You Are What You Eat

Often people question me about my eating habits. They know I love food, and are curious as to how I stay so healthy when I obviously eat so much. One day I’ll write a more detailed blog all about that. But for now, I offer this phrase- you are what you eat.

My education began several years ago with two separate but significant incidents. First, my nephew was born. From the moment he went on formula, the problems began. He was constantly broken out in a rash of some sort, scratching himself so much that my sister had to put tiny little gloves on his hands so his nails wouldn’t cause him to bleed. Allergy testing wasn’t an option at just a few months old, so tinkering with his formulas was the only way to deduce what was causing the reactions. After switching from milk based formula to soy, some relief came. Although not completely eradicated, his rashes seemed to get better. Typically allergy testing isn’t allowed until a child is 2-years-old, but when Camden turned 1, his doctor gave the go ahead since his were so severe. What came from those tests was a list so long it filled four double-columned Word document pages. A majority of items on the list were ingredients and additives derived from two things -corn and milk.

Around this same time, I went to the doctor for a routine visit and had my very first cholesterol check. The doctor called a couple of days later with the results. My cholesterol was borderline high at 229. I was flabbergasted. How could this be? I work out at least 5 times a week and I eat a healthy diet. My BMI is exactly where it should be. It made no sense.

Both of these events prompted me to learn more. I devoured book after book, spent hours on the internet, and became a label nazi at the grocery store. Turns out the foods I had been eating that I thought were good for me weren’t so healthy after all. Actually, many of them weren’t actually even food- they were manufactured, highly processed impostors. From then on, I began making smarter choices.

I’m not going to get all preachy preachy and tell you what to do (with one exception- avoid high fructose corn syrup like it’s the plague) because that’s not my style. I’m by no means perfect and definitely not an expert on the subject, but 95% of the time, I think I make pretty good choices when it comes to eating. Realizing that most people probably don’t have the time or energy to research like I do, every now and then I’ll use this forum to make light of new information I’ve found, hopefully leading others to make more well informed decisions and improve their own health.

So where am I going with all of this today? It just so happens that currently here in Nashville, we have two different film festivals offering more than 10 films on our nation’s food systems. What a great way to learn more about what we’re putting into our bodies! Settling into a cool theater to watch a two hour flick is much more appealing than reading scientific articles or nutrition books.

Friday night the movie FOOD INC. opens at the Belcourt, kicking off their “Food on Film” week June 26-July 2. The film has been getting rave reviews, so get your tickets now, as it promises to be a sell-out crowd (I’ve already got mine!) Not only will you get an education on the state of our food industry, but beforehand you’ll also get to partake in yummy hor d’oeuvres provided by Whole Foods.

If you can’t make it on Friday night, that’s okay, because there are plenty of other showings coming up. Maybe you could go to a matinee on Saturday, right after you attend the Outdoor Expo in the parking lot. From 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., the Belcourt will be hosting an information fair in conjunction with Whole Foods, Slow Food Nashville, Bongo Java Roasting Co, Nashville Originals, Nashville Farmers’ Market, Delvin Farms, Team Green, and many others. Click here for more info.

The other film festival that’s going on through the month of July is the Good Food Film Festival at Warner Nature Center on Highway 100. Each Tuesday evening a different food documentary will be shown for FREE! Click here for more information.

So gather some friends or your sweetie and take advantage of these festivals by checking out at least one of the films being offered. Learning can be fun you know!

Oh, and just in case you’re wondering- my cholesterol is down to a normal level (thanks to good lifestyle choices, no medications necessary) and my nephew is a healthy 6-year-old whose favorite snack is cantaloupe.