Cleanse: Day 8

Last night, we watched the health documentary Forks Over Knives. Jordan had seen it before, but it was my first time, and I have to say, it was pretty mind-blowing. The film follows two nutritional experts on their journeys of advocacy for a “whole foods, plant-based diet.” By “whole foods,” they mean foods that receive little to no processing from their natural state, which basically means fresh fruits and vegetables (canned green beans don’t count). The film offers lots of information and insight into the politics, health, industry standards (and scandals), and environmental effects of different diets. If you’re interested, the film if available on Netflix streaming and also on Hulu. I highly recommend it if you want to learn more about why we did this crazy juice fast in the first place.  It backs itself up with lots of data, research, and interviews with experts, making it a good companion to the inspiring personal stories Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead. Basically, FSandND shows the results of the diet that FoverK promotes with its science.

One aspect of the film to which I greatly related was something an evolutionary psychologist defined as “the pleasure trap.” He gave the example of using drugs: when people use stimulating drugs, the pleasure centers in the brain are supercharged. If this continues, it eventually disrupts the natural pleasure-producing processes, and the constant high becomes the norm. Obviously, this behavior is highly addictive and also highly destructive. In many ways, food has become a drug — foods that are high in fat and sugar stimulate our pleasure centers. Our ancestors survived in part because of this, but they didn’t overload because these kinds of foods rarely occur in nature. But today, you can grab a huge portion of animal meat, carbohydrates and refined sugar at any drive-thru. The fast food industry has cashed in on our biological predisposition, and it’s easy to become addicted to those kinds of foods as well as the high they induce.

I was so used to processed and refined foods, high in sugar and fat, that I’m learning now by coming off of the juice fast that I had forgotten what fresh food actually tasted like. Carrots are savory. Fruit is sweet. I’ve said this before, but now I have new language with which to talk about it: I’m not only weaning myself off of a juice fast. I’m weaning myself off of a food addiction. (This is why the first two days sucked. I wasn’t getting my normal “fix” and my body had to reboot itself.)

Another part of the film that sparked my interest was toward the beginning, when one of the doctors says something like, “Instead of pills and prescriptions, we can use food to medicate our health problems.” I commented to Jordan that I think we can all too easily use food to medicate in an unhealthy way; that is, we turn to these pleasure-inducing foods to medicate our psychological or emotional problems. This is why I eat french fries when I’m depressed. The problem is, while it may temporarily make me feel better emotionally, I’m hurting myself physically.

I hope I’m not sounding too preachy. I don’t think people who eat meat and dairy are horrible. You can certainly incorporate it into your diet in a health-conscious way. I’m just excited because of all that I’m learning from this juice fast, and from these other sources. And mostly, I’m excited to live better, because I think this kind of lifestyle could really work for me. We’ve been loving our fruits and veggies the past couple of days. Last night we made an awesome salad (something we’ve struggled to accomplish at home forever). Spinach, carrots, onions, bell peppers, avocado, balsamic vinaigrette…delicious!

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