For the past three weeks (Read Part1) I have written about extremes. I started by reminding everyone about the two biggest killers in the United States–heart disease and cancer. I mentioned the extreme measures we go through to try to treat those diseases. The following week, I mentioned how extremely our finances have been affected by our health. Finally last week, I showed how we have made extremely good progress with educating people about the health effects of tobacco and smoking.
This final part to our Extreme series introduces a film that discusses the incredibly strong correlation between our diets and health.
Some friends and I were fortunate enough to view a screening of this film. At first, I was a little turned off by what the filmmakers were saying about our diets. Growing up in the age of “four squares a day will keep you healthy,” it was difficult to hear some of the points they were making. Like any human, I am skeptical and reluctant to change. But the abundant supply of evidence they portrayed kept rattling in my head. A paradigm shift takes time, just ask Copernicus. What appears obvious now, was once extreme.
As we left the screening, my friends and I joked about our next dinner. I laughed and contributed. But I cannot deny, I have consciously paid more attention to my diet and to what I eat since watching the film. I started looking at foods I normally don’t think twice about with a little more attention. Have I completely change my diet? No. Do I predict that everyone will suddenly change their diets? No. But it is important for us to understand and learn about what we are eating. As we learn more, the more we will change our diets.
As I’m sure you’re aware, that this series is all about changing our diets. But to what extreme do we need to change in order to see the benefits? Let me start by changing gears a little.
Everyone knows that tobacco and smoking are bad for your health. They significantly increase our chances for lung cancer and other diseases. However just five decades ago, it wasn’t that big of a deal if you smoked. (Just watch an episode of Mad Men.) Now we ban it from restaurants, public buildings, and we even limit smoking in certain places outdoors. 50 years ago, that would be extreme. Imagine Humphrey Bogart stepping outside of Rick’s cafe to have a cigarette.
But in the last half century, we have become significantly more educated about tobacco and smoking. And when I say we, I don’t mean scientists, I mean everyday real people. It took some time, but more and more people are quitting smoking.
Understanding that our diets affect our health is nothing new. But understanding and learning about these strong correlations between our nation’s most deadly killers and our diets is surprisingly new. To me, that seems extreme. So I ask–Can we change the status quo? Well the next time you are on an airplane, image the guy next to you smoking a cigarette.
Next week I will tell you how you can learn more about this new diet and how I was inspired to write this series of posts. (Read Part 4)
Last week (Read Part 1), I asked the question: What is extreme? It was a morbid entry, but I wanted to make sure we realized the importance of these issues. This week, I want to point out some of the financial benefits of a healthy diet.
An extremely big issue in our country is health care. There are valid points on both sides of the argument, but one fact that cannot be debated is that during the past decade, the cost of health care has significantly increased. It may continue to increase if we don’t take the appropriate actions. By changing our diets, we can reduce our health care costs up to 70 percent. As old Ben Franklin stated, “A penny saved is a penny earned.” That means $700 billion would be saved. EVERY YEAR! That was nearly the entire stimulus package. Does a stimulus package every year sound extreme?
OK, how about something that reaches a little closer to home? Every day people are battling diseases with prescription drugs. We all know that these medicines can get expensive. But with a healthy diet and exercise, we can totally remove our dependence on these drugs AND cure our health as well. Think of the savings for people who spend $100 a month on medicine. With the money, they now save up to take a nice vacation every year. (Reader’s Digest said, “Laughter is the best medicine.”) Would it be extreme to be free from prescription medicine?
This is all great, but you might be saying, “These issues are too big to change.” Next week, I will give you an example from the past when the United States has made significant progress in making a big, health-related change. Read Part 3
The two biggest killers in the US right now are cancer and heart disease. Half of the US population is dying of these two causes of death. You and a friend go out for coffee. One of you will die of heart disease or cancer. That is extreme.
What is extreme?
A bypass surgery involves repairing arteries on and around the heart. To accomplish this, the surgeon splits your chest in half with a saw, then takes an artery from your leg and uses it for your heart. That is extreme.
What is extreme?
Cancer treatment is said to be worse than the disease. Chemotherapy and radiation treatment require the patient to withstand a great deal of pain. Surgery to remove parts of the body infected with cancer leave lasting effects. That is extreme.
What is extreme?
Changing our diet. By becoming more educated on the food we eat, we can significantly reduce the chance of these prior extremes. There is even evidence now that shows how diet can reverse the progress of cancer and heart disease. Understanding the strong correlation between diet and these previously stated diseases is not extreme at all. Nor is it extremely difficult to do.
Return next week and learn what other extreme benefits come from changing our diet. Read Part 2.