Trying to be gung ho, not Joe Schmoe

Who out there loves the type of sweets that come in a little package for 50 cents and contain loads of sugar, trans-fats and assortments of unpronounceable chemicals?

You know which ones I’m talking about — ho ho’s, Twinkies, Star Crunches, Oatmeal Cream Pies — the good stuff that shoots straight to your blood vessels and brain, clogging your arteries with gooey goodness.

I loved all that stuff. There’s something to be said for stopping in at a gas station, buying two oatmeal cream pies for $1, sandwiching them together, eating them in a matter of minutes and washing it all down with a chocolate milk, also purchased at the gas station.

And that was just breakfast on some days. There were others where I would follow that routine, sometimes replacing the oatmeal cream pie or Little Debbie 50 cent snacks with an apple fritter from the doughnut case, and head off to Taco Bell for a couple bean burritos and soft tacos.

McDonalds? Why not? Who wants some Burger King or a sandwich and some poppers from Arby’s?

Or if I felt like changing up the lunch plans, I would head to the convenient store for a ham salad sandwich and some beef jerky with a coffee-energy drink loaded with sugar. And the ham salad. I still love it even though I know how it is made.

When I worked in a meat department one of my jobs was making ham salad. It was a pretty easy job. Grab a five gallon tub or bucket, have the deli throw in all the leftover ends of the deli hams (and sometimes salami and bologna), throw it all in a giant meat grinder, and mix it with jello mix, sugar, mayonnaise and relish.

Good stuff but kind of terrifying when you really stop to think about how a food like that can wreak havoc on the person who consumes it, and other foods like it, as a main-stay of their diet.

It all seemed normal until I started thinking about what those foods contain and what they do to the human body. I’m certainly no dietitian, but food high in trans-fats, added sugars, preservatives and emulsifiers, lead to heart disease and a slew of other ailments.

Yet they somehow grab hold of our brains making us think we need them for fuel, that they are the only foods that taste good and that it is okay to consume them. But that’s no surprise — what more would you expect from foods which are chemically engineered at a lab in New Jersey to enhance the way products taste and smell to make the user’s experience more enjoyable?

Starting in September I eliminated all sugar, candy and highly processed foods containing white flour products from my diet and I stopped eating fast food entirely. I began trying as best as humanely possible to adhere to a lifestyle proposed by Dr. Joel Fuhrman called GBOMBS (greens, beans, onions, mushrooms, berries, seeds and nuts).

Foods that fall into those categories became the staple of my diet, and I still occasionally ate mean a couple times a week.

Some of the changes I noticed after starting to try to eat this way were almost immediate. Within a week or so I felt lighter on my feet while I walked. I felt more aware of my surroundings and my senses almost seemed heightened.

I will admit, over the Thanksgiving/Christmas/New Year holidays I did splurge on some cookies, pie and pierogies, but it is okay to have those foods on holiday occasions as long as I am trying my best to stick to GBOMBS for the majority of my daily life.

When I started this way of eating in September I made an appointment for a physical for December. The results were that all of my cholesterol levels were fine(they had previously been a bit high), my blood pressure had dropped 20 points to a normal level and I lost 16 pounds.

I was pretty shocked by those results and my doctor even told me that as long as I continue to try to make these changes, and implement a few others, there won’t even be any need to come in for a future physical. He said 90 to 95 percent of all diseases and ailments are caused by the foods we eat and inactivity.

So that’s where I’m at. Now I just have to add in exercise and I’ll be good to go. I hope you find some inspiration and motivation from my words if you’re looking to change your eating habits.

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