Healthy Diet

“Experts estimate that, in Canada, poor diets and physical inactivity together are responsible for $6 billion to $10 billion in health care costs and lost productivity due to premature death and disability annually,” says the Centre for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI).

Poor diets and physical inactivity? Yeah, you have heard it all before.

You will hear more about it this month – because March is Nutrition Month.

March is also Kidney Month. February was Heart Month. And April is going to be something else.

In February, we also had Valentine’s Day. That means chocolates, dinners and flowers. Then there was Family Day and a week of school holidays. Followed by a spell of cold weather and snow. Not to mention the flu season.

Come to think of it, none of these events are good for an average family to be consistent in providing good nutrition and promoting physical activity amongst family members.

Easter is coming soon and there will be Easter Eggs and more chocolates and more dinners and more school holidays. This will be followed by Father’s Day and Mother’s Day. I think there is Grandmother’s Day as well but nobody talks about it.

Then comes summer holidays and Christmas shopping and more holidays. More chocolates, more food, more booze and more parties. By the time we recover from our hangover, we will be staring at 2004 and a bulging mid-riff.

It will be time for more New Year’s Resolutions!

Some people find this scenario very depressing. I think there is a conspiracy to keep us fat and unfit. The conspirators want us to suffer from multiple medical problems like diabetes, arthritis, heart disease, high blood pressure, cancer and depression.

Now, is there a way out of this?

Sure. You don’t have to be James Bond or Tiger Woods to know that there is always a way out of any situation. Only John Turner would go on national television and say, “Sir, I didn’t have a choice!” That is why nobody remembers him or talks about him.

But we talk about James Bond and Tiger Woods – and pay big bucks to watch them. But when was the last time you saw John Turner on television? Do you know he is our former Prime Minister?

So, we have a choice to make – either we succumb to the overbearing pressure from the conspirators (our co-workers, friends, families and the greedy food industry) to keep us fat and sick or be strong and independent and find freedom in eating healthy and exercising regularly.

If you choose the path of freedom then I would suggest you seek professional help to guide you through a well planned program of healthy eating and exercise within your limitations. A program which can be sustained over a long period of time.

There are many organizations in Medicine Hat who provide such professional help. For example, YMCA has special financial assistance program for those who cannot afford to pursue healthy lifestyle due to difficult economic situation.

I would also encourage you to look at the following two books which I try to follow:

-Dr. Dean Ornish’s Program for Reversing Heart Disease
-Dr. Shapiro’s Picture Perfect Weight Loss

I also liked the flyer (Healthy Living for a Healthy U) in March 10th Medicine Hat News. There are many books in the market or at the local library. Try to stick to one or two and don’t get confused or too ambitious. Rome was not built in a day!

What to eat? I like the Mayo Clinic Healthy Weight Pyramid. Unlimited fruits (minimum three) and vegetables (minimum four). Carbohydrates – four to eight daily servings. Protein/Dairy products – three to seven daily servings. Fats – three to five daily servings. Sweets – up to 75 calories daily. Combine this with daily physical activity.

How much physical activity? Any where from half-an-hour to an hour daily – gentle or brisk activity as your health and physical condition allows. Check with your doctor.

Success is yours, if you believe in it. Otherwise, don’t waste your time and money.

Start reading the preview of my book A Doctor's Journey for free on Amazon. Available on Kindle for $2.99!

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