Supersize, Health, and the Path to Wellness

By Kristen Johnson

I finally got around to seeing Supersize Me – a truly nauseating documentary about the fast food industry, and specifically what happens to a person when they subsist on a 30-day McDonald’s-only diet. Morgan Spurlock, the “dieter” in the film, agreed to eat at McDonald’s 3 times a day for 30 days, to only eat and drink items found at McDonald’s, and to eat at least everything on the menu at least once.

During Mr. Spurlock’s experiment, he was monitored before, after, and during the experiment by doctors and nutritionists. What was most shocking was how his liver reacted to the diet – one doctor indicated it was comparable to acute alcoholism. Also shocking was the massive weight gain in such a short amount of time (24.5 pounds!), the depression and anxiety he experienced, and the truly gigantic gain in cholesterol in his blood. Throughout the documentary, people who were interviewed (including people in the food industry) kept remarking how people don’t really eat that much, and maybe it isn’t all that bad. But, speaking from personal experience, it’s entirely possible to eat fast food all day long.

I’ve been on a low-glycemic diet for more than 10 years now. More than 9 years of that has been as a vegetarian, and more than 8 years of that has been as a vegan. During the last 10 years, I have also exercised at least 30 minutes a day (2 hours a day at my best, but I’ve been on the lazy side the past year and my pant-size is starting to show it!) However, prior to my complete health change 10 years ago, my standard diet was as follows:

Breakfast: 2 chocolate donuts, or a Starbucks latte and coffee cake or a scone

Lunch: Bacon cheeseburger and fries or fried chicken sandwich and fries

Dinner: Carne asada burrito and a side of refried beans and cheese – or KFC delivery or pizza delivery

I also drank “real” Cokes with most meals, and for snacks I stuck mostly with kettle corn, cookies, and donuts.

I lived like that for 2 decades or so – never cooking at home, always eating junk food out, and likely slowly killing myself. Over time, I gained 40 pounds, I was sick CONSTANTLY (out of work at least 4 times a year with sinus infections and so forth) and generally filled with malaise.

After initially switching to a low-GI diet, I spent 3 weeks in a living hell. I can only describe it as withdrawal – I experienced dizziness, migraine headaches, shaking hands, and terrible mood swings. But, once my body adjusted, the rest, as they say, is history.

Flash forward again to 6 months after switching to a low-GI, non-processed-food diet (eventually going strictly vegan). I lost 40 pounds, all my daily tension headaches and at least twice-monthly migraine headaches disappeared, my 30+ years of insomnia completely disappeared and has never returned, and most importantly my health dramatically improved. I went, quite literally, 7 years straight without a single sick day, because I didn’t get sick – EVER.

It may sound difficult to give up fast food, to give up processed foods, to live vegan – but, I can assure you as a 10-year veteran of living this way that it is not difficult (with a little organization) and the rewards far exceed any perceived difficulties.

Thank you Mr. Spurlock for helping to shed light on what the fast food industry is knowingly doing to the public without any apologies. And, thank you to my boss at UCSD for believing in me and setting me on a path toward health!

God is good and has provided healthy food for us to consume, so that we can continue to serve others. We can’t serve if we are laid up with illnesses caused by our own poor lifestyle choices.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 (NRSV): 19 Or do you not know that your body is a temple[a] of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have from God, and that you are not your own? 20 For you were bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your body.

Serve all with love.

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