This bird is enjoying people food...tortilla chips dropped while someone was eating lunch. It's calories for the bird, undeniably. It's an easy meal, and this bird and a few friends spent quite some time eating these crumbs. But while this bird may have gotten some carbohydrate energy from these crumbs, that's about all it got. To be honest, I don't know what the nutritional requirements are of this bird. It lives in Victoria, BC. It's got a pretty cushy winter compared to birds here in Alberta, so I would hazard a guess it doesn't need the same energy reserves that birds here would need to stay warm if they don't migrate. But still. I would be astonished if tortilla chip crumbs offered the same nutritional benefits as more traditional wild-forged food.
Here in the West we are most assuredly over-nourished. There has never been a time when food wasn't available for us in my lifetime. It may not be our favourite foods, or what we want to eat at the moment, but it is available. Consider famines that have stretched on for years in many parts of Africa. A complete and utter lack of food and drinking water have killed thousands of people, and yet we in the West throw out a third of what's produced and waste water like it's an endlessly renewable resource. It's heartbreaking and horrifying, and one of the reasons I started meal planning- food waste is something I'm very passionate about.
Just because we are over-nourished doesn't mean we are healthy, however. It's a common understanding that malnourished looks like skin stretched over rib cages and distended bellies such as this first picture of famine in East Africa.
Our malnourishment in North America takes on many different forms. We can look overweight or obese, we can look "average", or we can look thin or skinny. You won't necessarily see malnourishment on a person until it progresses past a certain point.
A person becomes overweight or obese due to our propensity to overeat and the easy availability of food. Serving size increases, a largely sedentary lifestyle, and the evil triplets of perceived affordability, convenience, and focused advertising have led to this growing issue. Sometimes this can be due to an eating disorder. You can read more about that here. Other people suffering from malnourishment look like everyone else, or are thin, underweight, or skinny. If they, too, aren't eating the variety of foods that our bodies require for optimal health, they can also suffer long term damage.
To return back to the example of that little bird, he may be eating too much of a single food, and not receiving the nutritional variety he requires to be a healthy little bird. Like him, we can eat too much of the same sorts of foods and prevent our bodies from acquiring the right kinds of nutrients. We may be suffering from a malabsorption disorder such as Crohn's or Celiac disease, or we may just be neglecting variety in our diets. Whatever the case, malnutrition is a serious concern that can lead to long-term quality of life issues.
I encourage you to take stock of your diet. Keep track of what you're eating, how much you're eating, and when you're eating. Log everything for a few weeks, a month. Make note of any physical symptoms you may experience but haven't noted before, and see if there's a pattern. Notice if you've got a well-balanced diet, or if you're overloaded in fats and refined carbohydrates. Once you have started tracking your intake, you will be better equipped to see changes you may need to make to your overall diet.
And like diet, movement is essential for our quality of life. If keeping track of your diet has you feeling motivated to continue with positive changes, you might want to consider a movement tracker. This article contains a link to one that is easy to use and comes with a plethora of helpful tips to begin your journey.
I wish you all the best, and have a great weekend, friends.
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