It’s Not Planking or Twerking: Why Eating Healthy is Not the New, Hipster Thing to Do

vegsThe word hipster gets thrown around a lot lately. I don’t think anyone’s really sure exactly what it means, something about wearing plaid and carrying an axe was the latest I heard.

 Whatever, let’s get back to the point of the matter here. The idea of “eating healthy”, or “eating clean”, however you want to put it, is not a new trend or fad. It seems when most people hear someone talking about the importance of having a complete, balanced diet and eating fresh, whole foods, they think “Oh there’s another one of those vegan people on a health kick”.

OK, no no. It’s not a “health kick”, it’s life. That body you’re walking around in? Yeah…it wasn’t designed to consume soda pop and bags of Doritos. I’m sorry if you thought that way, but no. We’re fortunate enough to have access to the incredible, flavourful, nourishing food that our bodies were actually designed to eat, like fruits and vegetables, things that grow from the GROUND, not made in a manufacturing plant down the street.

Eating healthy means eating properly. Let’s please not put it anywhere near the same category as fads like twerking or doing the duck face to pose for pictures. I’m a firm believer in everyone doing their own thing, rocking their independence and expressing their individuality. Being different rocks! One thing we should all have in common however, is respect for our bodies. Unfortunately, even with plastic surgery available for everything down to your pinky toe, there is no way to completely transplant your spirit into a new body, so you may kinda wanna take care of the one you have.

What is really unfortunate is that our lifespan doesn’t usually go past 100 years or so, because if we all lived thousands of years, we’d be able to see what life was like not too long ago, and how drastically what we know as “food” has changed over time. Once upon a time, sugar was reserved for the few who could afford it, it was thought of as a type of luxury, and was only used in moderate amounts. As the fabulous Mother Nature Network puts it so bluntly and truthfully: “These days, we have it in such abundance that it’s as if food manufacturers are sneaking it into anything they can just to get rid of it”. This, along with the lack of exercise most people get on a regular basis and it’s not too much of a surprise why obesity rates are skyrocketing, along with an array of associated diseases and other health problems. These days, most people can’t even imagine walking anywhere to get what they need instead of driving or taking the bus. These truly are luxuries and we need to remind ourselves of this, and not let our body waste away just because we’re taking advantage of such luxuries.

There is even a ton of sugar and additives in foods you may not expect. Those small packaged yogurts your doctor advised you to eat regularly? Most of them are loaded with sugar, and even different flavors of yogurt from the same brand can have a huge gap in terms of nutritional value. Muffins, which many people turn to for a quick breakfast, typically have more calories than three breakfasts-worth; some with even up to a whopping 800 calories. Those “low-fat” items you think you’re doing yourself a favour by opting for on your grocery run? In most cases, these foods are labelled this way purely for marketing purposes and if you take a second to turn them around and read the list of ingredients, you’ll see they’re actually more fattening and bad for you than the original product.

High fructose corn syrup and MSG. Sodium nitrate, which is used to preserve the shelf life of meats such as hot dogs and bacon, mixes with the stomach acids in your body and forms potent cancer-causing cells associated with oral, brain and bladder cancer. Potassium bromate, an additive used in most supermarket breads to increase their volume (it’s also been banned in every industrialized country other than the United States and Japan). Mmmm, don’t these lab-generated chemicals manufacturers are trying to hide in your food sound yummy? Oh yeah, it’s definitely confusing whether eating healthy is the smart thing to do or not.

Man, it’s frightening, isn’t it? If you’re just starting to realize how poor your diet actually is, maybe even when you thought you were doing really well with eating healthy, it’s OK. It can be so difficult these days to determine what is healthy and what is not. As always, like I say once every 5 minutes or so (my friends and family can vouch for this) fresh and real is what you want when it comes to food. Head into your local supermarket and instead of spending most of your time in the aisles, go around the perimeter of inside of the store. This is where you’ll find all the fresh, whole foods. Fruits, vegetables, whole grains; these are the types of food your body needs, not sugar-filled cereals and yogurts, cookies and energy drinks filled with additives and caffeine, or “convenience” foods like packaged instant oatmeal that often have loads of added sugar and artificial coloring (is it really that hard to pour out some oats out of a large bag instead of an individualized packet and cook for 5 minutes instead of 1?)

This is not a mystery. Obesity, diabetes and high blood sugar are not magical health problems that just appeared out of nowhere. We are filling our bodies with junk, lacking in physical activity, sitting on our butts staring at the TV instead of walking outside and getting fresh air – there’s no confusion here. Being healthy is not something that’s difficult to do, it just raises a lot of confusion and frustration with people who are used to what our generation considers “the norm”. Some people don’t want to stray away from what they’re used to. Some people just want to be right and don’t want to realize that what we’re doing is actually not right, and that we have really gone so far down the wrong track in terms of our health that it’s not even funny.

The good news is that people are amazing. We really are. More and more people lately are starting to make the switch, going back to how things are supposed to be. They’re realizing how different you feel when you start treating your body properly, and they don’t want to ever lose that natural high again. We’re starting to change things, we really are, and it makes me hopeful for our children, that we are starting to make things right again and in turn, the issue won’t be this hard for them when they get older. Hopefully it won’t even be an issue at all. Let’s hope they just look back at our generation and wonder “Ew, what were they thinking?”

The whole idea of “eating healthy” is not some new trend or the latest fad. It’s us getting back to basics. We as humans somehow steered off down the wrong road and now the world is full of fast food chains and preservative-filled grocery aisles. Let’s go back to simpler, healthier times when we ate what our bodies actually wanted us to eat. Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes; if you’re chowing down on sugar-packed garbage, if it could, your body would definitely give you a good talking to. With some not so nice words.


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