In America, more than one-third of adults and 17 percent of children are obese. Throughout my travels in Europe, the Middle East, North Africa and Asia, it was much less often that I saw overweight individuals than in America, and even rarer were sightings of obesity.
From 1998 to 1999, I lived in Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan Province in China's southwest region, studying at Sichuan University and interning for the U.S. Commercial Service in Chengdu. Among the many Chinese I saw, I only remember seeing one who was overweight. He happened to be Chinese-American. Ten years later, I was living in more modern cities such as Beijing and Shanghai and it was apparent that American exports were making great strides in the Chinese marketplace in the form of the fast-food chains and junk-food brands. Although far behind the obesity problem of the United States, China is suffering from a disease of its own—the disease of affluence. With China's growing middle class, there is more expendable income to spend at convenience stores and fast-food outlets located on every corner.
Weight problems can often lead to medical complications, ranging from heart disease to gallstones to degenerative arthritis to adult-onset diabetes to cancers. The health risks of being grossly overweight can lead to drugs and surgical procedures to prevent premature death. Obesity is often seen as an indication of over-nourishment counteracted by rigorous counting of calories and fat grams paralleled alongside portion control.
In contrast, obesity is an epidemic of malnourishment, as common food choices in diets involve artificial beverages and meals void of nutrients. Hunger pangs soon set in, and the individual succumbs to food or alcohol cravings. These repeated experiences serve as false confirmations and reminders that the individual suffers from a lack of self-will and discipline. This vicious cycle turns into the infamous yo-yo dieting.
This calls into mind the famous definition from Albert Einstein, who said insanity is "doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results."
Obesity is not a sign of laziness or a lack of discipline. Genetics are certainly a part of the obesity equation. However, genetics don't help explain why obese people often have overweight pets, so lifestyle choices also come into play. According to Dr. Joel Fuhrman, a combination of food choices and physical movement along with genetics determines one's weight.
It is often said we are what we eat; however, it's more what our bodies absorbed in terms of nutrients versus toxins that make up our internal health. Some dieters are on very strict food regimens but don't see results because the body is unable to take in nutrients.
When toxins from the environment or pesticides and chemicals in the foods we eat enter the system and cannot get eliminated, they store up in muscle, and especially in fatty tissues, areas such as the waist, brain, breasts and prostate gland. What is needed is a reboot, or a detoxification effort, to remove blockages.
Many approach the raw-food diet as a weight-loss solution.
Although raw foods are certainly part of the equation in maintaining a healthy weight, eating raw foods is much more of a lifestyle choice than a short-term diet, in contrast to crash diets. Choosing to eat all raw foods for a short length of time in order to get on a healthier path or eliminate unhealthy food cravings is discussed under Practical Detox Approaches and Detoxification Through Elimination and Replacement (later in this book). Some go a step further by doing at-home enemas or hydro-colonic types of irrigation therapies. What's needed in a detox is likened to turning on the garbage disposal to move a dirty sink's waste and accumulated matter along. Clearing out our own pipes is the first step to well-functioning organs and a digestive tract that can absorb vital nutrients.
Excerpted from Detox Delish by Jennifer Mac. Published by Siloam Charisma Media/Charisma House Book Group. Copyright 2016 by Jennifer Mac. All rights reserved.
Jennifer Mac is the author of The Right Blend: Blender-only Raw Food Recipes and shares her delicious recipes, health-promoting lifestyle and natural beauty tips. Jennifer Mac's passion is to share with others how to be deliciously healthy® using real foods and real ingredients from her home to yours. Growing up on a farm in Idaho, Jennifer Mac got her start pioneering the raw food movement in China after becoming a chef from Living Light Culinary Institute in Northern California. Visit her website, TheJenniferMac.com.