I have heard it all. “I only eat mushrooms that are grown next to an organic farm in the Andes.” “I eat Paleo.” “I won’t eat anything with eyes or a mother.” “I only eat eyes.” “I have one word for you – keto.” “Only jackasses don’t eat whatever they want.” “ I am on the seafood diet – I ‘see food’ and I eat it.” “I listen to my body and decide based on muscle-testing.” “Nothing that is not organic passes these lips.” “Pass the pesticides.” “I have O negative blood – enough said.”
Much like gasoline in a car – we intake, we burn and we rack up miles with what we consume.
I subscribe (not perfectly) to a whole foods, plant-based diet – WFPB for short. Sounds terrible, I know. (The amount of profanity you could construct trying to guess what that acronym is could boggle the mind.) Why should you care? Well, if you are my patient, I will not be quiet about the benefits of eating this way and the copious amount of research behind it. If you are my family/friends, you already know about this topic. I am not being paid to lecture you continuously so I will eventually stop. Promise.
“Food is fuel.”
Food is a contentious topic but I agree with the recent Special K commercials: “Food is fuel.” Much like gasoline in a car – we intake, we burn and we rack up miles with what we consume. However there are clean burning fuel sources and others that do not serve us as well. Throwing in some nicely seasoned firewood will get you a lot farther than, say, tossing a small, couch cushion into your stove. Both will, most likely, burn but one will leave some ash while another is going to leave behind a much larger mess.
When you remove the food that is not serving you as well, it makes room on your plate for something that will give your body good building blocks and will make your microbiome do a little happy dance. I should say a happy dance that won’t send you running for the bathroom. (Ok, I lied. Pooping becomes a much bigger event. But generally a faster event. More like an Olympic luge than a curling tournament.)
In the US, we like to keel over from heart disease. It is our number one cause of death but who cares about that? We all die. Moving on. What we don’t do, however, is LIVE well. Apparently, we like to linger in a state of ill-health before death. Heart disease and diabetes lead to things like, say, strokes (a.k.a cerebral vascular accidents.) CVAs are super sexy and everyone wants to have one. No, wait – we have wandered back to the pooping but this time you are doing it into a diaper. Strokes are the number one cause of long-term disability according to the CDC. No thanks. Pass the broccoli.
Instead of focusing on what I do not eat, I spend a good amount of time savoring what I do consume. My palate has expanded and my appreciation for varied/interesting food has exploded. I have given up so little and have found so much more. I prescribe to the Jane Esselstyn way of living. Taking the focus off of how we look and giving more attention to what our bodies can do/where they can take us. No more naval gazing- just absolutely enjoying ever second of this life. In the words of Kim Williams, former president of the American College of Cardiology, “I know I am going to die. I just don’t want it to be my fault.”
If this is something that peaks your interest, let me know. There are tons of books ( How Not to Die, Engine2, The Cheese Trap, etc) and loads of podcasts (Rich Roll, No Meat Athlete, Spud Fit, etc ). And if you like a little health propaganda in the medium of film there are also loads of options (Forks Over Knives, What the Health, Food Choices, The Game Changers (soon to be released), etc)
Death is inevitable but enjoying every second that I HAVE is the plan. Nothing will counteract a poor diet so enjoy a rich life. Eat WFPB.