As I keep digging into the subject of nutrition and the present health crisis we are facing, I realized from a consumer’s perspective, we have been so misinformed and misguided for many years. I knew there are political forces and corporations’ interests behind many of the food options that are available to us. However, I never thought it was to the extent it is today, which only makes me reflect even more about the fact that we need to become more aware of what’s offered to us to be able to make intelligent decisions about our health.
Also, there is contradictory information about what’s good and bad (animal protein, dairy, gluten), and to top it up there’s a lot of diet books in the market that promise miracle results. Lots of confusing information. So, whom do you trust? Your doctor? Your friends? Your family?
I don’t have the magical answer but I can surely share some facts with you that personally have opened my perspective about the topic. We tend to think that if our family or friends or both are making the same or similar choices and it’s working for them, why would you need to think differently? I will tell you why: because we are getting ourselves sick with the food choices and lifestyle that we choose. Many of the chronic diseases around the world such as cardiovascular disease, obesity, diabetes and cancer can be prevented even if we have a genetic disposition to get the disease at some point in our lives. It is not true that because there is a history of heart disease in the family, you are condemned to suffer from the same condition. There are different health sites including medical studies, research papers, documentaries, articles that explain the close relationship between nutrition and lifestyle with chronic diseases. I want to share some of them in this blog.
If you like to watch documentaries, I strongly recommend Food Choices (http://www.foodchoicesmovie.com/), available on Netflix, it is very informative and definitely eye opening. It includes topics such as the worlds’ diet, and how our food choices affect our health and the planet.
Now, if you prefer to research yourself, I recommend Dr. Pamela Popper, she is a naturopath, internationally recognized expert in nutrition, healthcare and medicine. There is plenty of information about her work online. What I like about Dr. Popper is the fact that she has no issues in saying things as they are. She has criticized government organizations, health associations and even private sector like pharmaceutical companies for their role in misinforming and misguiding the public. In her book Food over Medicine she emphasizes that we need to become educated consumers, and this is exactly what I am doing with this blog. Most of us live in “auto pilot”, we think that making changes is very hard, and I wont lie, it takes commitment, but its so well worth it that you would hate yourself when you find out how good you feel and look after you readjust to a healthy diet and lifestyle.
For some people, its easier to make changes and for others isn’t. This is where a health coach can help significantly; to rethink you approach to food and find alternative ways that are sustainable.
My take is that we all need to take responsibility for our own health. Being aware of the fact that we don’t have direct control over government food policies (even though we could protest if we really were that motivated), mass media influence, corporations’ power, its crucial that we empower ourselves to control what we can.
What is in our control as individuals? The food we buy and eat. Finding moments to become more active, not necessarily going to the gym if that’s not your cup of tea (I will write a full blog on this topic another time), and create or nurture a spiritual practice. All of them equally important. For now, I just want to motivate you to find more information on your own.
Who cares if others think you are getting too geeky when you start questioning your food options, your medical doctor or your Sunday lunch. You only have one body in this life so its time we take action. In the meantime, I will be here sharing all the information I find useful.
If you have time, I also recommend you check The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (http://www.healthdata.org/results/country-profiles), there is a lot of information in this site, but the one I am more interested in, is the country profile. You type in the country name and it will show a comparison of the health profile between 1990 and 2015. You can see the mortality trends, top causes of death, top causes of premature death and disability among other information. It’s not surprising to see that heart disease, cerebrovascular disease and cancer are consistently in the top ten.
I hope this blog shed some light about this topic and helps you realize that to become a better version of ourselves, we need to be informed, active, curious and don’t swallow whole.
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