How to fatten up a pig – or – Why Americans are overweight
My family started this school semester by reading the book Charlotte’s Web. It was interesting to me how in almost every meal the Zuckermans fed Wilbur, “skim milk” was a main component.
Yesterday, I had a conversation with a friend about how a pig can get good and fat and be only ingesting skim milk.
Today, I ran a basic internet search using the words “how to fatten up a pig”. Most of the results included advice such as feed corn, grain and skim milk.
It is recommended that most of our diet be grains. And, what’s the first recommendation when we want to lose weight? What is the only milk provided in our children’s schools? What did my family eat and drink growing up (and we were all overweight)? Lowfat dairy products and skim milk.
Our nutritionists have it all wrong. Why are our nation’s children increasingly overweight? Why is there an obesity epidemic? Yes, a sedentary lifestyle plays a part, but we are eating a bunch of grains, and drinking skim milk.
In the past, farmers used to give their leftover skimmed milk to their pigs to fatten them up. What else was the milk good for after you removed the cream for making butter? But with most of our dairy products coming from industrialized dairies, they market the leftover skim and lowfat milk as a health food.
But it hasn’t been working. You need good, healthy fats in your diet to process all the sugar you ingest.
Look at the typical American breakfast (especially in children): Cereal with lowfat or fat-free milk. Maybe some fruit in there. A highly refined carbohydrate with barely any fat or protein. Fat and protein provide longer lasting energy and prevent a sugar crash. No wonder we have no energy in the afternoon, are starving by lunchtime, we’re overweight, and our kids have a hard time paying attention in schools.
Part of it is convenience. Who has time to cook up eggs every morning? Part of it is fear. We’re told fats, especially in cream, bacon, and cheese is bad. But breakfast is the best time to get those healthy fats and lots of protein in.
I feel so much better all day when I fix myself a good breakfast of 2 eggs, scrambled with cream, with bell pepper and cheese mixed in. Oh yeah, with a few slices of bacon. I can go 4+ hours without feeling hungry.
But I admit it, I need a convenience breakfast with 3 kids. So what did I eat for breakfast this morning? Cereal with milk. And it’s 10:30 and I’m hungry already. At least now I’ll go and grab an apple or banana or something. I don’t want to admit what I would have gone to a few years go.
That’s another side effect of not eating a good, balanced breakfast: The mid-morning hunger. If you’re at work, you’ll head to the vending machine and get some chips or something. If you’re grocery shopping, the cookies and the ice cream are looking especially good.
So, stop the crazy cycle! Start your day with some good, healthy fats and protein! Don’t be scared. Fats from real food sources are good for you. And get some protein in every meal for sustained energy. If you prefer smoothies in the morning, hide some spinach or kale in there (there’s more protein in many vegetables than in meat!)
Give your family the best possible start to their day (and I’ll admit, I’m horrible at this). Cook up some eggs, heat up some bacon, cut up some cheese, hide some veggies in a smoothie. Provide some lasting energy so that there’s no unnecessary energy crash, bad cravings, poor moods, and weight gain due to an overload of carbs and poor nutritional content.
It’s really hard, I know. And I don’t have time to make a cute lunch every day, but if I’m introducing something new, it is worth the time and energy to make the meal more fun. I still struggle with this myself, but I can see the results in my kids thriving, enjoying healthy food, and finally having more good days than bad (though we still have a lot of bad days). I love feeling healthier, having more lasting energy, and finally seeing some results in healthy weight loss (though it doesn’t happen as quick as I’d like).
I’m just happy I’m no longer feeding my family the “how to fatten up a pig” diet.