Good health begins with giving
our bodies the right building blocks
an organic, whole foods and plant-based diet; physical activity; and connection with others and ways to be meaningfully engaged in our communities.
While the research supporting the importance of these factors grows, the number of us incorporating them in our daily lives seems to be moving in the opposite direction. The result is an epidemic of obesity, diabetes, cancer, heart disease, a host of auto-immune conditions, depression and anxiety.
Making healthy dietary and lifestyle changes won’t guarantee that you don’t get sick
but it can increase your odds dramatically. In Foods that Fight Cancer, scientists Richard Beliveau and Denis Gingras claim that 70 percent of all cancers can be avoided by factors that our under our control – by changing our diets, quitting smoking, maintaining a healthy weight and avoiding drugs and excess alcohol.
Numerous studies have shown that the more
connected and engaged we are with others,
the longer and happier our lives are.
Rather than thinking of cancer – and all of these other conditions – as something we don’t have control over, The Ceres Community Project is working to educate all of us that the choices we make each day, especially the choices about the food on our plate, have a major impact on our long-term health.
Our programs combine direct service
those most in need with hands-on experience for young people and educational offerings
for the larger community.
Our unique approach makes an immediate and profound difference in the lives of our clients, and supports long-term prevention of disease by giving our teens – and others as well – the knowledge, skills and inspiration to make healthy choices for themselves and their families. Beyond that, we strive to build meaningful bridges of relationship among all members of our community and to provide powerful ways for both teens and adults to connect with others and engage in the larger world.
As the statistics at the right show, the way we eat has changed dramatically in the past one hundred years. We’ve moved from a primarily plant-based and whole grain diet with small amounts of naturally raised animal foods to a highly processed diet rich in sugar, unhealthy fats, and processed, grain fed meats.
At The Ceres Community Project,
our goal is to restore whole foods
to their place as the primary foundation
for long-term health, and to build
the networks of relationship among
all members of our community
that support happier and healthier lives.
Americans in 2000 ate an average of 2,700 calories a day, up 24.5% or 530 calories per day from 1970. That equates to an additional 56 pounds per person per year. The increase comes from refined grains (9.5%), fats and oils (9.0%) and sugar (4.7%).
The average American is eating 152 pounds of refined sugar per year – that’s equivalent to more than 1 cup per person per day.
The American Heart Association now estimates that 50 million Americans have “metabolic syndrome” – a constellation of factors that increase the likelihood of heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes. The major factor causing metabolic syndrome is poor nutrition combined with lack of adequate physical activity.
While the likelihood of having metabolic syndrome increases with age, studies now show that one in eight schoolchildren have three or more components of metabolic syndrome.
Only 11% of Americans are eating the recommended 5 to 9 servings per day of fruit – and this includes dried fruit and 100% fruit juice, potato chips and French fries, ketchup, pizza sauce and lettuce.
More than half of our meals are now eaten away from home. Nearly 75% of people say they don’t cook – either because they don’t know how or don’t have time.
66% of us adults are overweight and 27% are obese. One-third of all children are overweight.
Estimates are that by 2012, one in three children will be diabetic.
Cancer now affects one in three people before the age of 75 and one in four will die from complications caused by the disease.
52.5% of all deaths in the United States – from heart disease, cancer and diabetes – are directly related to the combination of poor nutrition, obesity and inactivity.
An estimated one-third of the 565,000 cancer deaths annually – or 188,000 – are believed to be directly related to these dietary and lifestyle choices.
A 2006 study by the National Science Foundation asked participants if there were a crisis in their life, how many people they could turn to for help. One in four, a remarkable 25 percent, said no one.
For more information on the link between diet and health, see the Resource Section of our website, or get a copy of the Ceres Project cookbook, Nourishing Connections: The Healing Power of Food and Community.