Why don’t we hear more about the 500,000 premature deaths each year due to poor diet and the 1,800 daily deaths due to cardiovascular disease that need never develop?
I have heard about people gaining and joking about the COVID 19# and many references to drinking more during the pandemic. I get it. It’s ok to joke. But let’s not make that acceptable. You want to ensure that you will get knocked on your ass the next time you come in contact with a pathogen or are faced with any type of adversity? Eat crap food and drink alcohol in excess. You do those things, regardless of your exercise regimen, and I guarantee you will not bounce back as well as you could. And it is a given that you will die before your time and shave life off of years and years off of life. I know, “take it easy man, gheesh”. But it’s important.
“Diet is the Single Most Important Predictor of Health”, says Dr. David L. Katz. If you think about it, it makes sense. Then why do so many of us care so little about our diet, or not eat the way we know we should? Too hard to change? Ready access to crap food? Not enough time to prepare food ourselves and to buy fresh? As Arnold Schwarzenegger would say “it’s all bullshit, all of it”. There is really no excuse.
Not sure where to start? Below are some quick hits you can start doing today:
- Eat whole foods, mostly plants. This does not mean you need to be vegan or even vegetarian, but you should focus mostly on plant sources for food.
- Stay away from processed foods (anything with more than 5 ingredients).
- Shop primarily on the outer edges of the grocery store (this is where the whole food).
- Stay away from added sugar including fruit juices. Nine of the 10 leading causes of death are a direct result, or made worse, by poor blood sugar. We do not need ANY added sugar to survive, or thrive.
- Stay away from foods labeled “light” or “low fat” or “diet” as often these are ultra processed, high sugar, and contain a variety of crap ingredients and chemicals our bodies are not meant to eat (and we can’t pronounce).
- Eat a combination of foods at each feeding. Proteins, carbs, and healthy fats.
- Add some spice to your life! Cloves, turmeric, ginger, oregano, rosemary, and many others are high in polyphenols and antioxidants.
- Drink primarily water to stay hydrated. Just regular ‘ol water is all you need.
- Meal prep for the week so that good food is at the ready when you need it.
- More detailed ideas can be found here or just ask me!
Don’t try to do everything at once. Be mindful with your nutrition, make minor changes, then gradually make more. Baby steps, that seems to work best for many. What doesn’t seem to work for many are short-term challenges where you make drastic changes only to go back to bad habits.
You can make the changes! Don’t believe me? I used to be overweight with high cholesterol, smoked, drank alcohol, and suffered for DECADES as a result. But I made changes (and have more to make). If I can, certainly YOU CAN too.