Saturday, September 16, 2017

Until They Pass Berniecare... Maybe You Can Try A Healthier Diet


I grew up like everyone else from an American working class background-- eating pretty crappy food-- bacon and eggs for breakfast, ham and cheese for lunch, burgers, meatloaf, pot roast or some other crap for dinner. When I got to college I realized for the first time that there's another way of eating. She didn't consult me, but my girlfriend-- a great cook, was a vegetarian and before I ever made a decision to become one, I was one. After college, when everyone around me in Kabul was getting sick and crapping and puking on themselves, too weak to get up off the floor, I was fit as a fiddle (or as fit as a rubab at least). That's because everyone was eating meat-- those fly-covered carcasses we would see, unrefrigerated, hanging in the markets-- and I was still a vegetarian... and not drinking Coke or Pepsi because I was boycotting them over the massacre at Kent State. I still haven't has a sugary beverage since 1970.

Eventually, I managed to make my way back to Europe, utterly destitute, penniless. I found a macrobiotic restaurant inside the city-owned meditation center and a meal was a buck. And when I ran out of bucks, they hired me to wash dishes. Eventually I would up as the manager. But first, I was a chef. Me-- who had never heated up a pan of water. I learned how to make food, specifically how to make healthy food... how to shop for it, what to avoid, how to cut it and prepare it... everything. So decades later when I went to the hospital to be treated for cancer, my doctor said I was remarkably healthy for a man my age and would probably live through the treatment-- and I passed every physical test they give you before allowing you to get (expensive) experimental treatments. They check every organ in your body because they don't ant to spend a million bucks on you if you're gonna die anyway. So... lucky me that my girlfriend imposed vegetarianism on me.

Yesterday, Newsweek ran a piece, Eating Badly Is A Leading Cause Of Death Worldwide, New Study Shows, that explains how "a long list of benefits is associated with maintaining a nutritious, well-balanced diet, including added energy, weight control and a lower risk of diabetes."
A new study outlines the serious toll that poor nutrition can have on our well-being, and in some cases that even means death. In fact, about one in five deaths around the world in 2016 can be attributed to poor diet, making this one of the biggest killers, according to the study, The Global Burden of Disease.

“In particular, diets low in whole grains, fruit, nuts and seeds, fish oil and high in salt were the most common dietary risk factors,” the research team wrote in its report, published in The Lancet medical journal. “In addition, high blood glucose, high blood pressure, high body mass index [BMI], and high cholesterol were all in the top ten leading risk factors for death for men and women globally.”

All of these factors can be attributed to poor diet, as well as to other causes. Smoking was the only other risk factor to contribute to more deaths, reportedly killing about 7.1 million people in 2016.

“This is really large,” the study's lead author, Dr. Christopher Murray, director of the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington, told The Guardian. “It is amongst the really big problems in the world. It is a cluster that is getting worse.”

The findings also showed that while people are living longer, more years of their lives are spent being sick.

“Death is a powerful motivator, both for individuals and for countries, to address diseases that have been killing us at high rates. But we’ve been much less motivated to address issues leading to illnesses,” Murray told Reuters.

The findings also showed that less than 5 million children under the age 5 died in 2016, compared with more than 16 million in 1970.

“Yet, despite this progress, we are facing a triad of trouble holding back many nations and communities-- obesity, conflict and mental illness, including substance use disorders,” Murray said in a statement.

The IHME study is a collective effort by more than 2,500 researchers who analyzed data from more than 100 countries. Data from some countries are more comprehensive than that from other countries, and therefore the researchers used estimates to fill in missing information. Their findings were published Friday in a series of five papers.
So... unless you're one of those fabulists who think Señor Trumpanzee is going to suddenly embrace BernieCare, it's probably not going to be until 2021-- at the earliest-- that Medicare-For-All is going to pass. Before then, I suggest eating in a more healthy way-- maybe just knocking out refined sugar, probably the single best thing you can do for your health.

And then there's this-- from author Michael Chabon: "Every morning I wake up and in the seconds before I turn my phone on to see what the latest news is, I have this boundless sense of optimism and hope that this is the day that he’s going to have a massive stroke, and, you know, be carted out of the White House on a gurney and every day so far, I have been disappointed in that hope, but, you know, hope springs eternal; he’s an old guy, he doesn’t eat well, he’s overweight, he has terrible nutrition, he doesn’t exercise and it’s not that hard to imagine."

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At 6:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

When I turned 30, I decided to stop eating meat (a very long, long time ago). I also decided to change my cooking methods and eating habits. I have continued this regime, along with regular exercise all of my life. I maintain a healthy weight, low blood pressure, do not have any diseases which require drug therapy (so far, of course.) I have been ridiculed by friends, family and colleagues over these years. I have never weakened and never will. Of course, as you have experienced, there are always unforeseen things that can happen. But, I am still a true believer and wish that those who ridiculed me could enjoy my energy and good health. I truly believe, as you were told, that because of my diet and exercise, anything I do encounter will find me physically able to survive it.

At 7:17 PM, Blogger Gadfly said...

Besides nicotine, a drug that kills far more people than opiates?


At 7:47 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nothing makes me sicker than a sanctimonious vegetarian. Unless it's two sanctimonious vegetarians.

At 7:39 AM, Blogger Jill said...

I'd like to see us acknowledge that different people have different nutritional needs. A diet rich in grains does not work for me. On such a diet my A1C goes up and I am always hungry. I do best with animal proteins, fruits and vegetables, and a limited amount of whole grains. Refined sugar, I'll agree, is just plain BAD for you, and also addictive as hell.

I am also an outlier because as an unquestionably obese person, my blood pressure averages about 106/70, my LDL is under 130, my HDL is 59, and my A1C is in normal range.

At 8:48 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just try to find healthy food today. It's usually coated with pesticides and other chemicals toxic to human life. But someone sure makes a healthy profit off of poisoning humanity, don't they?

At 2:54 PM, Blogger Alice said...

well said, nutrition for the Trump years

At 7:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Do the diet thing. Berniecare ain't passing. bank on it. Corporations don't want it and will pay bigly to thwart it. Rs don't want it. R voters don't want it because their taxes will be used to pay for care for nonwhite nonmale nonstraight nonadult and elders... everyone they hate.
Ds don't want it and will gladly accept billions from corporations to thwart it.
D voters want it... but we wanted Bernie and a PO and to get out of Iraq and to put Jamie dimon and dick cheney in prison... lotta good wanting all those things does when we elect the democraps, eh?


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