Could Obesity Start in the Ground?

Obesity comes from overeating. We all know that, right? But why do we overeat? Do we overeat because we're bored? Do we overeat because we can't control ourselves? Do we overeat to overcome depression? Do we overeat because there's too much sugar in our foods? Or too much fat?

Those are all reasons that have been given by "experts" for why we overeat. But what if it were none of those? What if it was all tied up in the foods we choose to eat or not eat?

That would make sense wouldn't it? After all, only domesticated animals that we humans feed, will overeat. Think about the fat dog or the fat cat. But wild animals don't overeat. They seem to regulate their consumption of foods to match their caloric needs. But wild animals aren't known for self control. And they don't keep logs of what they eat. So, how do they do it?

Well, let me suggest a hypothesis. What if we overeat because we're not getting enough food? And by food, I mean the right nutrition that our bodies need. I don't mean manufactured foods that are nothing but delivery systems for getting fat and sugar into our bodies. I don't mean animal foods that contain carcinogenic animal proteins and fats. I mean fruits, vegetables, legumes, grains and nuts that contain all the nutrients our bodies require (except maybe B-12 and vitamin D), in the right mix and linked with fiber that ensures that our bodies get those nutrients delivered and absorbed in a way that the body can use.

I believe that if our foods don't contain the nutrients we need, then we will be constantly hungry or never satisfied. We'll keep eating and seeking out food because our bodies will be craving some mineral or some phytonutrient that our food isn't delivering. And that's why we overeat.

Don't believe it. Well, there's good evidence for what I just said. Look at the cow. Cows are not left in their pastures to fatten up. That's because if they are, they never will fatten up. They will continue to roam and find grass that meets their nutritional needs. But when you remove the cow from the pasture and instead feed the cow grain or corn, something new starts to happen. The cow eats and eats and eats. Why? Maybe you believe that cows just naturally like corn or grain. But then again, have you ever seen a cow rampaging through a corn field or wheat field gobbling up all she can? I haven't. And I've visited my uncle on his small, family-run farm many times when the cows have escaped their pastures. Not once did they ever head for the corn field.

The reason they overeat on the grain or the corn is because they're constantly hungry. That is, the grain or the corn is not satisfying them. So, they keep eating it, and they get fat. They're trying to get that nutrition that is now missing from their diets. Well, it's the same thing in humans. If we aren't getting that nutrition we need, then we will keep eating. Those pangs that tell us we're hungry are really pangs telling us that something is missing from our food.

So how do we overcome this problem?

The first way to overcome this is to switch to a whole foods, plant-based diet. By doing so, a person will be eating the right foods (as stated above) and decreasing the likelihood of something missing from the diet.

The second thing to do is after seeing success with that way of eating would be to begin a switch to organic foods. That's because, according to Dan Barber in The Third Plate, "When insecticides and fungicides are used, they usurp the plant's natural defenses, which means the plant produces fewer phytonutrients." That has been borne out as well by a major new study to be released this week that finds that organic foods do in fact have more antioxidants and less pesticide residue.

The third step is to then start buying from local, family farms. That's because there are such things as industrial organic farms that while they meet the definition of organic for not using certain chemicals and pesticides, they still don't employ good practices for maintaining a strong, natural soil in which to grow their crops. For example, there's no crop rotation, which introduces other nutrients into the soil and prevents the soil from becoming depleted of existing nutrients.

And if our soil is deficient, then the nutrients that our plant-based foods deliver will not be all that they could be. This was studied extensively by Dr. William Albrecht in the 1930s and written about in a book titled Soil Fertility and Animal Health in 1958.

To sum up, I believe that obesity is so prevalent in our country today because the SAD diet lacks the appropriate nutrients that we need. We keep eating in order to satisfy a need that the SAD diet won't satisfy. We need to be eating a whole foods, plant-based diet, and the success of that is dependent on the type of farming that is done to grow our foods. And that starts with good, healthy soil.