Monday, March 8, 2010

Are You Nutritionally Self-Destructive?

Do You Get It: I Sincerely Hope So

With the crashing thud of incredulity, my jaw hit the floor of the Cardio Cath lab last week.
Due to an artificial heart valve, I occasionally need to be electronically jolted out of atrial fib into normal rhythm. It was successful I’m pleased to proclaim. However, there was this guy in the next bay being comforted by his wife whilst receiving his instructions prior to a stent procedure to unblock his clogged arteries. The nurse asked what prescriptions he was taking (12) and then what he desired to eat after surgery. He paused, hummed and hawed then landed on Biscuits and Gravy, bacon, hash browns and coffee with cream. “What the…”, I stammered under my breath. In 1988 after I kissed the dark scepter of death on the lips and lived to tell of it, I was abundantly motivated to educate myself and then to change my diet perceptions, but everyone is different. I quickly discovered when you change your diet; you change your life, which is what is all about.
Then, as if that wasn’t sufficient to reboot my heart, I gazed up and witnessed an attractive elderly gal shuffling in for cardiac rehab toting a bag of burgers, fries and milk shake. Holy crap, they just don’t get it; make the connection between food and disease. My dear sweet Lord, don’t they notice they’re eating the same foods that got them into poor health? I was stunned but hardly speechless, and if you knew me, you’d appreciate the significance of that statement.
In the age of uber-information, it’s heart breaking to watch decent, good-hearted folks continue ladling into the savory stew of ill health and then grumble how much they spend on pharmaceuticals and heart surgery. Not to mention how this all elevates the cost of healthcare for everyone.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly a quarter of all Americans between 20 and 75 have hypertension while roughly 70 percent of those over 75 have it. Hypertension is caused by little or no exercise, poor diet, obesity, older age but rarely genetics. Food which set us up for heart disease are butter, animal renderings, bacon, bologna, hot dogs, gravy, cream sauce, non-dairy creamers, sugar, hydrogenated margarine, shortening , cocoa butter found in chocolate, cottonseed and palm-kernel oils; all ingredients your find lurking in chain restaurants pantries. You know why they call it shortening, right? It shortens your life.
Yes, I’m an unabashed zealot, so when I’m driving down US 31 and see the endless assortment of chain restaurants brimming with gaggles of rotund folks, or when I enter a Steak and Shake for tea and watch an elderly gal with a tripod walker and oxygen tank struggle to get to a booth then orders Chili Fries, I naturally cringe in sadness and bewilderment. Either they don’t read or they’ve simply given up because they believe they cannot succeed. One would assume the proposition of death would be ample motivation, but apparently not. Science has proven these ‘bad’ foods temporarily make us feel groovy and of course, everyone wants to feel good. The question we must ask ourselves; is a moment of instant gratification worth a $60,000 ICU rendezvous or worse?
It’s up to us to fend off the temptation of harmful foods we’ve been encouraged to eat all our lives. Disease takes years to manifest itself, so making small changes now can be the best preventive measure. Is it time for you to wean yourself off particular foods scientifically reputed to cause disease and death? Are you motivated into embracing our innate, preordained diet set forth by a generous, loving creator? It would seem the tasty solution to this challenge is to get out of our own way. I know you can do it!

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