When researching what our mom could do on her own to prevent a breast cancer reoccurrence, we stumbled upon a very intriguing book: Keep It Simple, Keep It Whole: Your Guide to Optimum Health, by Alona Pulde, M.D. and Matthew Lederman, M. D. This book has given us a whole new outlook on the power of whole food nutrition. We know there are many factors that could cause or prevent disease, but nutrition was something we knew we could control. The introduction in this book caught our attention with the analogy between our bodies and cars.
“The honest truth is: it starts with nutrition. WE, like cars and other machines, run on fuel. For us, that fuel is food and water. It is easy for us to know our car needs gasoline and not dishwasher soap. So, why is it so difficult for us to understand that we need nutritious whole foods and not cheeseburgers, sodas, and donuts? The reality is that this is not our fault. Your bodies are not flawed. This is not a problem resulting from defective genes, inability to portion control, or a propensity to emotionally eat. Instead, the problem lies in the environment we live in.
The human body is naturally hard-wired to enjoy pleasurable experiences, which was useful years ago as a survival method for our ancestors. They explain that, “In order for our ancestors to survive in nature, they needed to learn how to find food without becoming food. The most efficient way to do this was to find the foods with the most calories. For example, if they had to choose between a cucumber and a banana, they were programmed to choose the banana. Unfortunately, the advancements in our environment have created new scenarios for us. We are no longer choosing between a cucumber and banana; instead, we are choosing between a banana and a cheeseburger. And, using the same algorithm, it now becomes more understandable why we choose the cheeseburger.”
Like our ancestors, our bodies are still programmed to seek out caloric density. What our body doesn’t realize is that we are no longer only choosing from whole foods; rather, many of us rely on fast foods or processed/packaged foods for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. We are programmed to seek caloric density, BUT we are no longer choosing from ONLY whole foods.
The system is very accurate as long as we’re eating natural whole foods, our calorie currency per se. But, when we introduce fast food and junk food into our bodies, our system goes haywire.”
Fast food and processed food cause our bodies to go haywire? Hmm…no thank you! We don’t want our bodies to work any harder than they have to. Pulde and Lederman encourage a plant-based diet. After reading their book and reviewing their colleague’s medical research, we were convinced that a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts and seeds was the only logical way to go. To learn more about what a plant-based diet looks like and how we incorporated it into our lives refer to the “Get REAL” tab for more information.
Pulde, Alona, and Matthew Lederman. Keep It Simple, Keep It Whole: Your Guide to Optimum Health. Ed.
Mona Howard and Gil Pulde. Illus. Monica Richards. N.p.: Exsalus Health and Wellness Center,