Not too many posts ago, the vegan husband wrote about Humpty Dumpty potato chips. My first reaction to the post was one of fright. Should an article espousing a lifelong love for potato chips be on a health blog?
Is that a rhetorical question?
The truth of the matter is potato chips and their junk food counterparts are all around us, in grocery stores, schools, restaurants and at home. They are nearly impossible to avoid but that doesn’t mean you can’t pass them up.
As I have previously written, potato chips and junk food in general no longer have the same hold on me they once had. Once I started replacing processed food with whole, plant-based choices my tastes changed and I began to crave healthier foods. It doesn’t mean I’ll never eat potato chips again, but I won’t go out of my way to purchase them. I’ll forgo them when ordering a meal at a restaurant and I’ll keep my toesies moving when strolling past a vending machine.
It took guts not only to make those changes but to stick with them. In recent years, polls have reported a range of 3-6 % of Americans who identify themselves as Vegetarian and 0.5-7% as Vegan. Clearly, I am not a part of the norm.
In the beginning, when changes in my eating patterns became noticeable, I had been labeled extreme, a hippie, and difficult (what do you feed a vegan?).
Just recently the term “soft” was hurled at me (I lack protein don’t you know?).
And this name just in from the hubby… a nut job. Ha ha! 🙂
While those labels don’t bother me, initially it took confidence to see this lifestyle through, to be consistent with my choices and unwavering in the face of others projections and judgements.
Recent scientific research seems to reinforce that this gutsy lifestyle may help reap the health benefits of, well…
I encourage you to read, The Good Gut, Taking Control Of Your Weight, Your Mood and Your Long-Term Health, written by Justin and Erica Sonnenburg.
The book jacket best describes its content:
The groundbreaking science behind the surprising source of good health
Stanford University’s Justin and Erica Sonnenburg are pioneers in the most exciting and potentially transformative field in the entire realm of human health and wellness, the study of the relationship between our bodies and the trillions of organisms representing thousands of species to which our bodies play host, the microbes that we collectively call the microbiota. The microbiota interacts with our bodies in a number of powerful ways; the Sonnenburgs argue that it determines in no small part whether we’re sick or healthy, fit or obese, sunny or moody. The microbiota has always been with us, and in fact has coevolved with humans, entwining its functions with ours so deeply, the Sonnenburgs show us, humans are really composite organisms having both microbial and human parts. But now, they argue, because of changes to diet, antibiotic over-use, and over-sterilization, our gut microbiota is facing a “mass extinction event,” which is causing our bodies to go haywire, and may be behind the mysterious spike in some of our most troubling modern afflictions, from food allergies to autism, cancer to depression. It doesn’t have to be this way.
The Good Gut offers a new plan for health that focuses on how to nourish your microbiota, including recipes and a menu plan. In this groundbreaking work, the Sonnenburgs show how we can keep our microbiota off the endangered species list and how we can strengthen the community that inhabits our gut and thereby improve our own health. The answer is unique for each of us, and it changes as you age.
In this important and timely investigation, the Sonnenburgs look at safe alternatives to antibiotics; dietary and lifestyle choices to encourage microbial health; the management of the aging microbiota; and the nourishment of your own individual microbiome.
Caring for our gut microbes may be the most important health choice we can make.
Our body’s gut bacteria seem to be today’s hot health issue and the research presented in this book is worthy of your time and consideration. I believe the science/research is still in its infancy and I am cautious of some of the findings. If nothing else, the information presented in this book reinforces my choice to live a healthy plant-based, whole food lifestyle.
How gutsy are you? Please leave a comment…