In Thursday’s New York Times article “On the Edge of Poverty, at the Center of a Debate on Food Stamps” the author talked about how the food stamp program was being used as an instrument for tough love. Those in Congress who want to cut funding feel most of the people should return to work. The author gave several examples of people who are disabled and dependent upon food stamps.
If they are disabled how can less nutrition make them more able?
“What you eat is what you will become.” If we make people starve or choose calorie dense junk foods over a variety of healthy food we will not help them be healthier. We knew know that good nutrition is important for the body to function. We also know that if people are stressed the body will function poorly.
Our bodies use food to replace and restore the tissues. It is not just a source of energy in the short term but the building blocks for our future body. Our cells are constantly turning over in periods from days to weeks. I recently saw the effect good nutrition can have when my cats became ill.
We have two cats that are 17 years old. Over a period of months they stopped eating solid food and even stopped eating moist food. They lost weight; their previously soft fur became matted and knotted. After a visit to the vet and removal of some bad teeth they started eating again. Now their fur has returned to its normal soft consistency. No longer do we have to cut the gnarls out of their hair.
Similar things happen to our bodies. What we eat affects our cholesterol, blood sugar, and blood pressure in a fairly short time span. We are aware of the effects coffee has on us. Most parents can tell when the kids have gotten too much sugar. With my restless legs I have to avoid chocolate and caffeine in the evenings or my feet won’t settle down.
Emerging research in nutrition shows that what we eat determines what bacteria grow in our guts. These bacteria (and yeasts), help us to digest our food and either produce toxins or prevent them from getting into our bodies. Thus people talk about using diet to affect our mood and even treating depression. Some forms of arthritis can be helped by glycogen supplements or reducing the toxic load in our diets.
How do you function under stress?
I know I don’t function well under stress. My 91-year-old mother became ill on New Year’s Eve and died in May. I am now picking up the pieces from things I did during that period. With the stress declining, I now feel more creative and energized than I did for the first half of this year.
Is the tough love approach creating a vicious cycle, poor nutrition leading to poor health leading to poor functioning and for thinking? If so isn’t it time to come up with a better way?
I would love to hear your thoughts and comments which you can post below. If you know anybody who might like to consider this please share.
As All Way, Seek Joy,
Coach Dr. Dave
Author of the forthcoming book, “Recipes for Lemonade (Thriving through Disability): Dr. Dave’s Personal Recipe “