The Standard American Diet, SAD, says Dr. William Hayes who presented 21st Century Nutrition at our December speaker meeting, could hardly be formulated better to enhance one’s chance of developing a depressive disorder, in addition to being responsible for the explosion of obesity and type 2 diabetes in our population. Not to mention our increased risks of having a heart attack or stroke, and of developing colon cancer. How did we achieve this unhappy result?
Politics and marketing. That the US Department of Agriculture food pyramid emphasizes dairy products is a consequence of the strong representation of dairy interests in Congress. Cow milk is the perfect food—for calves. For the rest of us, Dr. Hayes says, there are better sources of nutrition. Green leafy vegetables, for example, are a superior source of calcium.
The ready availability of fast and junk foods, and increasing portion sizes that emphasize fats and carbohydrates, have shepherded us along an unhealthy path. Remember when juice was commonly served in diminutive juice glasses? Not, it seems, unless you’ve been around more than a few decades.
What is the better way? Proper nutrition and lifestyle brings improved health and mood. Diet should emphasize vegetables, fruits and whole grains while avoiding saturated and trans fats. Your primary source of proteins should be beans and legumes, not meat. Omega-3 fatty acids, from fish or supplements, have proven benefits. Exercise and the practice of stress reductions techniques, such as yoga and mindfulness meditation, are lifestyle choices that help with health and mood.
Avoid junk food and eat at home where you control the ingredients, asserts Dr. Hayes, to advance to a sounder mind and body.