Eating While Starving: Modern Diets and the Lack of Nutrition -Or- What I Learned from Ramen Girl

Eating While Starving: Modern Diets and the Lack of Nutrition -Or- What I Learned from Ramen Girl

When I was in college, I wanted to buy my then-boyfriend /now-husband something special for Christmas. The pocket watch I chose was far out of my budget, but I decided to get it anyway.

There was flour and a can of Crisco in my pantry—I make a great pie crust, and I had cinnamon and sugar too. How bad could it be to live on pie crust for a couple of weeks to save money?

I found out. It was bad. I was hungry all the time, but also gaining weight like a bear before hibernation. I didn’t feel so great, either. Not exactly a newsflash, but apparently our bodies don’t like to go without nutrition for long periods of time.

I don’t think my body’s ever fully trusted me again, but I survived.

Along those lines, have you ever noticed that with fast food you eat a lot more calories but want to eat more? I’m guessing it’s a lot like the piecrust. Our bodies keep telling us we’re hungry, because we still don’t have the nutrients we need, yet we gain weight and don’t feel well.

With modern, processed foods, I think it’s fairly easy to be starving to death and yet be eating regularly.

But what exactly happens to our bodies when we don’t get needed nutrition?

This is what happens:

Some years ago, I read an article about a young woman with a selective eating disorder who only eats instant Ramen. Her doctor told the eighteen-year-old that she has the “health of an eighty-year-old woman.”  

Think about that. Eighteen-year-old eats only ramen for thirteen years, has the body of an eighty-year-old woman.

Sounds about right.

After working at Abigail’s Oven, I’ve thought a lot about Ramen Girl. I’m also more aware of the lack of nutrients in our modern diet.

I’ve also begun to wonder—how many people out there think they’re making good choices but aren’t?

If the bread we buy at the market doesn’t have the nutrients like it used to—since 1960, the magnesium, zinc, iron, and copper found in modern wheat has decreased by 19-28 percent—what else are we missing?

 Usually, I’m all for forward-thinking. When it comes to food, though, I think we need to look back a bit. Non-processed foods. Organic, when you can. Non-Gmo and definitely old-strain, no pesticide wheat.

 I was pleased to find out that a loaf of long-fermented sourdough made with an old strain of wheat, like Abigail’s bread, has the nutrition like our great-grandparents ate.

Fermented foods, in general, seem to have a lot to offer, and I’m looking more into that, too.

Well, whatever choices we make, we’re going to have to be savvier than we’ve been in the past. 

Make that the recent past.

Michelle Hubbard is a graduate of Brigham Young University with an English degree and an editing minor. She won Leading Edge’s “Best First Chapter” award and later joined the publication as a slush reader and editor. After attending the Writing and Illustrating for Young Readers conference in Sandy, Utah, she became a volunteer and this June will be her ninth year as an assistant. She is also a writing officer for Misha Collin’s charity Random Acts. A draft of her middle-grade novel, Oscar and the Ghosts of Paris, placed second with the Utah Arts Council. She lives in Pleasant Grove with her husband, sister, two children, and far too many pets

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