Change starts here Î

People have a right to be confused.

Of all creation, humanity has the least certainty as to its intended diet. When low-fat became ingrained as optimal, grains and carbs ruled the food pyramid. Now it’s understood that sugars of all types initiate inflammatory cascades, so gluten-free and paleo are encouraged. In fact, dairy fats increase palmitoleate and are somewhat protective against Type 2 diabetes (T2D), whereas milk increases sugar. The food pyramid is turned on its head: linked Gluten-free Ebola Southpark clip .

© Southpark
© Comedy Central

Dr Michael Mosley guested on SBS ‘Insight‘ in an informed, and amusing panel discussion on avoiding T2D. What’s most interesting in terms of Health Literacy are the audience contributions in the transcript.

“Chapattis is not so bad but you know, for us no meal is complete without rice. You have to have a bed of rice and you put whatever.”

“I mean I never kind of expected it was, you know, when I was going into hospital that I was could going to come out of it missing parts really. [ your vision is affected as well?] Well I know that it’s getting worse, it’s deteriorating….Just a lack of motivation I suppose, even though I know what the effects can be. I mean my father was diabetic as well too, he had a heart attack, died of a stroke a few years ago when he was only 71.”

[So are you happier to be on medication than you would be to go off medication and do the hard work you have to do to get there?] “Yep.”

There are cultural legacies, there’s denial, and there’s a trust that science can fix the problem. Attitudes to glucose that verge on addicted are driving behaviours that harm lives. It shouldn’t surprise that one of the first exercises in Kabat-Zinn’s MBSR course is to mindfully eat a single raisin. Food consumption is typically undertaken on autopilot, whether distracted by TV, or company present, or because we’re driven by some rapacious desire beyond our conscious ken. Instead here sensations are mindfully noted, and emotions observed. Just how do I feel about its lack of freshness?

A case from the program within Aetna Insurance, ‘Metabolic Health in Small Bytes‘ explains the association between stress and eating. Another participant story is contributed by nurse Tandon Bunch, whose weight had blown out by a third as a result of chronic pain, but used their eMindful course to gauge the need for a feed by her hunger.

refuel, but don't be a fool
refuel, but don’t be a fool

Willpower, and the self-efficacy encouraged by the psychologists are often battling production faults in our species. Fatty, adipose tissue releases more leptin, the appetite-satiating hormone. Usually. Aside from genetic mutancies, leptin resistance is also seen alongside insulin resistance (T2D) as a result of unlimited access to energy dense foods. Heart Foundation Approved  on snacks with 71% sugar helped cause this. Having been misled by earlier ‘bad science’*, and damage done thus to regulatory systems, additional discipline is called for.

Advertising entices: ‘You deserve a break today’ M ™

“Make it a double”. An extra shot is a reward for all you’ve done….. unless Quality counts over Quantity? Breathworks Mindfulness for Health sample chapter linked as a download points to the Coffee Meditation in week 1 of the course. Create an awareness of the ingredients’ impact on your senses, extract individual flavour notes, and examine the feelings that arise. Look within, rather than be led astray.

When one is a stranger to oneself, then one is estranged from others too. Anne Wilson Schaef writes in ‘Meditations For Women Who Do Too Much’: “Whenever we stop long enough, we are aware of an inner feeling of emptiness. This feeling is so terrifying that we immediately get busy and try to block it out. We head for the refrigerator and attempt to bury it with food. We try to drown it with drink. We get very active with new projects or activities. We watch television. If we just knew what we need to do to make this feeling go away, we would do it.”  Connect to yourself, and understand the emptiness. It’s that simple, and yet so complex. Changes start not with diet, but with your mind.


* I’ve written a more brutally honest description of industry’s influence at

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