Now that we are a little over one month into a new year, it’s time to take a preliminary look at how your 2012 is beginning to shape up. Since this Blog is focused on our eating habits and our health or fitness, let’s keep the conversation in that narrow window. Since the middle of December I established a Blog website (healthyheartveganliving.com), explained to everyone what the purpose of the Blog would be, then made three Posts. I have received many favorable comments both on the Blog and directly on my Twitter, Facebook or e-mail accounts. Trust me I am most appreciative to those who took the time to send me your thoughts!! I have had a few questions raised concerning how someone, who is not committed to making a TOTAL change to their lifestyle or eating habits, could begin to gradually get started in a plan that will ultimately improve their health. To this end, I want to direct the rest of my comments in today’s Post.
When I first had an inkling of interest in this area of health, preventing and possibly reversing diseases, I read comments or heard people speak of eating “Veganish” or “vegan-like” and I wasn’t exactly sure what they meant by those comments. Upon further study and examining the literature, I quickly learned that many, many people consider the term “Vegan” as being too extreme for them to embrace in one step or at all, however they do want to “lean into” the Vegan concept, or “put a toe in the water” of the Vegan concept to make sure they first, like the concept and secondly, can they make the changes in their life to make this a life-long way of living instead of just “something else” they start, then stop, as they have done many other things before. So let me assure you, and reassure you, that if you are having some doubts about making changes to a complete Vegan lifestyle, you are certainly not alone. The main question is, “Do you really want to reduce the possibility of health problems or catastrophic medical events occurring in your future?” If the answer to that question is, “Yes” then you need to carefully consider just how you are going to address the changes necessary in your present lifestyle that will be necessary to make that happen. We now know, based on the scientific evidence collected over the last 50+ years that many of the “dreaded diseases” we face today are almost totally controlled by the “diet and lifestyle” choices we make every day, NOT our genes. As I understand the concept, genes predispose us to a particular disease or to specific diseases, however the nutrients/foods we eat are the driving force which makes the disease or diseases actually happen. I realize some will consider this explanation an extreme over simplification of the process, but I don’t want anybody to feel like I’m writing a textbook.
In an earlier Post I spoke about the spectrum of health/disease. Normally, we think of a “spectrum” of anything, i.e. color, sound, etc., as including the extremes, and all points in between, i.e. low—high, dark—-light, bad—good, poor health—excellent health, etc., etc. One of my mentors, Dr. Dean Ornish, Cardiologist and Professor/Researcher at the University of California School of Medicine at San Francisco, wrote a book, titled The Spectrum. In this book Dr. Ornish discusses the “spectrum concepts” concerning such things as nutrition, stress management, cholesterol levels, weight loss, lowering blood pressure, preventing and reversing Type 2 Diabetes, just to name a few. He basically said that each person needs either a “Pound of Prevention” or the “Pound of Cure” depending on how they view their own personal health. I think it’s a very good way to explain very many situations in our life, there’s no such thing as “one size fits all.” In the final analysis, each of us must: 1) evaluate “the level” of our health today, 2) determine our goals of where we want to be, or not to be, 3) develop our plan of attack, then 4) carry out the plan….sound simple? It really is!! Please remember, “keep it simple, have fun and never, never lose sight of your dreams and goals!!!!!”
Having said all this let me remind you that only YOU have ownership of your health. My strongest “wish and hope” is that you improve it and live a very long and fruitful life!!!
In closing, please let me share with you a Post I read a few days ago on Facebook by another one of my mentors, Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, author of the book, Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease. Someone asked him the question, concerning his plant-based diet, “Is this diet too extreme?” His answer was, “A Western diet guarantees there will be half a million people who have to have the front half of their bodies divided, their heart exposed, then veins will be taken from their leg and sewn on their heart. Some people would call that extreme.”
As I previously said, in one of my earlier Blogs, “…just a few years ago I was the ‘Poster Child’ for all the things you can do to help destroy your health.” As a result, three heart surgeries within 19 months and prostate cancer surgery two years later…now that’s EXTREME. A thought right here might be in the form of a question…Would you rather spend 5% of your time each day improving your health and preventing disease or later on spend almost 100% of your time recovering from the consequences of the disease?
I’d love to hear from you. Let’s spend a few minutes “talking about anything related to this subject” soon in the next Post.
Milton V. Massey, DDS