My son was telling us about a search and rescue mission where a fishing boat’s engine failed due to contaminated fuel. In Alaska, situations like that can turn deadly fast for individuals stranded in the harsh environment. Our bodies are more resilient than motors but they also respond to what we consume. While food choices don’t usually have the quick impact of bad fuel, what we eat sets the conditions for what we become.
Knowing that lifestyle factors, like what you eat, will prevent cancer or other diseases, would you be willing to change? Not everyone is. Some people think changing what they eat or do is too hard. Plus, sometimes the research seems designed to confuse. Injecting doubt is a form of contamination. Who can we trust to provide the truth? Foods that are good for consumption seem like a moving target. Are eggs good or bad? Dietary practices will only be maintained when people trust the evidence and experience the benefits.
When we were in Colorado, we were introduced to a book, The China Study, extolling the benefits of a plant-based diet. For health reasons, and influenced by this book, my brother-in-law and his family are now mostly vegan. However, reading it made me wonder about the nutritional value of meals served to my mother-in-law as she recovers from brain surgery in rehab. While touring assisted living facilities, which provide meals to residents, we asked about vegetarian options. Most “health” care facilities cater to the typical white bread, meat-oriented American diet. Maybe it’s a good business plan. As my sister-in-law, a nurse, remarked, “I found the China Study to be very intriguing and quite an eye opener. Yes, the food choices are very limited and not all that great in many health care settings. Go figure. Can you say “job security!” Ha ha.”
“There are, in effect, two things, to know and to believe one knows; to know is science; to believe one knows is ignorance.” ― Hippocrates
Change is hard, but so is needing daily insulin shots. Do you wait to get sick and treat symptoms with chemical, surgical, or technological interventions? Or do you anticipate and prevent, addressing causes with lifestyle changes? Do we continue defending the status quo, knowing factors that contribute to health or disease?
What foods should we eat to fuel our bodies? Health classes in schools provide cursory instruction on a healthy diet. However, if you look around , it’s makes you wonder if our fellow Americans missed that series of classes. Is it a case of knowing, but not doing? “Guess what food we might eat to most efficiently provide the building blocks for our replacement proteins? Human flesh. Its protein has just the right amount of the needed amino acids. But while our fellow men and women are not for dinner, we do get the next “best” protein by eating other animals.” (China Study, 30) There’s an almost universal taboo against cannibalism and many people are not inclined to eat eat the flesh and blood of dogs or horses, choosing to consume animals such as cows, pigs or fish. Given that research from the China Study indicates that an increase in animal protein correlates with an increase in heart disease, perhaps we need to rethink consumption of high quality proteins.
Health is a long-term lifestyle. We’re not going to live forever, but if you want to live relatively healthy, say “Yes” to whole foods and fiber and “No” to sugar including soft drinks, candy and processed foods like white bread that quickly turn to sugar. We have a choice about how to create or maintain health, starting with the foods we consume and the exercise that we engage in. The alternative is disease care with doctor visits, prescriptions and surgery. Treat your body at least as well as you treat your car or boat.
© Joan S Grey, 13 Jan 2017
IndexCardCure™: you are what you eat