Is Food Killing Us? - "It's Only Food" Blog at - 214743

"It's Only Food"

Is Food Killing Us? 
Jan. 1, 2011 4:35 pm 
Updated: Jan. 4, 2011 12:44 pm
I like hamburgers, I also like cheese, chips, pork, heavy cream and beer; I also weigh close to 270 pounds. I am also hypertensive, diabetic and have extremely high lipids. 

Fruits, vegetables, yogurt and salads were something other people ate and we called them sissies and wimps as they jogged past us with their glowing skin and perfectly shaped abs.

For years I have been making excuses and rationalizing when I would lose weight.  The last 4 years I had some personal dilemmas in my life.  My father had open-heart surgery, my wife, mother and  dear friend passed away, so I saw the medical field from the inside out, and know that behavior and positive changes in our diet play a large part in preventing  bad health in our daily lives.  Nutrition is very important in keeping the body in good shape.

I used to rail and take offense against those who demonized the food industry for being the bane of our society's overweight problem.  Isn’t it everyone’s choice to poison themselves?

Think about it:

How about the pizza places that give you three times the cheese?  Or the other fast food places that supersize everything?  Or the food shows where the host eats until he is sick? Or the “buy a combo meal and get a free angioplasty”?  Portions have gotten bigger over the years, and it is not because the increase in price/value.  It’s to get us to be repeat customers.

I don’t want to put anyone out of business; I just want to make consumers smarter.

And we are now seeing healthier choices on fast food menus and a boom in the organic food industry-not because we have to because the government says so, but because consumers are better informed and making better choices.

After doing some research to open my somewhat closed mind, I was dismayed to learn that we are being poisoned by the foods we eat.  Not just fast food, but by our choices in the store.  Much like the tobacco industry manipulates the amount of nicotine in a cigarette to keep us addicted; I found that some industries are putting things in our food to keep us eating it.

Most of the food that is prepared for us-whether through the drive through lane or in the market's freezer section-is disturbing.  We are eating way too much salt, fat; hydrogenate oil, carbs and sugar.  All of these put an undue amount of stress on the heart by clogging the arteries and raising our blood pressure.  Not to mention decreasing our bodies ability to fend off colds, viruses and even cancer.  Because once it enters the bloodstream, it latches on to its organ of choice and starts destroying it.

What we are not eating enough of are plant based foods such as fruits and vegetables that give us our vitamins and minerals; or the right kinds of fats, such as nuts and seeds.

I am not advocating vegetarianism either.  But there are better ways to get our protein than by eating a triple cheeseburger.

And we are definitely not getting the exercise we need in our convenience laden lifestyle.

Our children already suffer, instead of giving little Billy a Ritalin because you cannot control him in the 3rd grade, give him 20 minutes/four times a day at recess, and you won’t have to give him a Lipitor in the 5th grade because he is fat and out of shape. And believe you me; the exercise will settle him down.  There is nothing better for a nine year old than running around like an idiot for a while to get them to pay attention.

I have been a chef for 30 years and do not want to put all the blame on the food.  I want to share how to eat, prepare and shop for the good food that is out there.

No dry rice cakes with pureed tofu for us.  I will give you recipes for great meals that are healthy, colorful and tasty. I will also show you how to shop for the right foods, and how to read the labels so you can make wise decisions about you and your family’s health.

Remember that exercise and plenty of water is also important in losing the desired amount of weight, not just diet alone.  I will be on my stationary bike quite a bit, trying to figure out my next blog.

Remember I am not trying to lecture anyone, I just want to teach and help anyone who is interested in changing their health, and I am a walking testament to what I am railing about.

I plan to lose weight this year, and I hope you do too. 
Let's work through it together and make 2011 a healthy year.

This blog will also be posted at:

Jan. 2, 2011 9:07 am
Great Blog Chef John...alot of people need to lose weight...However the issues are all the same..( I will start tomorrow or I will just have this 1/2 of this cheesecake and start on Monday with dieting) We have to want it and not stray easier said then done when (meal planning & drinking more water & walking just doesn't fit into your daily plan just because it's too much give up tv time..even if you just walk around the block 1 time today and 2X tomorrow you just have to..& yes every muscle will cry and you will want to eat something when you get back That is when you should have fruits ready....:O) Wishing you luck in 2011 but remember dream small first to keep everyone on track..
Jan. 2, 2011 9:14 am
I have always had a rule and applied to myself and my kids. I cook well rounded healthy fare most of the time. The rule is, you eat nothing until you've had that, then you can eat whatever you like. So, cakes and cookies and cream thickened goodies abound in my house and we all have nibbles, but no one makes a routine meal of it and we are active and fit. I like to think that because we buy very little pre-made food, let alone fast food, we have another reason why we stay fit and healthy. Good on ya John for recognizing the problem and taking action.
Jan. 2, 2011 3:17 pm
Chef John, you are a Wealth of helpful, if not disturbing info. Little kids on heart meds? CRAZY!Go to any mall in America and just watch the peeps. It is SAD. I am not a skinny minny, I have curves. My hubby is all for my junk in my trunk. But I do love to walk and I have been a slacking for a while. I have every excuse, It's raining (well, I can't walk in the rain), I have to work, my MIL needs me, etc. I am a member of Curves. I will go more and get my junk in better shape. We rarely get fast food. I do most of the cooking and try and stay away from pkgd foods. Wonderful blog and thank You. I will look forward to taking the healthier journey with you.
Jan. 2, 2011 3:49 pm
I'm so sorry you had to suffer so much loss and pain to arrive at this point. I wasn't raised eating fast food - we ate out for special occasions only, then I married and had 5 kids so I had to get the most possible bang for my buck so I learned to plan and cook filling, but nutritious meals. I still don't buy prepared foods, but I have found that a lot of the supposedly healthy choices really aren't. I will be very interested to see your suggestions.
Jan. 2, 2011 5:16 pm
Thanks everyone, looking forward to sharing our journey together
Jan. 3, 2011 3:15 am
Good blog, and I believe our kids do need more exercise (so do our adults!). Healthy eating is not all that difficult once you put your mind to it. My kids did not grow up on fast food, that was for "special occasions" only, mainly because a)we live rural and if I was driving somewhere to eat, I wanted it to be good!; and b)couldn't afford it.
Jan. 3, 2011 3:32 am
I know! If we ever went out to eat, it was special, and it was always the same restaurant. we dressed up and made it an event. Nowadays it is just eating out.
Jan. 4, 2011 8:36 am
Bring it on.... I am ready to eat healthier food and losing a few pounds will be a bonus. I am already careful with salt in that I don't use it while cooking unless I have to (who knew you can't just omit the salt in a bread recipe...) and I don't even own a salt shaker. I always buy low sodium when I have to use prepared food items.
Jan. 4, 2011 10:11 am
I think my next post willl be about food, not some boring stats on fat and choleterol. Maybe a menu and some recipes, and then we can all share and discuss what we ate.
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John Politte

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About Me
I have been a professional restaurant person for 30+ years. I started out as a dishwasher and worked my way up the ladder. No schooling except for hands on experience in locations around the USA. I am now starting my own business as a consultant and food writer.
My favorite things to cook
Everything-except baking and desserts
My favorite family cooking traditions
Gravy, my side of the family is mostly French , so we love the sauces and gravies.
My cooking triumphs
Starting my own public access cooking show-"It's Only Food". Did 33 shows in 3 years as the chef and producer. It certainly opened up a lot of doors and paved the way for changing the way I look at food.
My cooking tragedies
Missing my family growing up and working 80 hour weeks, but I can say that it paid off. No regrets.
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