Friday, July 13, 2012

Taking Responsibility for My Diet

I weigh more than I should. OK so that is not a huge revelation for any of you who know me. I enjoy eating and I eat when I am stressed (and I am stressed a lot). Over the years I have packed on a few extra pounds. I am not sure exactly how I will solve this problem, but one thing I do know is my weight is my problem and no one else’s.
Many “experts” would have the public believe that being overweight is a product of modern agriculture. They would have us believe that we are obese because of the fast food choices that line the streets. Governments are proposing taxes on fast food and soda pop, because their constituents need help protecting ourselves from the evil food industry (and not that they want more of your money).
If you listen to the morning talk shows, one would think that we are mindless robots, incapable of making up our own minds. We are not able to resist the siren’s call of fast food, soda and processed snack foods. The many experts would have us believe that obesity is the result of greedy farmers and ranchers producing unhealthy food for evil food processors.
That is what the “experts” would have you believe. Now, I will not try to speak for everyone else, but my problem is my own and not the fault of anyone else. I know I need to take the responsibility for my own actions. My overeating is not due to advertising or the production of food by my fellow farmers and ranchers but my own lack of will-power and poor habits.
Whatever happened to taking responsibility for our own actions? It is easier on our own consciences if we make our problems the result of something someone else has done. The reality is that our problems are due to the decisions we make and the lifestyles we choose to live. It is really no harder to eat healthy than it is to choose a meal of fried foods. We just choose the fries because we think it is easier and faster.
All of the foods we grow are healthy in their most basic forms and in moderation. That is the key word, moderation. I admit it; I am just as guilty as the next person of choosing a restaurant because of the portion size, or super sizing my meal at a fast food restaurant. Again this is a choice I made, and is not the restaurants fault. It is certainly not something that should be taxed.
The grains I grow on my farm are healthy. They provide essential nutrients when eaten in the right amounts. However, when super-sized and over-sized they are not healthy, but ultimately we are the ones who chose to eat the whole thing. I know leaving food on the plate is tough to do when as children we were instructed to clean our plates, but I am here to tell you that it is OK to leave some behind. Better yet, get a doggy bag and take some home for the next meal.
The beef and lamb I raise are great, wholesome foods, in moderation. They provide iron, protein and many other essential nutrients. The meat is wholesome and healthy, it is the portion sizes we chose and the way we prepare the meat is unhealthy. The livestock nutrition classes I took in college (I know they are animals, but the principles are the same) taught me that all nutrients are needed in balance and in the right amounts.
We also often hear that to eat healthy we must choose organic, natural, gluten-free, vegetarian or any of a number of other alternative food production methods. That is simply not true. Modern agriculture produces safe wholesome foods. The foods on your grocery store shelves are safe, it is the method they are prepared in that makes them more or less healthy. All food in its simplest form is healthy; it is how we prepare it that makes it more or less healthy.
The message we need to hear as Americans, is that we are blessed with the safest, healthiest food supply in the world. Our food, in its most basic form, is healthy. We need to focus on making better and healthier choices when it comes to what we eat. Portion size is critical; we need to understand how much our bodies need. Most importantly we need to take responsibility for what we eat and stop blaming the hard working farmers and ranchers, who do produce a safe, healthy food supply.
I am going to take responsibility for what I put in my body. More importantly, I am going to give my thanks for living in a nation where we have choices and we can make the choice to eat a healthy, balanced diet of our own choosing. I know that my weight problem is not because of the food I produce, it is because the choices I make. The sooner we all take responsibility for our own actions, the sooner we make better, healthier choices.

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