RULE: Know What You Are Eating

   I used to presume if something was on offer, it was safe to eat. If a store sold it as a food item, I should be able to ingest it.  Unfortunately that is not always the case.  Additives and preservatives, not intended for our gastrointestinal tracts, are in almost everything, from ibuprofen to cereal bars. If you cannot pronounce the ingredient or identify it, don’t eat it.

Unless, of course, you have a real hankering for some sodium benzoate.

Most “sports drinks” and candy, anything with a red, orange, yellow, green, blue, pink or purple hue that is not a fruit or vegetable, has been dyed. Look at the ingredients of these items and you’ll see Red #40 or Yellow #5. Scary. We’re actually ingesting the equivalent of paint; chemicals whose sole purpose is to add color. This stuff is even in mouthwash and toothpaste!

When I was getting pudgy as a kid, I remember our pediatrician told my mother not to let me eat anything from a bag, box or package.  As I think back to what my diet consisted of then, this suggestion would’ve required a total overhaul of my usual regimen: a Pop-tart or Cereal for breakfast (box), Grilled cheese (KRAFT singles Package) white bread (bag) for lunch and macaroni and cheese (box) and a Starcrunch (package and a box) for dinner. A real nutritious line up there, eh?

It was also not uncommon for me to eat several meals a week in the car out of a McDonald’s bag on the way to a gymnastics or soccer practice.  (Don’t get me started on whats actually in chicken nuggets, just avoid them, trust me. hotdogs are worse)

While convenient for a working mother to whip these things up quickly to meet my ingestion needs, my health and nutritional needs were suffering. And what ole hairy-eared Dr Reuben was tactfully trying to tell my mother was, well, I was on track to become a wooly mammoth of a girl, and what I ate mattered. Foods that come in a bag box or package usually are of poor quality and have synthetic ingredients that cause our bodies to gain weight and suffer nutritionally.  We are intended to eat things mother nature has provided for us, not food contrived in a factory, or genetically modified, or from animals injected with hormones.


Actually now is a good time to put the book down and Netflix the movie Food Inc. No seriously, I can wait. This food documentary doesn’t tell you not to eat meat or to become a vegan, it just exposes the food industry’s practices.  And like any industry, understandably, the goal is to make money.  I hadn’t realized most restaurant chains get their meat and produce from one source, and that source has completely revolutionized raising beef and growing corn.  It is a streamlined, efficient process. Unfortunately, as with most things, when you take time and cost-saving shortcuts, quality suffers.  And your health suffers.

When you ingest meats, milk and cheese from animals injected with hormones, your body responds to those hormones, eventually in the form of breast and prostate cancer.

[RANT on American Dairy]

You get what you pay for, and unfortunately we are, as a nation, getting obese, and getting diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart attacks and cancer.

And we are paying for it.





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Madeleine Vanstory attended Duke University and began her post-graduate journey at The Elaine Clark Center working with special needs children. She went on to work as a Clinical Research Scientist running clinical trials for the CDC and developing medical devices for Welsh Allen, Abbot Labs, Roche and Johnson & Jonhson Her work included non-invansive cervical cancer detection, continuous diabetic glucose monitoring, non-harmful infant bilirubin level detection and studying Vitamin C's anti-aging effects on the skin. Madeleine attended Medical school at The Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University and completed a residency in Family Medicine at Moses Cone Hospital in Greensboro NC. Dr. Madeleine Vanstory is a board certified Family Physician who has practiced all over the world. She has lead medical missions in Kenya and Honduras. She has participated with Operation Smile in Russia, she has patients in North Carolina, Maine, Oregon and New Zealand. Dr. Vanstory has worked the medical tents in the Marine Corps marathon in Washington DC and at the Kona Ironman World Championships. And Dr. Vanstory has marched with the Surgeon General promoting "Exercise is Medicine" at the World Congress Sports Medicine Conference. Disillusioned by the current health care system and armed with the realization that culture, nutrition and emotional well-being have a profound impact on health, Dr. Vanstory now motivates clients and patients to discover the healthiest versions of themselves through humor, counseling in her "Upgrade Your Health" Wellness Program.

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