after that shitty appointment with her GP. She had gone to the doctor complaining of stomach pain. She may have been living with that cancer in her for years.
When I received the news from Canada that she had passed away at home, I tried to be strong. I believed she was in a better place so what’s there to cry about?
But it was so fast, so sudden. It was hard to accept, hard to process.
At the time, I was well into an anti-candida diet (though I wasn’t as strict as in the beginning) but the pull towards sugar was unbearable.
I gave in and bought a raspberry lamington cake. I remember shoving it into my mouth and crying. Nearly choking on the damn thing. I felt ashamed and guilty. It was not the way I wanted to honour my sister but it was the way I chose to grieve.
This blog was created only a few weeks later and I’ve been on a serious rollercoaster ride with food, booze and my health ever since.
I think Virginia’s death to cancer, which was properly diagnosed as “malignant neuroendocrine carcinoma” after her death, has prompted me to be healthy long-term.
I want to eat fresh, whole foods. I want to have clear skin. I want to be thin and toned. I want to feel good every day. And I want to live a full, exciting life.
I never dwell on the what ifs that surround Virginia’s death. We can’t go back, we can only go forward. And if eating fresh vegetables and fruit every day and staying away from sugar means preventing diseases like cancer, than I’m all for it.
I can’t change what has been done. Virginia is gone but she inspires me every day. If her story can motivate me to good health, maybe it can motivate someone else too.
September 22, 2014 at 12:13 pm
Great article Jenn. You have inspired me to want to eat cleaner. I know I can feel better than I do. Thanks.
September 23, 2014 at 3:52 pm
Thanks Jessica. I good way to start is by asking yourself “is this real food?”, before you eat anything! Good luck! It’s hard work but worth it.