A funny thought occurred to me recently during that seemingly never ending time between sitting down at the cinema and the film actually starting. It's a kind of no-man's land where you are at the mercy of advertisers. It was during one such advert for a high quality dog food that a thought occurred to me: 'Have we reached a point in which we feed our pets better than we feed ourselves?'.
Here's an excerpt from the company's website: -
"All our products are about naturally nourishing our dogs from the inside out. Every ingredient that makes it into our recipes has a nutritional purpose, so you’ll never find wheat, corn, soy, gluten, artificial preservatives, colours, flavours or any unnecessary fillers"
Are we taking our pets health more seriously than our own?
Let's look at some statistics: -
- 63% of Australian Adults are Overweight or Obese
- 25% of Australian Children are Overweight or Obese
- Data from the Australian Diabetes, Obesity and Lifestyle (AusDiab) study indicate that the total direct cost for overweight and obesity in 2005 was $21 billion ($6.5 billion for overweight and $14.5 billion for obesity). The same study estimated indirect costs of $35.6 billion per year, resulting in an overall total annual cost of $56.6 billion (Colagiuri et al. 2010).
Now what I am not suggesting is that we neglect our pets and feed them poorly. What I cannot get my head around is why we seemingly want to feed ourselves poor quality food, lacking in nutrients?
I couldn't get my head around the irony of the situation I was faced with in that moment. I am sitting in the cinema surrounded by people eating calorie dense, processed food lacking in nutrients whilst at the same time viewing an advert highlighting the importance of feeding your dog the correct, nutritious food.
Dogs (and pets in general) are great and deserve to be treated and fed with love. However, is it time we started to treat ourselves like we would our dogs?
As I have stated previously, the 'Obesity Epidemic' is a complex and multi-faceted phenomenon. There is certainly going to be no quick fix. However, at some point we will all have to take collective responsibility for it.
Below is a 'Food Hierarchy' I like to use for myself and clients: -
Tier 1 ‘Diet staples’
- Unprocessed meats (ideally wild/grass-fed), particularly organ meats like liver
- Fish (ideally wild)
- Poultry (ideally wild/flax-fed), particularly organ meats like liver
- Unprocessed bone broth
- Eggs (preferably from flaxseed fed/free-range chickens)
- Non-starchy vegetables (Green vegetables, such as broccoli, zucchini, kale, spinach etc)
- Fermented, non-cheese dairy products (e.g. kefir, yogurt, quark)
- Pure coconut products
- Pure olive products
- Herbs & spices, gelatin, decaff coffee, decaff tea, herbal tea, seaweeds, nori, vinegar (all kinds)
Tier 2 ‘Healthy additions’
- Whole fruit (all kinds)
- Non-fermented dairy (e.g. whole milk, cottage cheese, cheese, (grass-fed) butter)
- Fermented, sprouted or soaked whole grains (e.g. Sourdough/Ezekiel bread, soaked
- Soaked and dry roasted nuts/seeds (notably chia seeds and broken/milled flax seed)
- Potatoes (all kinds, incl. all similar root vegetables)
- Fermented soy products (e.g. natto, tempeh)
- 80+% pure chocolate
Tier 3 ‘Okay’
- White/parboiled rice
- Nuts and seeds
- Whole grains (incl. legumes)
Tier 4 ‘Neutral’
- Potato/rice flour
- Sugars & syrups (all kinds)
- Milk/white chocolate
- Artificial sweeteners (all kinds)
- Zero calorie sodas
Tier 5 ‘Avoid’
- Refined grains
- Non-fermented soy products
Tier 6 ‘Avoid at All Costs’
- Heat processed vegetable oils
- Processed red meats
- Anything with rapeseed oil, canola oil, hydrogenised or (partially) hardened vegetable
fats and artificial transfats
- Tobacco products
Unfortunately it seems too many of us eat from the bottom 2 -3 levels rather than the top. So here's a task for you, start a food log. Note down everything you eat and drink over 3 days (including a weekend). How does your diet shape up? Are you feeding yourself with good quality meat and fish, lots of green vegetables, berries, nuts and seeds etc? Or are you eating a lot of convenience food, with additives, high in salt, sugar, preservatives, refined carbohydrates? If so it might be worth taking time to change this before your health, well-being and waistline suffer. Maybe ask yourself: 'Would you feed your dog like this?'.