By Paolo von Schirach
December 31, 2011
WASHINGTON – Given an anemic economy in slow motion, millions of Americans are not that happy. Those out of a job feel especially helpless and probably depressed. Beyond a certain point, not much that one can do to fight lack of opportunity. But there is another very important area in which people can do a lot to help themselves, or they can instead choose to be their own worst enemies: personal health. Indeed, it is time to grasp the simple but crucial fact that, on balance, the life style we choose and keep is the leading factor in determining our general health and longevity.
The food you eat may land you on the operating table
Here is how Dr. Mehmet Oz, a trained surgeon, and an Emmy award winning TV host, put in an essay published in TIME magazine (The Oz Diet, September 12, 2011): “[As a surgeon] my objective was to heal with steel. That in some ways was the easy part. What confounded my colleagues and me was how and why our patients landed in our care in the first place –lying on a gurney, about to have their chest opened with a band saw. The biggest reason was often the simplest one: the food they ate.[…].A dietary free for all in the US is producing not the healthiest generation in history but one in steady decline, with epidemics of obesity, cardiovascular disease and diabetes. More than two thirds of US adults, and more than a third of kids, are overweight or obese“. (Bold added).
Diet matters a lot, and you can change it
So, there you have it. If you will ever need major surgery to unblock your congested arteries, chances are you did this to yourself. It is not bad luck and it is not genetic predisposition. It is all about the cumulative effects of a bad diet combined with a sedentary life.
But, as Dr. Oz and so many others declare, you radically change your eating habits –for good– and you can reverse the damage. But please bear in mind that this has nothing to do with going on a temporary diet to lose some weight. This is about embracing healthy eating habits and adopting them –for ever. The commintment required is significant, but not that onerous. Eating healthy stuff is not that hard.
Choosing healthy food is not that hard
The basic point is that all this is doable, and well within the powers of each individual. What would you rather do, eat burgers, french fries and gallons of ice cream until your cholesterol clogged arteries land you on the operating table, or live a long and healthy life eating fish, whole grains, spinach, beans and berries? You can choose. So, you may not control the jobs market, but you can control whether you will get type two diabetes, and many other diet caused ailments, or not.