It never ceases to amaze me how much control over one’s health most people GIVE up. In reality, you have more control over your health than you may realize.
In a recent conversation with a nutritionist, the discussion of overweight and obesity issues in the adult population turned into a discussion about our youth. Sadly, due to the increase in obesity in children, they are at a huge disadvantage with their health from an early age.
“My daughter is one among two who does NOT bring prepackaged lunches to school. Most of the kids have processed foods that are causing irreversible damage and weight issues,” she told me. “It’s sad because this is laying the foundation for health issues that could be prevented.”
“Why do you think parents are choosing this route?” I asked.
“Convenience. Plain and simple. Convenience,” she responded.
Sadly, what is convenient today will be a huge burden in the not so distant future.
With healthcare costs skyrocketing, doctors having less time to spend with you during an annual visit, disease on the rise, and obesity rates out of control, many people assume there is nothing they can do.
Nothing could be further from the truth. You DO have more control than what you may realize.
Not a day goes by that we don’t read about someone on our social media channels dealing with health issues that are actually preventable, and in some cases reversible.
This post is NOT meant to shame anyone, nor pass judgement. It is meant to educate and give a wake-up call. You choose the interpretation of the information, but let it be known, there is no shortage of information that can literally save your life AND give you a much better quality of life. You DO have a choice. You choose what you eat (or not), how much you move and exercise and what drinks you consume. You also choose what you watch and how you spend your leisure time.
Granted, many people are stretched to the max, but with slight changes in your daily habits, your life can literally change… for the better.
According to Merriam-Webster, disease is an illness that affects a person, animal, or plant : a condition that prevents the body or mind from working normally. : a problem that a person, group, organization, or society has and cannot stop.
The greatest dis-ease is the belief that we can do nothing about the diseases that years ago were a rarity and today are common place. Some cancers, heart disease, diabetes, stroke and respiratory disorders are some of the most common.
Many people don’t know this, but obesity is now considered a disease. In a recent decision by the American Medical Association, Obesity Is Now A Disease. Hopefully an action like this by the AMA that could put more emphasis on the health condition by doctors and insurance companies in order to minimize its effects.
The fact is, obesity is on the rise and there is no end in site. We can either accept this and choose to ignore our role in reversing this epidemic, or we can begin today to make needed changes.
Obesity on the Rise
First, let’s look at the growth rate. “The nation’s obesity rate is approaching 40 percent after holding around 34–35 percent between 2005 and 2012, according to data in The State of Obesity: Better Policies for a Healthier America 2018. No state has had a statistically significant drop in its obesity rate in the past five years.”
Many people have resigned themselves to the fact there is nothing they can do about their own growing waistline and increase in weight. Others are choosing to take control of their health.
Risks on the Rise
“Healthcare professionals are seeing earlier onset of Type 2 diabetes (normally an adult-onset disease), cardiovascular disease and obesity-related depression in children and adolescents. The longer a person is obese, the more significant obesity-related risk factors become. Given the chronic diseases and conditions associated with obesity, and the fact that obesity is difficult to treat, prevention is extremely important.” (Stanford Health Care)
In reality, obesity will result in multiple health problems. At the current rate of increase, over 50% of children will experience diseases that were once only seen in adults within a few short years.
The World Health Organization states that at least 2.8 million people each year die as a result of being overweight or obese. The prevalence of obesity nearly tripled between 1975 and 2016.
According to several studies and experts, at the current rate of increase in obesity, by 2015, 43% percent of women and 45% of men in the United States will be obese. Along with the increase in obesity is the increase in medical costs and other obesity related diseases such as some cancers, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke and diabetes.
Each disease carries it’s own set of problems including depression, financial burden to families and lost productivity.
Is there a Solution?
Although it would be great to have a simple solution, the problem has gotten so out of control, the solution is more complex than simply saying, “Eat less, exercise more.”
It’s not so much that eating less will solve the problem, it’s what you eat that matters. With fast food restaurants on just about every street corner, the temptation for convenience often outweighs the desire for sensible consumption.
Time stretched parents don’t have the luxury of spending hours preparing meals. Finding ways to prepare healthy meals in shorter blocks of time is part of the solution as well as avoiding the temptation of low cost, fast foods and processed foods.
This will require a change in daily habits, yet, these changes will result in many positive outcomes including improved health, energy, vitality and state of mind.
Plant Based Solution
When one looks at all the diets and eating protocols available, the one that stands head and shoulders above all others is a plant based lifestyle. Eating plant based is not about dieting. It is about consuming a diet rich in nutrients, fiber and the perfect balance nature intended.
Yet, many people view a plant based diet as one that is very extreme. As many plant based doctors have said, “It seems more extreme to eat the SAD (Standard American Diet) that increases your chances of needing various types of surgery than to make a change in what you consume on a daily basis.”
One of the best books on the subject is Eat to Live by Dr. Joel Fuhrman. In it, Dr. Fuhrman explains what happens when we are not taking full responsibility for our health by the food choices we make. Additionally, he outlines a very simple plan that virtually anyone can follow to transition to an incredibly healthy way of life.
There is plenty of evidence a plant based diet can stop, reverse and prevent disease. Yet, there is no shortage of individuals and health care professionals who claim this is a radical choice. Personally, having one’s chest opened up for a surgery that could have been prevented by lifestyle changes seems pretty radical.
Looking for more information on a plant based lifestyle? Join my Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/PlantBasedEatingforHealth/