I recently finished reading the Mitch Rapp Series. A fictional CIA operative that fights terrorism, flies all over the world, drinks soda and beer, eats terrible food, barely sleeps, is emotionally distant with his family/friends/loved ones and of course, is the hero that saves the day. And he can run a 5 minute mile in his 40s while being able to fight off any opponent. I wish we were all so lucky.
The truth is we can eat, sleep and act the way of this fictional character but we will not last very long being a productive human both for ourselves and for those around us. While this site focuses on nutrition, overall wellness is what we want for our patient’s, family and friends. So what constitutes health? Of course nutrition/diet is one. But the overall idea of health is known as The four pillars of health. While different sites or books include more than four, with such things as breathing and hydration additions, the general four pillars are:
Future posts will discuss 2-4 but I would like to establish the nutrition a bit more in the short term. There are arguments for and against this statement all over the internet: “nutrition is the single most influential factor on an individuals health.” Whether you agree or not, you have control over what you eat and drink. The purchases from the grocery store, the fast food, the sit down restaurants are choices we make. Whether the choices are out of time, convenience, cost or otherwise, we can always do better. So what is better?
Of course I can say fruit and veggies. This is what patient’s hear over and over. Much in the same way me telling them “don’t smoke,” this short dialogue means little to nothing. So let’s talk about why whole food plant based eating is proven to make you healthy.
Eating plant based is the only type of diet that has been researched showing proven continued benefits both short and long term. It reverses heart disease. The documentary “Forks over Knives” illustrates this fact using small studies on American patients with heart disease who applied themselves with guidance and if they ate as instructed without deviation they saw remarkable results (your health matters, so eating food that makes your body sick is not in your best interest. The word ‘cheat’ has a negative connotation so why include it in your eating habits). A large study in china aptly named “The China Study” showed how the population was healthier in certain parts of the country relative to the less animal products consumed. Heart Disease kills far more people in the United States than cancer and diabetes, accidents and respiratory disease combined (Source: CDC). Your food choices matters!
I thought I ate healthy all my life and through what I was taught and information I read, I was. So why did I have blood sugars that would spike to > 200 and then plummet to as low as 32 (I would check my blood sugar while volunteering on an ambulance in college) and make me feel so sick? The phrase “ you are what you eat” is still a good mantra to eat by. Looking back I clearly ate too much processed foods that were high sugar but more importantly high in FAT. Fat is the mind blowing key to tackling diabetes, not sugar.
I will go on to discuss diseases in more detail in the future as patients may be reading this having seen us in our respective practices and are wondering how plant-based eating affects my: cancer, constipation, erectile dysfunction, diabetes and the list goes on.
We will get there together.