In our efforts to promote sustainability within the community of Tucson and the surrounding area by practicing water conservation, water harvesting, water purity and recycling, as well as sustainable agriculture, desert harvesting, kitchen gardens, regional farming, etc., we cannot overlook our inner sustainability/ecology as well.
In spite of the fact there is no shortage of nutritional information almost everywhere we turn, it does not seem to be getting translated into our everyday lives as reflected in the obesity, diabetes and heart disease epidemics, cancer, metabolic syndrome, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and the diversification of infectious diseases. Where is the missing link? Is it in our families, educational institutions, the media, health care settings or government agencies? Some even say our health care crisis is eclipsing our economic crisis.
Do we find examples of sustainable eating at the supermarkets, school lunchrooms, hospitals, and their vending machine options? (Ex: Red Bull in local hospital vending machine) Where do we acquire this education? How are we to cultivate healthy eating practices?
In his presentation "What in the Cell is Going On?" Dr. Gary Tunsky refers to health conditions not as disease but as cellular dysfunction. Health becomes a question of meeting the daily requirements of our cells. Artificial foods like trans fats (artificially hydrogenated oils) are known to disrupt this cellular function.
What we put in our mouths/bodies is our first line of defense. This is our chance to take charge of our health. The innate intelligence of our cells, if nurtured, can take care of the rest if only we give it the proper nutrition and keep free of toxins. This however is no small task when we are surrounded by toxic pollutants everywhere we turn in our food, air, water, and some would say our thoughts. What can we do to minimize our risks?
It is important we each take responsibility to educate ourselves so that we can make healthful daily choices. We hope the Tucson City Council and Pima County Board of Supervisors would encourage us in this matter. There are a few simple guidelines included in our "City Diet" which, if followed, can have a significant impact on our individual and collective health.
The emphasis of this diet is very simple; that is simply to eliminate artificial foods in favor of natural foods. This also means replacing highly refined foods with whole foods and whenever possible, organic, non-genetically engineered and non-irradiated foods. Generally, the fewer ingredients and more readable the food labels the better.
We have provided a simple list of artificial foods to avoid along with a list of more healthful replacement guidelines. The thought or considerations behind these guidelines are amply documented with research provided on this website. Hard copies of this work will also be available at local libraries.
We are not concerning ourselves with other types of diets such as raw foods versus cooked, or vegetarian versus meat eating. Everyone's constitution is different and has varying requirements. In all things health related, we must develop our own self-awareness of what works best for us from our experience. This is not a medically prescribed diet. Consult your medical practitioners regarding your individual health needs.
It is our hope to create a conversation within Tucson and Pima County that will educate and challenge our population to seek healthful nutrition while encouraging our vendors to provide more healthful options. And, by eliminating these artificial and highly refined foods while replacing them with whole foods, the scourge of heart disease, diabetes, obesity, ADHD, toxic overload and related degenerative and inflammatory disorders sometimes referred to as metabolic syndrome (see Mayo Clinic definition of this syndrome) will subside.
It has been postulated that earlier generations may have greater life expectancy than their children and grandchildren who have been raised in an environment more riddled with toxins than the "Better Living through Chemistry" era. We now, especially since 1996, have been contending with genetically engineered foods that have the ability to further disrupt our DNA.
We envision a reduction of these foods that are known to adversely affect our health (with a word of caution concerning those which are controversial like GMO's or genetically modified foods), and an increase in those foods that are known, worldwide and historically proven to sustain health; our nourishing traditional foods. We can explore together as a community these more healthful options.