Let's say you're cooking a meal in a box, maybe something meaty from Banquet, something fishy from Gorton's, or something microwaveable from Healthy Choice. You've added a side of instant mashed potatoes or Kraft mac and cheese, and some canned peas for green. But wait. You open a packet of pre-made gravy because it's easy, it tastes as good as homemade, and the potatoes need it. You bake off a can of Pillsbury biscuits, and slather them with Country Crock because you've heard butter's bad for you. Let's say you chase that meal with a 20 ounce soft drink, or a couple of tall glasses of sweet tea.
What Happens Next: Your bored digestive system kicks back in a lazy boy with a remote control, watching the internal equivalent of reality TV. See, a machine in a factory somewhere has already done the body's job; there's no digestive work to do because this food is already processed. Bummer. It's the rerun your body's tired of watching.
Why This Matters: When you eat a diet of processed food, your metabolism goes on strike, and your body's 100 trillion little energy factories (that's right, 100 trillion - they're called mitochrondia, pronounced my-toe-CON-dree -ah) start laying off workers because the jobs are all gone. Insulin - your body's hospitality director - totally wigs out and calls for the union boss (that would be you) to help negotiate order and balance, but the union boss is hungry again and slopping cold gravy on a leftover biscuit. See, you're not satisfied because you just ate a plateful of evil, wicked, mean and nasty chemical-laden crap pretending to be food, and it's traveling fast through the pipe, looting your body as it goes. There's too much of everything, and not enough of anything. Too much, not enough.
And You Wonder Why Your Head Hurts as you Reach For a Prilosec: You're on fire inside because your body is waging war against the foreign invaders and carpetbaggers you put in your mouth. An army of unhappy cells sets up camp in your body's every crack, crevice, and organ - preparing you for a lifetime of painful joints, reflux, chronic fatigue, diabetes, cancer, and heart disease. You're depressed, and can't sleep; you're irritated at the world. You gnaw through a pack of nabs and a diet coke to make it through the morning; you grab a quick salad with bacon, cheese, and ranch for lunch, quaff another diet drink in the afternoon, and can't imagine how your co-workers have energy to go to the gym. All you can manage is a drive-thru on the way to your kids' softball practice.
Problem Not Solved: You call the doctor, get a prescription or two for pain, depression, anxiety, or reflux, and you're never asked this simple question: "What type of fuel do you put in your body?"
Be the boss! Fire the interlopers! Sure, life gets complicated sometimes. But it'll be a whole lot less complicated when you give the job of digestion back to your gut.