Thursday, August 22, 2013

WWR? Mexico beats the US in the Race of the Scales

The What, Why and Really? 
Race of the Scales

You should have already known I was going to use this picture.
That's the one and only, Usain Bolt, by the way.
Photo Credit: NYTimes

Photo Credit: Wallibs
In LANE 1 we have the Uniiiiiited States, the undefeated champion, who's been toping the charts since the 1970s and 1980s when high-fructose corn syrup and hydrogenated oils were dropped oh so hard into our diets.

You can follow the paper trail all the way back to Earl Butz, the secretary of state during the era of Nixon, who instituted the development of legislation that significantly reduced subsidies for farmers.  This essentially forced farmers to produce massive amounts of corn so that it could be exported around the world.

So what do you do when you produce way more corn than you can handle?

You turn it into High-Fructose Corn Syrup.  I'm just going to put in a plug here for the doc, Food, Inc. (video below)

It gives you the history of the invention of such things (I shall not call it food) as high-fructose corn syrup, excessive use of soybean oil in everything and trans fats. Your mind will be opened due to blowing up.

Photo Credit: Studio

And in LANE 2 we have Mexico, the contender for the gold.

This is gonna be exciting!!  The United States has never lost this race and is, of course, the favorite to win.

But Mexico has been vigorously training all season........................running laps around donuts, pumping quarter pounders at the Burger King gym, undergoing some intense conditioning using a new workout formula invented by Coach Crispy Chicken.  I heard it was 2000 lbs of fries a week, just for the warm-up.  So hardcore, man.  Mexico might have a good chance of taking the gold in today's race.

On your mark.  Get Set.  GOOOO!
....................................And their off.

The United States has gotten off to a great start.  Currently holding a pace of 31.8, the percentage of adult Americans that are overweight.  Additionally, 70% of Americans age 20 and over are overweight and obese as reported by CDC.  Leme hit ya with some statistics about the kiddies:
  • 18.4% of children between 12-19 are obese
  • 18.0% of children between 6-11 are obese
  • 12.1% of children between 2-5 are obese
Have mercy!  

Now we've seen the whole spectrum of Americans, lets' see what the deal is with Mexico.

.................And now it looks like Mexico is pulling up, just a few percentages behind the US.  Mexico is coming around the turn very strong.  This could be an upset.  I don't see any signs of Mexico slowing down.  If Mexico hits the turn with less then 1% between the US, it could be all over today.

The United States is trying to maintain the lead.................BUT it looks like Mexico is closing the distance rapidly.   I don't know if the US can hold it.  Nooooooooo, they can't.  Mexico is inching forward with a strong pace..................AND it looks like Mexico has taken the lead.  The Unites States is battling through but just can't keep up.  Mexico is moving strong and inching towards the finish line....................And MEXICO takes the GOLD!

Mexico has OFFICIALLY surpassed the US as the nation with the highest obesity rate.  This doesn't include small islands like the Cook Islands and French Polynesia, where obesity and diabetes rates are unprecedented.  I will chat a bit more about that later.

Photo Credit: NextGen

Mexico is eating more processed foods, soda and other sugary drinks than ever.  In comparison to other nations, Mexicans are drinking more sugary drinks than any other country.  Advertising, convenience stores and mega-food markets have contributed to increased demand and consumption.  Diabetes is currently the biggest killer in Mexico.  Check this out:
  • By the year 2025, it is estimated that 11.7 million Mexicans will be diagnosed with diabetes out of a population of 114.8 million. 
  • Each year, 40,000 new cases of diabetes are diagnosed in Mexico.
  • In the year 2000, the #2 cause of hospital death in Mexico was diabetes even though it was the 11th most frequent cause of hospitalization.
  • The kiddies are feeling it too: Currently 14% of the population affected by diabetes are under the age of 40. Smh. Poor babies.
  • 1 out of 6 Mexican adults currently suffers from diabetes.
  • 70,000 Mexicans now die of diabetes every year which is roughly equivalent to the number of death due to involvement in Mexican criminal gangs.
Yoooooo, what is this right here?  This is absolute madness.

The assimilation of a westernized diet (AKA fast food and junk food and loads of meat and loads of grease and loads of salt and loads of sugar) in place of the whole-food, natural and plant-heavy eating pattern of the past is what's going on here. 

My random two cents: I mean, fresh produce must be DEPRESSED as hell.  They have been rejected, tossed to the side.  So few folks want to hang out with them, which includes me, of course.   But they are tired of me.  They need to see some new faces.  I'll introduce you, no worries.  :)

Mexico is not the first country to demonstrate what happens when a nation adopts a Westernized diet.  Take the following countries, many in the region of Oceania, for example:

  • Nauru (95% obesity rate)
  • Micronesia (92% obesity rate)
  • Cook Islands (92% obesity rate)
  • Tonga (92% obesity rate)
  • Nieu (84% obesity rate)
  • Samoa (83% obesity rate)
Other countries such as American Samoa, Palau and French Polynesia are known to have an obesity rate of at least 75%.  The introduction of many elements of the Western diet through importation of such foods has been credited for the increase in not only obesity but chronic disease. This was due to these nations in some way being colonized by Western societies such as the US, France, the UK, Australia and New Zealand.  Here's a really interesting point on what is termed "dietary colonialism" for all my sociology majors out excerpt from the paper, The Obesity Epidemic in the Pacific Islands:

"Specifically, traditional foods of past generations have 

been supplanted with food purchased from Western 
nations...The traditional 
foods of the islands such as fresh fish, meat, and local 
fruits and vegetables have been replaced by rice, sugar, 
flour, canned meats, canned fruits and vegetables, soft 
drinks and beer. The diet is high in calories and with little 
nutritional value. Many Pacific Islanders 
have come to depend on food imported from abroad. 
Consequently, commercial ventures on the islands tend 
to stock these high-fat, energy-dense foods. Over time, 
purchasing these imported goods has become a sign of 
social status in the community and traditional foods have 
decreased in importance. Even before World War Two, 
missionary wives and other women from the West were 
strongly advising the women of the Pacific on the “proper 
way” to feed their families. The island women were taught 
to “bake tarts and serve a roast beef dinner in order to 
keep their families healthy”.  The 
ingredients for these meals could only be obtained from 
sources outside the islands, and so a situation of “dietary 
colonialism” resulted.  

This dietary colonialism is more than evident in 2013 as it has pervaded the entire world.  Obesity is currently a global crisis as stated in the most recent report on the burden of global disease.  The WHO estimates that currently ONE BILLION people are overweight.  That's 1/7 of the world's population.  I did the math myself and that number is too dagone big!

I don't think it can get much clearer as to what is the primary cause of obesity and most chronic diseases and no, it's not genetics.  The CDC lists four common causes of chronic disease:  poor nutrition, lack of exercise, tobacco use and alcohol consumption.  Changing, modifying, altering, transforming or improving nutrition by any means (maybe not all means............"450 calories per day" diets are out of control, Kaiser!) is the best way to start.  This ain't rocket science, my people.   Crap + Body = Crappy Body.  Healthy Stuff + Body = Healthy Body.  It's just math.

Thing is, what are we really gonna do?  Like for real.  Many times the info that needs to be heard, that needs to be registered, hits the brain like a wall.  "Oh, so that whole 2 hour discussion we had on why you may probably get diabetes if you keep drinking 4 cans of soda religiously and how diabetes complications will leave you looking like a pirate, wasn't really the business?  I see, it just didn't really do anything for you.

You're blind here, missing a limb there,
lugging around your own luggage
and your grill is all kinds of messed up.
Photo Credit: Wiki
The reality is that lectures hardly ever work, unless an individual is actually ready to receive the information.  Otherwise, it goes in one ear, hits the wall of "I don't really care about this right now" surrounding the brain, floats through some cerebral fluid, bumps into to a couple other squishy stuff, travels up the side of the head as the the pressure in your head increases from annoyance and THEN comes out of the other ear.  Instead of just talking, we have to get to the doing. 

So I will leave you with this.  What are some effective ways that you think we can get folks moving in the right direction, towards healthier lifestyles?  My people, I would love your feedback on this!

Thank you for reading.  My people, I appreciate you all so much.  Be healthy and happy.  Ciao!

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Original Gangsta Bird Food Eaters

I have been dying to write this post because of the pure inspiration that I will be sending out to the masses.  I love gangsta old people!  Like the woman who started 60 YEARS OLD!.....................or the centenarian that RUNS MARATHONS.  I actually know one personally and she's my Grandmother (Gege). I mean that is just amazing and though, not all humans are created equal, the fact that healthy lifestyles are associated with older folks being able to do things most older folks can't do (but should be able to), is incredible.   That means I'll be right around there when I'm 90 and above if my 1 in 79, 746 risk of getting struck by lightning or my 1 in 5, 051 risk of falling 30,000 feet to my death in a plane crash or my 1 in 340, 733 risk of getting blown up by fireworks doesn't cap my life expectancy too early.  So I've been made aware of a diverse list of gangsta old people who inspire me to keep living the good life.  Truth is, it is more of an icing on the cake type deal because my motivation has been solidified already.  It just makes me even happier to know that is what I can expect, ya know.  I think you will like them as much as I do.  Here we go:

1.  Jim Morris
Photo Credit: Frugivore
The 72 year old body building champion.  I think he has lost count of how many competitions he has decimated.  Mr. Universe, Mr. Olympia, Mr.  America.......etcetera.  He attributes his amazing physique and health to his bangin' lifestyle which includes a diet of purely nuts, vegetables, fruits and seeds and daily exercise for an hour every day.  He became vegetarian in 1985 and in 2000, at the age of 65, when full-blown bird food.  If you want to check him out a little more, here is the link to his website: Jim Morris.   This video pretty much sums up his amazingness:

2.  Mimi Kirk
Photo Credit: The Scrivens Post
You want to guess how old she is?....................................Nope, not 50.....................Not quite 60 either.........................70?..........Almost...................if you just add a few more years.  She is 75 years old.  Goodness.  She became a vegetarian 40 years ago and raw vegan 20 years after. She loves it and looks great doing it.  She was also voted, "Sexiest Vegetarian over 50" by PETA.  The woman looks good, for real!  Want to know more about her, check her out here: Mimi Kirk

3.  Annette Larkins
Photo Credit:  The Speach

Now this lovely lady is actually on a completely different level.  This 71 year old is probably the youngest senior I have ever seen.  She has been a raw foodist for 27 years now.  She is sooooo gangsta!  
She does all of the following:

  • Grows her own garden (outdoor and indoor)
  • Converts rain water for her drinking water
  • Designs and sews her own clothes
  • Speaks three languages
  • Maintains a 5,000 book library that keeps growing
  • Created her own profitable business online
  • Wrote a textbook specifically designed to help her grandson learn how to read.  
All of this came out of one body. I love to see what happens when people chose not to limit themselves.  The most interesting thing is how differently her husband lives compared to her.  He eats the average American diet and unfortunately suffers from diabetes, high cholesterol and high blood pressure.  She actually has quite a family history of chronic disease (both her mother and grandmother dying of cancer and diabetes runs in the family) but she remains disease-free.  I wooooonder why? :)   You can learn more about her, here: Annette Larkins. Here is a little snippet of her from an interview:

4.  Dr. Ellesworth Wareham

Photo Credit: Spread Peace

What a name!   Sounds kinda like some Jamaican names I know.................Barrington, Benton, Clifton, Wilburn, Delford  :)   This is my boy right here.  He is sooooo ridiculously gangsta!  Why?  He is 98 years old and he literally retired at 95 from his profession as a surgeon.  He said he arbitrarily chose 95 as an age that he would put down he scalpel.  Ha!  Love this guy.  He should make the Guinness Book for being the longest practicing surgeon to date.  He's vegan and has been for half his life.  He is still mowing his own lawn and pruning his own bushes.  Please do absorb all the wisdom coming out of his mouth in 5.....4.....3.....2......1:

5.  Bernando Lapallo

Photo Credit: Mark W. Lipczynski

I love this guy so much.   Another sage walking the earth.  He is currently...................wait for it..........................................112.  112 years old.  I promise you, that is not a typo.  He walks everyday and reads all the time.  Then this is where we bonded.  He uses olive oil as lotion, just like muah.  Kindred spirits!   He lives by 5 foods:  Olive oil, of course, honey, chocolate, garlic and addition all the other edible members of the plant family.  He attributes his long life to his bangin' bird food diet and faith in God.  Check out the sage here: Bernando Lapallo.  This is where I first learned about him:

6.  Mike Fremont
Photo Credit: Runners World

I heard about this mister some months ago.  He is 91 and picked up some airtime in Runners World by finishing his half-marathon in 3:03:56.  Smh.  Like seriously.  A half marathon.  What in the world am I really doing?  I can hardly last 4 miles.  It's probably because I do more HIIT than endurance exercise but still! I know he is putting many 20 year olds to shame right now including myself.  This time of 3:03:56 was a world record for his age group but not for this seasoned......well-seasoned runner.  Last year his time was 2:56:26 as a 90-year old.  He attributes all of this to his vegan diet. In an interview with Running Times, he said:

“Training is important but when you get to be my age, you’re not going to able to train at all unless your body holds up. I simply cannot overemphasize the importance of the plant-based diet to my performance.” 

Like many bird food eaters, he notes many benefits such as cold/flu protection and ease of maintaining your ideal weight.  Here is an excerpt:

"Fremont explains of his diet. He eats primarily vegetables, fruit, whole grains and nuts, as well as soups of all kinds. He adds that he takes no supplements or medication, except for some Vitamin D in the winter. He stresses that in the 20 years he has been eating this way, he has not had a single cold or sickness of any kind. At 5-foot-4, he maintains 125 pounds, the same as his wrestling weight during his years at Yale University."

I, like my friend Mike here, find it very easy to maintain my high school weight.  Once you start eating the things that the body needs and not what the mind wants, you will experience exactly what I am talking about.

7.  Faula Singh
Photo Credit: ESPN

Photo Credit: ESPN

I just love these pictures.  Continuing on the topic of runners, we have here probably the oldest marathon runner EVER.  Faula Singh was originally a farmer from Punjab, India who moved to the UK in the 1960s.  Faula Singh is 101.  Or so has been estimated.  He can't be officially recognized as the world's oldest marathon runner because he has no birth certificate (which Guinness specifically requires) though his passport indicates his age.  I trust his account.  He has run 8 marathons to date since 2000.  He originally took up running at 89 years old after the death of his wife and one of his sons.  He credits his vegetarian diet to giving him the stamina needed to run his marathons.  This goes to show you that you are NEVER to old to start something new.  I plan to have 6 languages under my belt by the time I leave this earth.  Why not?  Living the good life is what it's all about.  Faula proves to me that this is possible, seeing what he has been capable of in his old age.   Let him share with you some words of wisdom:

8.  Marge Jetton

I first heard about Marge after watching a video clip about Blue Zones.  If you have no idea what a blue zone is, it describes areas of the world where the inhabitants of that area live significantly longer than the average life expectancy.  Most times these areas have a high concentration of centenarians.  The only blue zone in the United States is nestled in Loma Linda, California,  a predominantly Seventh-Day Adventist community.  The Seventh Day Adventist faith encourages a healthy lifestyle primarily through a vegetarian and vegan diet, exercise, stress reducing activities, restful sleep and a solid faith in God.  Daily, she bikes 8 miles on her stationary bike, completes a challenging weight-training circuit and power walks.  Oh and she still drives!  YOU MUST WATCH THE VIDEO BELOW.  You will love her and I tell you, my girl knows how to rock some shades.  The spunky, Minnie Agerson-Wood, is also featured in the video below.  She is 97 years old and still teaching voice and piano lessons.  You'll see what I mean by spunky.

9.  Teresa Monge

Photo Credit: MGD

Here, we have on of my all time favorite gangstas, Teresa.  I met her when I studied abroad in Costa Rica in 2009 as she was my Costa Rican great-grandmother.  She was the most amazing lady.  She had jokes for days and she was sooooo quick.  Nothing passed her.  Sarcasm was her weapon of choice and she knew how to laugh and have a good time.  Sometimes I would come home from classes and find her in her rocking chair on the porch of her little house.  I would just sit and talk with her for hours, listening to her stories and just enjoying being in her company.  When I was with her, she was 98 years old and kept reminding everyone that she only had two more years until she would be 100.  I'm so glad she made it there like she hoped before she passed away peacefully a year ago.  She had the same routine everyday.  Wake up early, go to bed early and eat just enough.  She wasn't a bird food eater all the way but lived off of the land as her son (my Costa Rican grandfather) cultivated the large farmland behind her house.  She was wonderful lady and I am so glad I had the privilege of knowing her.

10.  Ruby Fray
Photo Credit: Carolyn Edwards

Last but definitely NOT least, we have my Gege, Ruby or Rubs as we like to call her sometimes.  This lady is most definitely an original gangsta.  At 83, she is still chopping wood in the back of the house with a machete, rearranging HEAVY furniture in her room, walking daily, reading daily, advising all her grandchildren and when you get fresh or "facety" as we say in JA, she won't hesitate to check you as evidenced by the following photograph:  

She is one of THE FUNNIEST individuals I know.  I can only laugh when I'm around her.  I'm slowly bringing her up to speed on the plant life but she will always be G, bird food eater or not.

So what can we conclude from these amazing stories?   Take great care of your body and it will take GREAT care of you.  :)

Thank you for reading!  My people, I appreciate you all so much.  Be happy and healthy.  Ciao!