Friday, 31 August 2012

What kills us...


You know that phrase - you are what you eat?  Well, actually, yeah - your body takes what you put into it and uses it to make you - from the inside out. 
During the summer holidays, a friend had a heart attack.  He’s okay but he’s got to have a bypass.  Could he have prevented it?  Well, I’m no doctor but I can’t help but wonder if eating like it were an Olympian sport, drinking like the proverbial fish and not exercising allied with a big dollop of stress probably had something to do with it.  And y’know, heart disease kills someone every 39 seconds – howzat for a depressing fact for a Friday afternoon?  
I can’t remember quite why, but the other day I looked up the statistics for what causes the most deaths.  It varies a little, depending on where you live but, if you look at the world as a whole, heart disease is the #1  killer.  Road traffic accidents come in at #10 if you were wondering (just five people per year are killed by sharks, one less than those who exit this mortal coil courtesy of rollercoasters).  
Actually the stats make really interesting reading.  For example, cancer only makes a top ten appearance in high-income countries.  Makes you wonder, huh?

But anyhow.  I have  no right to come over all holier than thou and, let’s be honest, most of us do pretty similar stuff, albeit maybe not quite so extreme.  We eat stuff that is crap for us because…we like the taste. We don’t want to be deprived.  Or maybe it is even more perverse than that.  I don’t particularly adore food but lately I’ve been punishing myself with it.  I know it’s stupid, really stupid but hey, sometimes you stop caring about yourself, huh?  So I’ve been sloshing down wine (and feeling like absolute shite) and necking back cheese (makes me snotty and mucusy) and chomping on bread (churns my guts and makes me fart something rotten). Jesus, this is too painfully honest, even for me.  I know, I know, I know. I kicked the crap - for a long time.  And, for pity's sake, I write self-help books; I’m supposedly a health writer – I know this stuff.  I can feel all too well what works for my body and what doesn’t. 

But here’s the really interesting thing.  Since pursuing my recent anti-health cum death-wish food regime I’ve been clobbered by a really shitty attack of auto-immune related rheumatism…something I’ve been pretty well clear of for…well…ages.  And all self-inflicted, eh? How freaking stupid is that? 

So, enough already.  I’ve done the dirty and I’ve paid the price so now it’s back to being kind to my body - foodwise.  Cos, really, is it worth feeling shite and risking your health just for the sake of how a bit of grub feels in your mouth for a few minutes? 

I truly believe that food plays a part in the harm or heal equation. It's not the only thing, of course (the mind is the major player), but it does make a big difference.  If you want to feel good (and to kick one helluva lot of health issues into touch) maybe start by looking at what you put in your mouth.  It’s not a one size fits all thingy – you have to play around a bit and find out what works for you.  But, hate to break it to you guys, it’s not likely to be cupcakes, steak butties and gin. 

15 comments:

Midlife Singlemum said...

I really want to and need to eat a more healthy diet. The problem is deciding what is in and what is out. I know that you are a vegetarian and in this post I read that you don't want to eat cheese or bread. What do you eat. This is a serious question - I need some advice on what and why. Thank you in advance.

Writer Pat Newcombe said...

aaaaw.... But I like it..... Seriously, you are so right but it is hard sometimes.

the veg artist said...

Totally with you on this. Over the years I have had to learn what my body can tolerate (not that I was ever a junk food girl!) as I have psoriasis and arthritis, and am also a coeliac. I like Michael Pollan's advice about not eating anything our grandmothers would not recognise!
And for anyone considering cutting out bread - you should know that gluten, which is the trouble-maker, is added to loads of other stuff that you wouldn't even dream of!

Everything czyli wszystko said...

Don't bother. They'll all die anyhow.

Exmoorjane said...

@Rachel - I know you do, hon. But really it's something you have to figure out for you...by trial and error really. What do I eat? You sure you wanna know? :) Well, mainly, a lot of vegetables, nuts, seeds, pulses, legumes, tofu...some fruit; some eggs...tons of herbs and spices. I ate like a queen in Israel (AMAZING veggie food) but don't cook much here... maybe the odd pot of dhal or khicadi. But, like I say, food doesn't really rock my boat. If it does, it's much tougher.

@Pat - yeah, it can be hard...if you like it. :)

@TVA - yup, tons of hidden gluten. I don't really eat processed food so not an issue for me but it's a good point and a lot of people don't know.

@ET - Sooner rather than later... :( But I try, I try again. :)

Ross Mountney said...

Totally agree Jane - we are all responsible for ourselves after all - says she very irresponsibly addicted to chocolate and sweet things! But I've noticed too how not only food but also upset can make my body ache far more than a gruelling walk!

Zoë said...

Having spent the past 48 hours recovering from a serious dose of food poisoning (scallops)- I am completely off food. I cant face anything.

This for a diabetic is a problem in itself, because not eating can lead to coma and death! I have never been a glutton, but food for me for the past 4 years since succumbing to steroid induced diabetes has been a real problem bug bear, where every morsel you eat has to be considered. It gets seriously tedious and food is no longer the pleasure it once was, it is now just a means to an end. Eat the right quantities of each food group to maintain blood sugar levels at the right place and maintain general health. There are people in Africa and elsewhere who would like my food issues though. I tend to stick to a low GI diet, and avoid all refined sugars. That said I have been sucking dextrose tablets and brown sugar cubes to stop myself having a hypo since the scallops got me.

I think if you are food intolerant, then its best just to avoid the foods that upset you, its no different than giving up smoking, its about changing habits.

Everything in moderation as they say.

Exmoorjane said...

@Ross - yup, I suspect my bout of rheumatism has a lot to do with state of mind as well as diet.

@Zoe - oh no! Tried arsenicum? Balancing diabetes is a tough nut...my pal Jane has just got an insulin pump which apparently makes it less of a nightmare. Is that possible? The Viva Mayr clinic in Austria actually says it can kick a lot of diabetes into touch...amazing place but bloody expensive. :(

ain't for city gals said...

Sometimes we can be our own worse enemy ...I'm right with you on this...

Rob-bear said...

My first thought was, "What kills us . . . does not make us better."

But, yes, the kind of food we put into us really determines an outcome. And living healthy in a world like ours takes a fair bit of arranging. And re-learning. Abd self-discipline!

Fruits, vegetables, maybe some meat (definitely need protein), watch the bread. Organic is good, if you can afford it. Likewise, gluten-free.

I'm in the learning process.

Ashen said...

To cut through committed braincells it's sometimes worth using a PENDULUM and ask you body what food it likes. Use some item that swings easily on a thread. To start with ask it's language for YES, in my case a horizontal swing. From there on, each time you want an answer first ask if it's all right to ask before you put your question, because sometimes the mind is too tumultuous to let the message through.

Everything czyli wszystko said...

'Eat healthy food - you'll die healthier.' (Copyright © Marek Stefanowicz 1913 :o)

Exmoorjane said...

@ain't...ain't it a fact? :(

@Bear - implacable logic there.

@Ashen - yeah, I have a pendulum...but it is chronically undecided...about everything. :)

@ET - "Wishing is all I can do really." Copyright Marek Stefanowicz 2009. All right reserved. :)

Everything czyli wszystko said...

Live a healthy life - and you'll die a healthy death. And the only thing that can ever (REALLY) kill you is your own...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FTN7_LShDbo

(6 brynci)

Technogran said...

Fruit and vegetables, that's all we really need, seeing as we are descended from apes, we shouldn't eat any meat but...as you so rightly say, it tastes so good. It's hard sticking to a healthy diet.