Be Proactive in Preventing or Reversing Disease.
This is why I recently read How Not to Die, by Michael Greger with Gene Stone and founder of Nutrionfacts.org a self-sustaining non-profit organization. Their mission is to empower individuals to share what to eat to prevent and reverse disease and make it accessible and available to everyone. In the book Greger lays out specifics for preventing, arresting or reversing our leading health killers. He has found that people don’t die of old age but die from disease, most commonly heart attack.
Perfect reading to Prevent or Reverse Disease
The book is fantastic, and I highly recommend it to everyone who is looking to prevent a premature death. He states that our diet is the number one cause of our diseases.
Back in 1903, Thomas Edison predicted that “the doctor of the future will give no medicines, but will instruct the patient in the care of (the) human frame in diet and in the cause and prevention of diseases”.
There is a pandemic of chronic diseases dominated by a diet of animal sourced and processed food or for example:
- Refined grains
Use Whole Plant Foods and Minimize Animal Based Foods
When we eat to prevent or reverse disease we should maximize the intake of whole plant foods and minimize animal based foods and processed junk food. Dr. Greger simplified the equation to that of a traffic light-just as the road signal green means OK to go, yellow caution and red-stop.
Green=unprocessed plant food
Yellow=Processed plant foods, unprocessed animal foods
Red=Ultra processed plant foods processed animal foods
In an interesting section of the book he shares with us WWDGE: What Would Dr. Greger Eat?
- Other Fruits
- Cruciferous Vegetables
- Other Vegetables
- Whole Grains
Here is What a Meal Might Look Like
One quarter of your plate should be one quarter filled with grains, one quarter with legumes, and half plate filled with vegetables, along with a side salad and fruit for dessert. One bowl meals work great also. If your day is hectic, try piecing something together that is as much of a healthy meal as possible. If you eat poorly one day, just try to eat better the next.
Should you eat your veggies raw or cooked? Should it be organic or conventional okay? What about GMO? Gluten? All of these questions are answered in the book in detail. There are lots of cool ways to get your servings in such as a quarter cup of hummus or bean dip. A serving of grains might be a half cup of hot cereal , a tortilla or slice of bread, or three cups of popped popcorn. A serving size in the beverage category is one glass (twelve ounces), and the recommended five glasses a day is in addition to the water you get naturally from the foods in your diet. This may all sound a little intimidating but a simple peanut butter and banana sandwich will check off four boxes on your daily dozen list.
A Daily Serving of Exercise
If you think you will get off light with 1 daily serving of exercise it might need to be divided up through out the day. Greger recommends ninety minutes of moderate-intensity activity, such as brisk (four miles per hour) walking or forty minutes of vigorous activity (such as jogging or active sports) each day. He explains why in the chapter on Exercise.
A Simple Four Steps to Healthy Lifestyle Can Impact Prevention of Chronic Disease
The four Lifestyle Factors are:
- Not smoking
- Not being obese
- Getting a half hour of exercise a day
- Eating Healthier
These four factors alone account for 78 percent of chronic disease risk. If you start and manage to control all four, you may be able to wipe out the more than 90 percent of your risk of developing diabetes, more than 80 percent of your risk of having a heart attack, cut by half your risk of having a stroke, and reduce your overall cancer risk by more than one-third. Like he states in the book, maybe it’s time we stop blaming genetics and focus on the more than 70 percent that is directly under our control.
Most doctor visits are for lifestyle-based diseases, which means they’re preventable diseases. Most physicians are trained, not to treat the root cause but rather the consequences by giving a lifetime’s worth of medications to treat risk factors like high blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol.
Treating the Cause
This treatment is not only safer and cheaper but it can work better. But, no one profits from lifestyle medicine (other than the patient!) The medical system is set up to reward prescribing pills and procedures, not produce.
In conclusion, How Not To Die is about how not to die prematurely. His message is that WE HAVE THE POWER over your health destiny. A large portion of premature deaths are preventable with simple changes in what you eat and how you live. A long and healthy life is a matter of choice, take responsibility for your and your family’s health.
Here’s to a healthy fulfilling life.
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