Monday, January 12, 2009

oy vey, oprah!

hi guys-

first, let me apologize for being so long in between blogs, but...i have had this awful cold-flu-plague that is floating around the universe...but i am getting back on my feet slowly, so here i am...

second, those of you who posted questions...i will answer them in an entry tomorrow on this blog, cool?

and now...the rant...just about all my students watch oprah and ask me what i think...i don't really watch her too often, but when i read about her life makeover series because she has gained weight...again...i thought i would watch and see what was up.

well, i suffered through all of last week's touchy-feely, love yourself as you are, money advice, sex advice and advice on how to attract what you want. i watched oprah 'out' herself and her lack of control over eating and food. i watched dr oz (with great interest...i do love his work...) talk about the non-benefits of not eating well...i watched bob greene talk about the disconnect between weight gain and lifestyle and the role of exercise...

and today, oprah is talking to people who have lost weight and gained it back...from a body builder to a biggest loser winner who has gained it all back. she just finished talking with a woman who has learned about foreplay. and now she is talking about her thyroid problem...again...

so here we are, in day 6 of this best life makeover series that has placed its focus on making the body healthy, strong, fit and not fat...and what has been missing in each and every episode? what factor has not been addressed (that i have seen...and i did miss some...)? one that i have seen has talked about food.

yes, there is more to weight loss than food. there is more to finding your ideal weight than what you eat. but without the foundation of a healthy, whole, unprocessed, natural diet, you will spend your life on that carousel of weight loss and gain. you will struggle constantly. in order for us to achieve health, vitality and our ideal weight, the formula is simple...we need to eat very well...meaning a plant-based diet of whole, unprocessed, natural foods...we need to exercise every day...we need to live naturally, as humans were meant to live, which means, in my view...working hard, playing hard and resting in balance...being a part of a community, having a purpose, making a difference...

look, i think that oprah does great work in the world and is most likely a fine, if i could speak to her, i would say only this...relax; stop fighting and laying the blame on self-esteem and self-love; lay the blame where it lies, on your dinner plate. your food choices will give you the clarity you need to discover the path of diet and exercise that will get and keep you where you want to be.

talk to you later...


teryll said...

Very interesting. I have watched bits and pieces of this Oprah's "Best Life Week" and now that you mentioned it, you're absolutely right, no one has mentioned food! I do believe that for many people (myself included) food is related to alot of other issues, mainly, emotional eating. It's definitely important to address those issues, but they are deeply connected to what we eat. I often forget how much what I put into my body affects my moods, emotions, well -being and even thoughts. It's a vicious cycle in some regards, but we often place so little value on ourselves. Isn't that what we essentially say when we don't take care of our bodies? We say we don't care, we are not worth it? Just some "food" for thought, I suppose.

christea said...

Brilliantly spoken Christina. Santa brought This Crazy Vegan Life. WOW! You lay it all out there. I especially liked the methodical way you described how the American food supply has changed since WWII. I saw just the one Oprah show and paused on her pre-printed diet plan. It had a lot of non-fat or low-fat salad dressings with the meals ... hmmm. I have weight issues to overcome myself, but with the help of your new book I now feel I have the resources to get there. Thank You!

One question: I picked up the organic erythritol. Can you give a substitution for exchanging brown rice syrup for erythritol or a combo of brown rice syrup & erythritol in recipes from your previous books? (i.e 1/3 cup, 1/2 cup brown rice syrup substitute ........)

I also enjoyed your common sense advice to fitness. I've committed to an indoor walking tape to start and checking out a place to get the resistance bands with handles. I am recommending this book to all my family and friends. I don't know how you can say you care about your health without the knowledge you have laid out in your book. Thank you again. You are truly an inspiriation.

shell1226 said...

I agree wholeheartedly. While I did enjoy the series, not enough emphasis is placed on good, wholesome eating.

Anonymous said...

Christina if what you say is true then can you tell me why the Japanese live the longest and are the healthiest when the food they eat is not vegetarian, nor low sugar, nor low fat, nor low sodium. They eat WHITE RICE and WHITE NOODLES.

The Koreans eat high fat, salt and sugar with lots of meats and white rice and noodles. They put corn syrup in alot of their food.

BTW-the Japanese invented corn syrup and they and Korea use it liberally.

The Amish eat pie for breakfast, eat high fat, meat laden rich food all day and they are not fat or unhealthy.

Everyone's body is different.
Some people can eat junk and smoke and drink all their lives and live to 100. Others, like you, do better on a vegan diet.

I tried a vegan diet one time and my blood sugar was all wonky and I gained weight. I do better on an animal protein diet. Likewise,
My cousin who was given 6 months to live due to her diabetes has been kept alive by the Hays diet, which is all animal protein, for 8 YEARS now.

Your health involves many many factors such as..
Diet, genetics, stress level, self esteem, personality type, activity level, drugs you are on, dehydration, depression etc.

It doesnt matter how healthy a diet you are eating, if you are not happy in your job or marriage or you are depressed, being vegan or not eating meat is not going to fix that.

When you are depressed or stressed or feeling bad, you dont tend to reach for tofu, you reach for cake.
And if you have great self esteem and love yourself you are less likely to reach for the cake in times of stress.

That is what Oprah was getting at.

And veggies and tofu and beans will not stop depression or stress or cure poor self esteem.

Somehow your post seemed self righteous.

Anthony said...

I think your post was right on target! That has always been the frustrating thing about Oprah, she sometimes has great people on and talks about really wonderful topics, but she so clearly does not practice what she preaches on her show so it sends all of these mixed signals. Oy vey is right.

Nik said...

Hello Christina,Sorry to read from your blog that you haven't been feeling good but glad to hear that you are getting over the cold. My story...I grew up in South Jersey and enjoyed watching your show for many years. I became a vegetarian while in High School and I have not gone back, I enjoy eating a vegetarian diet. So much so, that I decided to go to culinary school but later in life. I just graduated from the Art Institute at the age of 37 but I was disappointed that I did not learn more about vegetarianism while attending school. I don't live in the Phila/South Jersey area any more and I wish that I had gone to culinary school while growing up there. However, I recently bought your current book and I am enjoying it but I do miss watching your program.I have emailed our PBS station to see if we can get your show here but I have not heard back from them yet. So, my question is, is it possible to purchase DVD's of your show and also, do you recommmend any books that I can read to further my education on vegetarianism, unfortunately living in Houston, it is not as common as in the northeast. But I am happy to say, that I am currently working at The Viking Cooking School here in Texas and I have the opportunity to teach some vegetarian classes, so any advice you can give would be great.Thank you,Nicole Livezey

christea said...

To Unknown ~ It isn't just about a vegan diet in IMHO. What has gone on in the production of the food in this country since WWII has brought on a bombardment of toxins that Americans are absorbing in their bloodstream and internal organs; from their household cleaning products to the meat and dairy they are consuming. Growth hormones, antibiotics, herbicides, pesticides, genetically modified food substances are overloading our environment and our bodies. Table salt isn't salt and commercial sugar and high fructose corn syrup isn't just sugar. Dairy isn't Elsie the cow anymore. Elsie has become bio-cow and the things she ingests and the abhorable stressful conditions she exists in before she is slaughtered is what you are consuming from her meat to her milk which is turned into yogurt and cheese. The USDA and FDA are currently overrun with corporate lobbyists intent on greed versus health. Christina thoughtfully is trying to bring public awareness some of these issues. IMHO a vegan, organic diet is a way to heal ourselves from all of this agri-toxicity. Are the Amish using Clorox & brushing their teeth with Flouride? Are the Amish giving their animals growth hormones, pesticides and herbicides? Are they using genetically modified seeds for their crops? This stuff is regulated much more strictly in the Europe. High fructose corn syrup is banned, genetically modifed food is labeled. My two cents...

christea said...

BTW - Elsie the bio-cow has to consume 16 pounds of grain and soybeans to produce one pound of beef, the US has cleared 260,000,000 acres to support our meat-based diet, more than half the water used in the US is for livestock production (it takes 25 gallons to produce one pound of wheat & 2500 gallons of water to produce one pound of beef) and the "hits just keep on coming". This is a HUGE environmental and health issue in our nation.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Come to Pensylvanias Amish country and you will see all the Monsanto brand crops you want. The Amish shop at the same supsermarkets as Die Englisch shop at.

The point I was making was that vegan doesnt work for all people, it makes some people unhealthier (LIKE ME AND MY COUSIN) and that emotions and depression and self esteem and emotional eating cannot be solved or cured by a natural diet or veganism.

The thing that kills me is that Christina sounded snobby about what she puts in her mouth! Now Im sure Oprah has tried everything, including veganism and Im sure her private personal chef uses only organic fresh ingredients. Im sure she has tried everything. BUT it all goes back to self esteem and emotional eating.

It just seemed slightly, I dont know, "Scientologist" to tell Oprah that it has nothing to do with self esteem or emotional eating just eat vegan and natural whole foods and we will fix everything. Vegans and Vegetarians dont enjoy people calling them weird, so why act in a manner that provokes opposition?

Cant we all just eat the way thats best for us personally and that works best for our systems and ultimately allows us some fun and decadence without deprivation?

One size does not fit all.

JesicaAn said...

I would have to disagree that the foods we eat do not have a significant effect on things like depression. My husband is bipolar and since we have changed our lifestyle to become vegetarians, his symptoms are much more controlled and he is much more stable. This is due to several different factors and changes we have made, and he is on medication, but he has been on meds for over 7 years now, and when we made these changes to our diet, there was immediate , dramatic improvement of his situation.

It is true that one idea does not work for all people, but having an open mind and being able try different things never hurt anyone.

The cold-flu-plague is HORRIBLE this year. Hope you are feeling better soon.

christea said...

To Unknown ~ Thank you for enlightening me about the Amish. I have not been blessed to travel there, but hope to one day. It is a sad commentary on American farming if, in fact, the Amish farming community has been polluted by Monsanto GMO crops.

I meant no "spirit of offense" by my posts to you. I read Christina's blog in a completely different light than you given what I know about agri-business, the USDA, the FDA, pharmaceutical giants and the health insurance industry. IMHO it is the elephant in the room for America. One size does not fit all as another poster eloquently stated. However, many have benefited from switching to a vegan diet. That said, vegans are going to die just like everyone else.

I am so grateful for the knowledge that Christina so generously shares with us. I respect her viewpoints based on her own health issues that she has overcome and her educational training. I don't consider her attitude "snobbish" or "Scientologist". Rather I view her as passionate and compassionate towards wanting to help others. Like Hippocrates said, "let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food". Peace to you and all the posters in this blog!

Anonymous said...

To "the unknown poster". Please go elsewhere with your negativity. The vegan diet has overwhelmingly been proven to improve health, not to mention alleviate the suffering of animals. The environment is also in peril because of meat consumption. These are three very good reasons not to be hedonistic about eating anything we want to. If you don't understand why eating meat is so detrimental, please educate yourself and be open minded.

teryll said...

The whole point is for us to all have a dialogue. I am interested in learning as much as possible about being healthy, no matter if you eat meat, don't eat meat, are vegan or not. We shouldn't "slam" one another. I don't believe Christina's blog slammed Oprah, I think she made an important observation, that the show didn't focus on what you are putting into your body. Can't we all just get along? :)

haribo83 said...

Christina- Although you may not have the ability to briefly mention a product or idea and make it a must in the lives of every American- your message of whole, healthy eating is one that will not change based on what is "in" and exciting.

Your show has changed my life dramatically and it works!! No gimmicks or crazy fads needed!

Don't get me wrong, I dig Oprah but she is a business woman first and foremost. Sometimes that is forgotten due to her celebrity.

Anyways, thanks for all that you do and I look forward to absorbing more or your wisdom and lifestyle advice.