Monday, July 13, 2009

i'm back from italy!

Hi Guys-

I am sure everyone has seen the latest stats to be released on obesity. (I just got home from Italy and found them waiting on my desktop.) While Mississippi is ‘still king of cellulite,’ an ominous tide is rolling onward as Alabama is currently running a close second in its obesity rankings.

The new stats have just been released and they hold little good news. In 31 states, more than 1 in 4 adults is obese (not just pleasantly plump, but obese…yikes!). The report, released by the Trust for America’s Health says that obesity rose in 23 states over the past year, while not one state experienced a decline. In fact, the report indicates that the crest of the wave of obesity has yet to crash over us.

And while this report provides one of the first in-depth looks at obese baby boomers…and also credits them for a good deal of the crushing rise in obesity (39% of boomers in Alabama are obese), I won’t bore you with yet another blog about obesity and its impact on health. We all know the truth. We need to eat real food and exercise regularly to be fit, vital humans.

But I think the problem is much deeper than how many Happy Meals you eat. I think that we live in a world where you have to be constantly vigilant to not be obese. I think that beating people up, yelling and finger-pointing won’t really solve the problem. I think that the problem runs so deep that a total overhaul of our food system is needed to beat obesity before it steals our future completely.

If you’ve seen the documentary Food, Inc., read anything by Michael Pollan, or listened to the current information that Mark Bittman talks about, you know the truth. As a culture, we have moved so far from eating real food, that we almost can’t identify it anymore.

As decades have passed and we grow further from the garden and the kitchen, we have lost sight of what real food looks like, tastes like and how we feel when we eat it. In the name of convenience and speed, we let our health, along with real food slip through our fingers and the price we are paying is high.

I often ask people what they are looking for in life. It seems that we spend our days wishing them over. We can’t wait for school to be out, work to be finished, our time at the gym over, dinner done…and I wonder why. What is it that we can’t wait for? Hours in front of the television? More time on Facebook or Twitter? What?

We need to re-think and re-set our priorities. In this economy, we talk a lot about getting back to basics, getting rid of excess. We need to begin with our food. It’s time to stop buying into all the marketing and hype that we see and hear, promoting fast food, junk and other foodlike substances.

Getting back to basics begins in the kitchen…actually in the garden and at the farm stand. Before this madness known as the obesity epidemic can be stemmed, we need to identify real food and begin to make those choices. We need to demand better quality from the people who produce and manufacture the food we eat. We need to tell them…loud and clear…that enough is enough and we won’t continue to eat their cheap, fast food that is loaded with fat, sugar and salt and is designed to send us to an early grave, but not before we become reliant on pharmaceuticals. We have to tell them that we won’t buy it anymore…and then we need to stop buying it…and make better choices for ourselves.

It’s so easy to turn this tide that threatens to snuff out humanity. Obesity, diabetes, heart disease, even some cancers are all part of the new category of killers known as ‘lifestyle diseases.’ Our lifestyle is killing us and only a change can stop the terrifying statistics that steal our hope. Eating whole, natural, unprocessed food…the real thing…going back to the kitchen and preparing the lion share of your meals…gathering around the table with those you love…that’s the road back. That’s the path that can remove the stain that fast food and convenience has left on humanity.

And don’t for one minute try to make the argument that eating natural food is expensive and elitist and that it’s so much cheaper to buy poor-quality junk food to feed your family. Not only is that not true, but even if it were, the long term effects of eating fast food on our health is seen in the terrifying statistics we hear about every day. Better to invest in that head of broccoli than those 99-cent burgers. Remember that eating well is a right, not a privilege and everyone can afford to buy fresh fruit and vegetables. Yes, you have to cook them and that makes it harder than swinging by the drive-through window, but if we are to return to health, we need to go back to the kitchen.

It’s time to stop letting marketing and advertising own us and determine our health. It’s time for us to take control of our destinies and create the vitality that so many ads promise, but none can deliver. There is not a pill, lotion or potion that can give you your health. They can only mask the symptoms they have helped to create and give you the illusion of health and well-being.

Instead, why not eat real food, not too much, mostly plants and create the real thing?



Barbara Allen Moore said...

Welcome home! I hope you had a fantastic time. My mom beleived that she had to have an 18inch waist. To do this she dieted all the time and used a waist cincher to achieve this goal. A goal set by her doctor,the media and celebrity info. To achieve this goal she drank extra coffee, smoked up to 4 packs of cigarettes a day and allowed herself small meals of iceberg lettuce and the occasional scoop of cottage cheese.She'd loose her weight yes but in a few weeks she'd be back to her old habits and nothing would have changed. Feast or famine ruled our lives. Bad nutrition has ruled our lives. Now that we are in middle age and some of us ill, we are learning how to eat good food, how to grow our own food and how to exercise. Thanks for being the beginning of change for me. We love so many of your recipes! The stuffed Zucchini was fantstic, we shared with our elderly neighbor she loved it as well!

Anonymous said...

Welcome back! Hope your project went well...

I just wanted to say how grateful I am to have found your show and how much of an impact it has made on the way I think about, shop for, and prepare food! I've always tried to steer clear of processed stuff, but in watching you I've realized how much crap is still in there, so I've started using more whole foods and less bad stuff in addition to completing the Couch to 5K running program and it's been very uplifting!

I actually just finished making your lasagna from the Macaroni Makeover episode and it came out great! I actually added some vegan ground "beef" to make my husband think of it as more of a main dish and it turned out very well. I've tricked him into eating tofu several times and no complaints yet!

Anyway, to make a long message longer, I agree with you completely about the state of our food. My mother is one of your aforementioned "obese baby boomers" and has struggled with it for a long time due to poor diet choices and inactivity. She got a lap band last October and while it has helped some, the lifestyle choices are still the biggest thing holding her back from reaching her true potential. I told her about your show the other day and she seemed very intrigued, so hopefully we can start working as a family to make better choices.

So once again, thank you for providing a very unique, educational, and fun show and for changing the way I approach food! If you ever get to come to the Cincinnati area for events/classes/etc. I will be there with great enthusiasm!


P.S. - My husband and I are both musicians (flute and percussion) and I love Jon Michael's segments! They just brighten my day!

Plaulita said...

Hi Chrisina,

I hope you had a wonderful time in Italy! I'm actually in Perugia myself. My comment isn't really related to your blog entry but I just had to write. My sister was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia and is currently being treated in a specialized clinic here. She strongly believes in the value of nutrition even though the doctors consistently dismiss it. In my search for natural alternatives, I stumbled upon a youtube clip featuring yourself in "Diet saves their lives". Not only do you have an infectious smile, you're also very inspiring and when you described yourself as having natural spirit and being volatile, I immediately thought of my sister, Mara. We're Italian too, you see! Anyway, I want you to know that I plan to buy the Michio Kushi book on cancer prevention. I'll also look at your webpage. Should you have any other tips or suggestions, feel free to contact me at or on FB under Paula Rossini(Amsterdam).

All my best from Perugia

Paula Rossini

Afi said...

Christina you are so right! We need to stop eating fast food and feeding our family all of that junk!! And we do make excuses that buying fresh veggies and fruit is to expensive. But if we make a budget I know that we can manage. So I know that I'm going to take your good advise and put it to use. Love Charlotte

Afi said...

I also want to tell you Mrs.Christina that I love watching your show. I never miss a day watching it!!! And when you are done with your new book I am going to purchase it. I already have This Crazy Vegan Life and I'm about to start the 21 day to a new me!!! I also have Cooking the Whole Foods Way...

s.parr said...

Hello Christina,
My name is Stephen (some people call me Steve) either is OK. I am fifty-nine now and have been eating mostly vegetarian since I was twenty-three. Most of the years I have been vegan eating a lot of tempeh, Lundberg rice and sea weeds, etc. For the last five years I have been consuming raw organic milk from grass feed cows that I have a share in. I think the probiotics help me because I didn't get any from Mom, and grew up on a pasteurized, dead diet.
When I was twenty-two a friend turned me onto Professor Arnold Ehret's books on mucus less diet and fasting. I began to heal myself at that point and never looked back. I had to over come some concern and abuse from others at times. But let me tell you, it has payed off for me big time. I have enjoyed a life time of health and healing.
I just want to thank you for your show and books, because you are an inspiration to me. As you know it is not easy to be an organic vegetarian. I have knowledge from working at the Shangra La Natural Institute in Florida in the seventies and the Center for Macrobiotic Living in San Francisco in the eighties. But most people are really confused about what to eat. So keep up the good work and thank you for being on the planet.
Stephen Parr I

Sister said...

Thank You Christina for a great post! I AM a macro chef pioneer who has become burned out on cooking for the multitudes.I needed this info to help me get back on track for me.Keep up the good work! God is Blessing you for all you do.

ksdascribe2 said...

Mississippi "king of cellulite," huh? Bummer. I AM from Mississippi! :(