For the past twelve days I have had no coffee, diet coke or tea. I have eaten no meat or poultry and I have had almost no dairy minus a few eggs and some small amounts of butter. There has been no evening indulgence in red wine. When I posted to my Facebook page that I was saying good-bye to caffeine, alcohol and meat I was not flooded with comments of congratulations on my self-control and attempt to reach the next stage of good health, but rather quizzical responses on page and primarily off. Most people’s comments in person, over the phone, and through technology mostly revealed their bafflement or poorly covered-up disdain for what I was doing. All in all, I received more resistance than acceptance and encouragement for what I was doing.
I found these responses thought provoking. Yes, I get that most people didn’t understand where I was coming from entirely. I had recently been to Tony Robbins’ Unleash the Power from Within where a whole day is devoted to energy, vitality, well being, and disease prevention. I probably learned more in that day than most people will in their lifetime and left with a commitment to get my body out of an acidic state and into an alkaline one, mainly by eating a vegetarian diet with tons of greens. I had also recently re-watched Forks Over Knives, an eye-opening documentary that highlights the pitfalls of the Western diet and promotes a low-fat, dairy-free, vegetarian diet based on scientific findings.
I’m also coming to the end of a nutrition class where it is clear that things like phytochemicals (magical plant chemicals), omega-3’s, and antioxidants can make a big difference in your overall health. In fact, after one Saturday morning’s class I was so intrigued by what I had learned about heart disease, high cholesterol, omega 3’s and antioxidants that I immediately called my dad. He has high cholesterol and has been on medication since 1994. Two years ago he suffered a heart attack. I called inquiring whether in all these years any of his various doctors had recommended he consider any lifestyle changes such as a vegetarian diet, cutting back on dietary cholesterol, increased exercise and daily omega 3 and antioxidant supplements. His response, “Nope. Not a one.” I really couldn’t believe what I was hearing. Not one doctor in eighteen years had suggested maybe some of the simplest, most effective and cost-friendly treatments. After only taking a few weeks of an entry-level nutrition class, I felt so empowered by basic nutrition facts that I am still convinced that I could do more for my father’s health than any prescription. That is, if he would implement my suggestions.
Most of the biggest killers of today, heart disease, cancer, stroke and diabetes, are all strongly linked to poor nutrition and lifestyle. So why isn’t everyone throwing away the garbage in their kitchen cupboards and redefining their lives? I keep thinking about this and the conclusion I keep coming up with always involves education. Many just may not know any better. At my college, I sometimes have to keep myself from gawking at fellow students’ obese bodies and their choice of multiple snack selections from the vending machine. Don’t they know they can live better? I think the other fallacy is that we perceive ourselves as being relatively health conscious and living a healthy life style when in fact there is room for improvements, known or unknown, that could make huge differences. As Tony Robbins says, “Ignorance is not bliss. Ignorance is disease. If you want to live like the majority, you will die like the majority.”
My dream is to be able to help millions of people prevent or reverse the biggest killers of today and live a healthy, disease-free, prescription-free life style. Of course, I can start by leading by example, but what else? “What else,?” becomes the bigger question and is going to take a little more time to answer. I need to hear from more people what their biggest problems are with transitioning into a healthy life style. Is it that they are completely unaware of how to do it? Do they not know what is silently killing them? Do they just think they will fail? This is going to take feedback from others. If you find yourself here, I encourage you to comment or send me an email on what you feel your biggest challenge is.
For me, I’ve always been relatively into health and wellness, but when I’ve made changes I’ve found that they have always come after a bit of inspiration or motivation through education. If you are looking for something that will jump start your transition, pour yourself a tall glass of water with lemon and sit down and watch the documentary, Forks Over Knives. No exercising is required. If you have suffered a heart attack, are overweight, have high cholesterol, or are diabetic, run to the sofa to watch this movie. You can watch it through Netflicks or purchase it at Amazon by following the link above. Happy watching!
P.S. Also check out Rip Esselstyn’s book,The Engine 2 Diet: The Texas Firefighter’s 28-Day Save-Your-Life Plan that Lowers Cholesterol and Burns Away the Pounds. It’s a nice way to remind you of some of the points covered in Forks Over Knives and has some wonderful recipes for those who are more than confused about what to cook now that the meat is gone. The lasagna in here is awesome! I would have never thought of putting sweet potatoes in one.