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Overweight People Are Often Starving
Why We Are So Nutritionally Hungry And Obese As A Culture

One of the greatest frustrations I have with society today is our constant dismissal of common sense and a need to embrace fads. I know that most of us walk around tired from our day at work and when we are home we tend to hand over our right to be empowered thinkers and accept what media and clever marketing tells us. The problem with this is that we are losing our ability to discern even the most simple, logical thought when we embrace fad diets.

It is not that we are lazy, or stupid; we are just overwhelmed. How can we not be when we are bombarded with so much information? From spam emails filling our in-boxes to watching a news program that has advertising on one side, a news story in the center and a a stream of text with other news coming in while our cell phone rings and sends video from a friend and more emails. So it is no wonder why we have our heads so turned around on the issue of the rising rate of obesity in this country. But, let's just take a moment to recall what common sense says about it.

Lisa Lawless
By Lisa S. Lawless, Ph.D.
Psychotherapist & Sexuality Expert

CEO & Founder of
Holistic Wisdom, Inc. & NAASAS

Copyright: Holistic Wisdom- Do NOT Copy Warning

Copyright © Holistic Wisdom, Inc.

What Are The Core Issues Today?

When you read this, you'll probably have a moment where you say "Well, duh!", but what I will cover is needed to be said in this ridiculous no carb, fad diet atmosphere in which we live today. There are two issues I want to address.

  • Most Americans are nutritionally starving in that we are getting food; just not full of nutritionally rich vitamins and minerals which is causing us to have a vast array of health problems. We also need exercise and with increased technology we are getting less and less of it.

  • We need nutritionally dense carbohydrates to be healthy, but those need to be the right kinds of carbohydrates. Diets like the Atkins diet are a fad; it is unhealthy and it is causing great damage to people's bodies. Recent reports just concluded that you will have difficulty conceiving if you are following the Atkins regime... let me tell you now that it is the least of possible problems that we will continue to see by those who have decided to follow this dangerous fad and the American Dietetic Association (ADA) agrees.

Why We Are Nutritionally Starving

For Anyone Suffering From Malnutrition Thin Or Overweight

Often our society sees overweight people as more than covered when it comes to nutrition. In actuality it does not matter if you are thin or overweight you can be just as starving for nutrition. If you do not eat nutritious food, your brain will tell you that you are hungry, even though you just ate a huge amount of fries with a giant coke and burger a couple hours before. Why? Because there aren't nearly enough vitamins and minerals in what you just ate.

Think about it, what do most overweight or thin nutritionally starved people eat? Bleached flour, sugar and high fat foods like bacon, burgers, etc... Now ask yourself... is there really any reason to think that our brain isn't going to be screaming for nutrients that comes with vegetables fruit and whole grains? Of course you are going to get signals that you are hungry even when your stomach is full, because you have not really fed your body what it needs and that is why we often over eat. There is a huge difference between being full and being truly sated when it comes to the nutrients your body needs to function. No wonder we always feel tired, have acid reflux, irritable bowel syndrome, and other health problems to deal with.

When one tries to eat healthy they will experience withdrawal from the unhealthy food. They will experience what is similar to a drug withdrawal and have stomach pain, headaches and light-headedness as their body withdraws and clears the toxins they have been eating. Many people interpret this as hunger but there is another term for it... toxic hunger which means that it is not true hunger. It is why many people give up their diet of healthy foods and often go back to the unhealthy foods they are addicted to much like an addiction to a drug that is causing damage to one's body yet compels one to keep going back for more. Sugar alone lights up the brain like cocaine does so it is no wonder we are addicted to unhealthy food.

The good news is that if you can think of it as a drug detox and get through a couple weeks of withdrawal symptoms while eating healthy you will have fully cleared not just the toxins but after 6 weeks you will have reset your palate so that healthy things will actually taste amazing to you. I know, that sounds crazy that you would desire vegetables over junk food, but I personally have experienced the physiological change that happens and it really is true.


The Medical Profession Is Failing Us: My Story

I am not an alcoholic, I am not a drug addict, nor do I smoke... but when life gets stressful a nice blueberry muffin or high fat food used to feel like my best friend. The pleasure I get from food is truly amazing and frankly I was addicted to it. I know that many of you out there can relate to me on this. So let me share with you how I woke up from the delusions that many companies marketing unhealthy food and beverages as well as some unethical doctors and drug companies want you to have.

A decade ago when I was in my early twenties I was working for a mental health insurance company 40 - 50 hours a week, getting my Masters of Social Work part time, and doing a 20 hour a week internship at a group home for the chronically mentally ill. You could say that I was a bit stressed and it was common for me to stay up until 3am to finish a paper, and then get up 3 hours later to go to work.

I was eating a great deal of dairy and "white carbohydrates" back then. They are the food drugs I so dearly loved like, pizza, doughnuts, cookies and other nutritionally void, yet tasty foods. Call it comfort food, call it crap... it tastes good!

Now, before I continue let me stress... I am not talking about the good carbohydrates like brown rice, beans, etc. I am talking about taking rich wheat or grains and killing it with chemicals and processing until you suck anything that was nutritional out of it to make white flour... nutritionally void and basically bad carbs. So, I was pretty much living off these tasty food drugs of the 21st century when suddenly during the few hours of sleep I was trying to get, I was experiencing acid that felt like it was going to burn a hole in my esophagus.

I went to my doctor and explained my symptoms. She of course (as unfortunately many western doctors tend to do these days) wanted to treat me with medication... not placing any importance on what could be causing it... rather just putting a 'Band-Aid' on it. I began taking Prevacid (which at the time was a prescription). It worked for a while, but I found myself still hurting at times... as the acid was really intense. So my doctor told me that it must be Acid Reflux Disease. However, there could be something more serious going on, so... I went to get an Upper GI. This is where you have the lovely experience of swallowing liquid barium (which tastes like mint flavored liquid cement) while they x-ray it going down the the esophagus and stomach to see if there are any irregularities.

A week later the doctor called to tell me that there does not seem to be anything wrong, so the official diagnosis is excess acid and keep taking the medication with no suggestions on what is causing it or how to prevent it. I kept popping Prevacid and other antacids while continuing to eat all the lovely processed comfort food I had grown used to eating and my doctor said nothing about. I also began to gain weight. I was terribly unhappy, so I decided to change my diet.

I took an Asian cooking class and learned about nutrition through an incredible teacher there. What I learned changed my life. I say 'learned' when really what I mean was that I was reminded, because deep down we all know this... we need to eat vegetables, fruit, healthy carbs like brown rice, beans, and a very low amount of meat if any at all. We should not consume dairy, soda, sugar substitutes, nor refined flour and sugar and we should exercise and drink water. I know... when I say it out loud, it seems so basic, but why have we forgotten these things? I mean isn't it common sense?

Okay, so it is not easy, but it is the truth. The basic diet (and when I say diet I mean nutritional lifestyle... not some fad, short term diet) I am suggesting is not going to sell many books and it is not going to make any one rich. The bottom line is that we simply need to get back to basics. I am not talking about the 1950's basics of a huge glass of milk and giant steak basics, I am talking about what humans have been meant to consume since day one based on scientific research... vegetables, grains, water and for your carnivores out there a little meat. We are not meant to be eating processed, refined while flour and sugar all the time, or large amounts of high fat bacon, beef and pork and yet most of us do.


We Are Nutritionally Starving Ourselves To Death

Our brain is screaming to please give it some nutrients and our answer to that is to go out and have pork rinds and soda on our low carbohydrate diet? What the hell? Have we lost our minds? Apparently the pharmaceutical companies and food and beverage corporations marketing such crap hope so, and they love every dollar of it.


What Not To Eat
Why should we not eat dairy?

I wrote an article on why you should avoid dairy article about the details, but in short one should avoid it because it produces a huge amount of acid in our system which in turn may contribute to cancer, In addition, it actually requires more calcium to digest then it provides thus, depleting us of calcium from our bones and it creates a great deal of phlegm in our body causing diarrhea, gas, congestion, and many other lovely side effects. For another great article by a doctor to his patients whom has done extensive research on this topic- Why Milk is Bad for You.

Why is dairy constantly being plugged for its health benefits? Because there are a lot of dollars in the dairy industry as there are in the meat industry. These are powerful lobbying groups know that if they keep repeating lies to us over and over and over again... we will become so familiar with the lie that it will feel true. It's called brainwashing, or in this day and age clever marketing or politics.


Why Should We Avoid Too Much Protein?

I wrote an article on why you should avoid meat about the details, but in short because it creates huge amounts of acid in our system, and don't get me started on what too much meat does to your bowels. You probably don't want to know! I know there were moments after seeing graphic pictures that I was wishing I could simply not have looked, but the bottom line was that I did look, and I began to see things so much more clearly. I also learned that major studies have shown that the bottom line is that vegans outlive vegetarians, vegetarians outlive pescatarians and pescatarians outlive meat eaters. A great book to read the scientific research on this is from Joel Fuhrman, MD who has written several great books one of which is called Super Immunity and another is Eat to Live.

What is wrong with diets that promote high amounts of proteins through meat? The Atkins Diet, and others like it, triggers short-term weight loss through a process called ketosis. Ketosis occurs whenever the body lacks a sufficient supply of carbohydrates, a prime source of energy. During ketosis, carbohydrate-depleted metabolisms turn to other sources, including ketones from stored fat or protein, to satisfy daily energy needs. The weight loss from this is temporary, it is dangerous and the long term effects may be worse than being overweight!


What Happened?

One week after changing my diet to eating vegetables, fruit, beans, rice, low amounts of meat as well as beginning to exercise and drink more water, I not only dropped weight, but for the first time in two years, I did not need antacid medication. My teacher who was an Asian influenced nutritionist actually showed me one day what happens in your stomach when you add dairy and sugar by doing a little experiment for me in two glasses. In each glass, he had the properties for stomach acid and other ingredients so that it was just like the conditions inside a stomach and then added dairy in one and sugar in another. They both began to bubble and foam until they not only filled the glasses but ran over the sides. I remember my mouth dropping and saying "no wonder!" Of course I felt bloated all the time, and could barely sleep from all the stomach acid bubbling up toward my throat.

Common sense would tell a doctor to recommend to a patient that they change their diet before running expensive medical tests and throwing prescription antacids at them... but that is not the world we generally live in is it? Common sense would suggest to people to look past the marketing hype and eat nutritional food to feed their body, not just fill their stomach. Yet, Taco Bell's new commercial featuring people running around saying they're full from their value menu is quite the poster child for what we value... low cost, low quality, quick food that makes us feel full but that keeps us addicted to it and starving for nutrients.

Aren't we then saying... "Screw nutrition and make me feel full so that my brain can tell me in an hour that I am still hungry because I did not get nearly enough nutrients so that I can eat some more crap and feel full again?" No wonder we are so hungry and need such large portions! We are starving our bodies to death and I was certainly one of those people for many years.

You think if we started a new tasty cardboard diet that we could still feel full? You bet! You put enough cardboard with artificial, toxic sweeteners and flavors in there and we'd have the next new fad diet! And, guess what? You feel full while losing weight because the card board is low in calories. It's brilliant!

Okay, I know I sound highly sarcastic in this article, but to be honest I am pissed off. I am angry that there are so many companies out there treating us like we are complete morons and selling us things that further our food addictions, filling us with toxins while they make millions off of us. It's hard not to be angry about that! I believe we are worth more than that as the consumer and I really wish that companies would show that they not only value our wallets but our minds and health too.

Dr. DM Hagstead, Professor of Nutrition & Public Health for Harvard University had this to say regarding the responsibility of nutrition and health experts-

"The diet of the American people has become increasingly rich in meat and other sources of saturated fats (dairy) and sugar. Ischemic heart disease, cancer, diabetes and hypertension are the diseases that result from this and these diseases can kill us. They are an epidemic in our populations. We have an obligation to inform the public of the current state of knowledge and to assist the public in making the correct food choices. To do less is to avoid our responsibility."


Where Does The Accountability Ultimately Lie?

I am not saying that we are not accountable for our behavior. If we chose to go to McDonalds and stuff our face with crap than there is no way you will convince me that we are not responsible for that. We are responsible for our own behavior and no matter how many commercials McDonalds or any other company that helps to contribute to this madness, we have the free will not to consume it.

That leads me to my next point. If we as the consumer showed companies like Wendy's and Burger King that we were not interested in their nutritionally void food, and yes even their salads with empty iceberg lettuce loaded with stuff that is not really that good for you but seems like it could be because it is a salad (high fat dressings, high fat cheese, high fat beef, nutritionally void carbs in the croutons saturated in fat and high fat bacon bits, etc.) then maybe we would have health food to go on every corner.

Health oriented supermarkets like Wholefoods, Vitamin Cottage, Wild Oats and Trader Joe's that cater to the consumer interested in quality food and are an example of what we need more of when it comes to healthy food. If we as the consumer made stores like this as big as McDonalds as companies like McDonalds would have to change their tune. So isn't the power still in our hands?

We can bad mouth companies all we want, but the truth is that we have co-created them and that every time we buy food we are voting about what will stay and what will not with our wallets. If we did not provide the demand, they would not provide the junk food to us. If there weren't so many people choosing the low carb fad, companies would not be busting at the seams to provide more and more low-carb products. The bottom line is that they are selling... and we as the consumer are making this happen so it really comes down to us.

We have to accept responsibility for what we are choosing, and when we eat nutritionally empty food understand that the consequences for that behavior will not only affect our health, but the message to the companies is to keep selling us crap. It is only when we see ourselves as worth having quality products that we get them. Yes, we often have to pay more... but aren't our bodies worth the extra money. I mean most people have no problem paying for the extras on their house or car... but will skimp on their body. Yet if you don't take care of your body you won't get to enjoy the car or house!


Want To Lose Weight?

Calories Vs. Carbs

A calorie is a calorie, is a calorie. Don't make the mistake of zooming right past the calories only to check if it is low carb. You are missing the point of how weight is lost if you do this. It is a very simple equation. Burn more calories than you consume. A fat calorie is the same as a carb calorie is the same as a protein calorie... it is much like the old trick question of what is heavier... a pound of feathers or a pound of gold? Well, if they are both a pound then they weigh the same.

Where it gets confusing is how the body uses those calories and if you want a great book based on scientific research not fads, then make sure to read Dr. Joel Fuhrman's book called Eat for Health as it nothing short of brilliant full of common sense as well as scientific research to back it. The book has great recipes in it as well as a step-by-step guide for those who want their hand held during the transition and through is website he offers great articles, support and more. What I love about his work is that it is not a fad, it is the truth and requires you to make life changes that will allow you to live an energized life for a long time. What really is impressive is how it reverses diseases including common ones like diabetes and high blood pressure (and even sexual issues like female sexual dysfunction and erectile dysfunction).

Don't Starve Yourself

There are two ways that we typically starve ourselves and sabotage our diets. One is that we do not consume enough calories. This is important because if you eat too little for your body size, then your metabolism will slow down because it will think that you are starving and will want to go into survival mode to conserve all the body fat you have and that kinda defeats the point.

The other way we make a diet harder is eating food that is low in nutritional value. Make sure you are getting your vitamins and minerals through fresh vegetables, fruit, whole grains and small amounts of meat if you choose to eat it. Drink water and herbal teas such as green tea, and try not to burn out your nervous system on caffeine.

Avoid Late Night Eating

The word Breakfast means what is says... you "break your fast." The body needs to detoxify at night (that is why we have bad morning breath and the skins is oily and sometimes heavily scented in the morning). Our bodies need time to detox. If you work nightshifts than simply try not to eat heavily before going to bed to allow your body time to cleanse. If you eat too close to your sleeping time the body is not as able to detox and you end up putting more calories into retained fat as the body is not burning the calories you have just ingested as easily.


I know, many of you hate it; I personally have never been much of an athlete and exercise has always been a battle for me. The thing is, that as much as I enjoy not doing it... it really does add to my energy, weight maintenance and overall wellbeing and when you sit in front of a computer as much as I do for my work... it is essential for your health and it really does make you feel physically and psychologically better. One of the things you may want to do is not look for the perfect work out but look for the right physical activity for you. Simply doing things like dancing, cleaning, walking and even gardening are all ways to get active and it can be fun when you are doing something you enjoy.

Eat Foods Low In Acid

Your pH (potential of Hydrogen) levels are reflective of your health. Your body needs the opposite of acidic foods to keep your body running smoothly. These are called alkaline foods and are minerals that help us to keep our body balanced. They are usually found in fruits and vegetables.

Hi acid in the body creates disease such as cancer. If you have ever visited a cancer wing in a hospital you will know the strong ammonia smell that comes with that. It is also often found in babies spit up or urine as cow's milk is high in acid and unfortunately is not healthy for us to be consuming let alone in mass quantities. Acid in our bodies is also created through emotional stress in our bodies and is why perspiration from stress often smells worse than basic exercise.

High acid foods have to be processed through the kidneys and the kidneys in turn generate ammonia which has a pH of about 9.25.

When your body has been inundated by high acid foods and high stress that generates acid for long periods of time your organs have to work overtime to try to keep the body balances. This is fine to have happen once in a while, but the organs in your body are not meant to stay on high functioning all the time. Eventually after months or even years the organs become exhausted and eventually disease will become an issue.

This is not to say that foods that are acidic are BAD for you. They are not inherently bad for you, rather they should be eaten in moderation making sure to eat high alkaline foods that will help process them. A list of examples is shown below. You may be surprised to know that some citrus is actually high in alkaline... I know I was.


Alkaline Foods
To Help Neutralize Acid
Acid Foods
Consumed In Moderation Or Not At All
Almonds (Raw) Bacon
Apples Beef
Apricots Blueberries
Avocados Bran
Bananas Bread (White)
Dried Beans Butter
Beet Greens Carob
Beets Cheese
Blackberries Chicken
Broccoli Cod
Brussel Sprouts Corn
Cabbage Soda Crackers
Carrots Cranberries
Cauliflower Currants
Celery Eggs
Chard Flour
Cherries Haddock
Cucumbers Honey
Dates Lamb
Fig Lentils
Grapefruit Lobster
Grapes Milk
Green Beans Noodles
Green Peas Oatmeal
Lemons Oysters
Lima Beans Peanut Butter
Limes Peas (Dried)
Millet (Grain) Plums
Molasses Pork
Mushrooms Prunes
Onions Rice
Oranges Salmon
Parsnips Sardines
Peaches Sausage
Pears Scallops
Pineapple Shrimp
Potatoes Squash
Sweet Potatoes Sunflower Seeds
Radishes Turkey
Raisins Walnuts
Raspberries Wheat Germs
Rutabagas Yogurt
Sauerkraut Sugar
Soy Beans Chocolate
Spinach Corn Syrup
Strawberries Olive Oil


Healthy Ways To Cook

Pressure Cookers-
A pressure cooker seals the pot and heats food without damaging its nutritional value. It also seals flavor and is fairly quick to cook.

Believe it or not microwaves are a healthy option for cooking and preserve nutrients as long as you use glass or nontoxic ceramic to heat in as plastics can easily leach into your food and may cause harm.

Stir Fry-
Rapidly searing bite-sized pieces of food using a very hot wok locks in flavors, juices and nutrition. Using water instead of oil helps to preserve the oil's nutrients if you add it as a topping after cooking rather than exposing it to the high heat which changes its chemical properties.

Juicing is a great way to quickly extract fresh nutrients from vegetables and fruit. Juice helps to reset the body's appetite control by providing high quality nutrients. It is also a great way to help lose weight as it keeps the metabolism going by giving the body rich nutrients and letting it know it is not starving! Read more in our juicing article.

Blending is even better for you as it keeps all the healthy fiber you need to digest food, so making healthy smoothies is a great way to get in your nutrients. I do a super food smoothie every morning and notice a big difference if I miss it as my body really loves all those nutrients that come from things such as kale, spinach, chard, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, spirulina, hemp seeds, chia seeds, walnuts, etc.

Use Organic Foods -
Keeping your body as free of toxins, pesticides and steroids that are in foods today is always a good idea. Read more in our organic foods article.


A Healthy Diet

I know we all dream of fast food that is actually healthy for you, or for that miracle diet that does not require much effort of discipline, but don't let being tired and overwhelmed let the truth about this issue disappear. Don't fall into the trap of believing the hype because it is convenient. Stay empowered, stay in touch with your common sense.

The truth is that diets don't work, lifestyle changes do. These have to be changes that are made for the long term and ultimately because of healthy eating and exercise you will have more energy to deal with all the spam in your email in-box and the insane amount of work, information and stress we all deal with in this chaotic world.

Being someone who has always been drawn to food as a coping skill when things get rough, I know that it is hard to lose weight, to exercise and to commit to it for the long term. Many days in my past meant that I had rationalized in my head why ordering pizza was the right thing to do for dinner. None of us are perfect, nor should we strive to be. What we should instead strive for is to nurture ourselves through positive choices as much as we can and never give away our empowered decision making by giving up on common sense and our intuition. We are worth more than that. We each have something to contribute to this world and taking care of ourselves is one of the best ways to do that.


Examples of Healthy Food

As you can tell I admire Dr. Furhman's work and one of the easiest ways he has developed to remember what you should be eating daily is the acronym G-BOMBS: Greens, Beans, Onions, Mushrooms, Berries, and Seeds. Below are other examples-

Good Foods
Good Grains (Carbs)
Fresh Garlic Brown Rice
Shiitake Mushrooms Whole Wheat
Ganoderma Mushrooms Barely
Seaweed (Nori) Oats
Soy Rye
Mung Beans Millet
Adzuki Beans Corn
Black Beans Spelt
Daikon Radish
Brussels Sprouts
Things To Avoid
Cauliflower Smoking
Kale Dairy (Except Ghee) Clarified Butter
Red Beets Meats
Parsley Sugars
Asparagus Carbonated Drinks
Ginger Caffeine Drinks
Onions Cooking Oils (Except Ghee) Clarified Butter
Cucumber Spices In Excess
Squash Alcohol
Garnet Yams Chocolate
Potatoes Fatty Foods
Apples Overeating
Oranges Foods Too Hot
Grapefruit Foods Too Cold
Lemons Food Additives
Green Tea Refined Foods
All Green Leafy Vegetables  

In Closing

The suggestions above are just that... suggestions. It is important for you to discern what is the right diet for you is and to be educated about what you are choosing to do. Also, please don't think that just because I wrote an article on healthy food means that I always make the right choices and live a perfectly nutritional life. While I am proud to say that for years I have eaten nothing but very healthy food still sometimes struggle with binge eating when I am under a great deal of stress. Just because someone eats healthy food does not mean you cannot eat too much of it and I have to say my weakness for eating too much is often walnuts and pumpkin seeds which are of course great for you in moderation. I consider food issues to be one of the biggest struggles in my life. In order to deal with this, I have spent time researching healthy eating because I am challenged by it so the point of my article is to simply pass on information that I have found helpful to me.

If you struggle with food issues as well, you are certainly not alone and I truly empathize. From feeling weak and worthless because I have gained weight to becoming angry and pushing myself too hard I know the extremes of struggling with eating healthy and exercise. Being overweight or struggling with it has been a sign of weakness in our society, and often overweight people are thought to be lazy. As someone who has often struggled with weight issues, I can assure you that stereotype is not true. Most people would not call a smoker lazy for choosing that as their coping skill, and food is no different.

The important thing is not about being perfect, but understanding that this comes down to simply nurturing ourselves through tenacity and love for ourselves (self-esteem). Let's face it... discipline in doing anything good for us can be challenging. We all need to work at taking care of ourselves whether that means we need to focus on physical, emotional, mental or spiritual needs. Nurturing ourselves is one of the biggest tasks we can take on in life. Whether we nurture our bodies or nurture our integrity or emotional needs there are many ways we can take care of ourselves. After all, that is how we ultimately fulfill our purpose here... take care of ourselves so that we may offer the world the best of who we are!


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