I like a health "how-to" book that cuts to the chase — one that sheds light on things I struggle with. I've bought Michael Pollan's books, an author and journalist who lays out the basics about eating. He says we should "Eat food, not too much, mostly plants." It's pretty simple, right? Well, yes and no.

Yes, because if we adhere to that rule, virtually no one would have any problems. I say no, because of the cultural, economical and other social determinants that stand in the way of adhering to that easy rule.

Last week I came across a book written by someone I've actually met. It meshes well with the ideas of Pollan — that we make nutrition too complicated and that we gravitate more toward foodstuff rather than real food.

"Real is the New Natural," by Julie D. Andrews, outlines the problems with our relationship with food, dieting, deceptive food package labeling and many other issues that stand in the way of good health.

In fact, there are countless issues that stand in the way. As pointed out by Ms. Andrews, we know that exercise, a balanced diet and stress reduction yields great results. However, two-thirds of our country is still obese and one-third is expected to have type 2 diabetes by 2050. We're so obsessed with weight loss that we seem to be running in circles.

Get this supplement. Join that gym. Drink that shake. Follow that diet.

The exhaustion from bouncing from one thing to the next, along with misinformation and contradictory advice, is enough to put the most desperate person back into a cycle of weight gain and illness. It's what keeps the extremely profitable weight-loss industry in business.

Obesity and chronic illness will not go away on its own or even within a few years. It's a multifaceted problem that deserves all problem solvers to show up at the table.



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