What’s Up Doc?

Do the same ‘foods’ that make us sick and fat also make us mad? Carrie Steele has been looking into it.

honest_labels_600MORE PEOPLE ARE chronically ill now than in the history of the world, and the current approach for treating chronic diseases (like obesity, diabetes) is a miserable failure.
According to Dr Mark Hyman, MD and four times new New York Times bestselling author, “we have eaten ourselves into this problem and now we have to eat ourselves out of it.”
The more ‘voices of the food revolution’ I listen to, the more astounded I become at just how powerful making the right food choices in life are, from the cradle to the grave. Dr Hyman’s message was loud and clear: what’s at the end of our forks can be far more valuable than anything found in a pill bottle.
Have you heard of Type 3 Diabetes? I hadn’t, until I heard Dr Hyman refer to certain types of dementia in this way. It seems it is becoming pretty clear (to those interested in listening) that diabetes, heart disease, cancer, stroke and dementia have a lot in common, and since the rates of all these diseases are steadily increasing, it would certainly seem a fair assumption to presume that they likely share causes, too.
healthy food cartoonI Googled ‘Type 3 Diabetes’ and found some interesting references and reading, including some good explanations about how the effect of certain foods creates insulin resistance, and the resulting havoc that ensues in our bodies, including our brains.
One of the most stunning revelations I’ve read time and time again is that dementia is not a natural part of aging. And if it’s not natural, then that means that we should be able to avoid it, which has got to be good news. If there’s even a possibility that the same animal proteins/processed foods/sugary junk foods that make us sick and fat also drive us mad, then surely that’s reason enough to give them all a wide berth, starting from today?
Dr Hyman talks about people at the grass roots needing to create change, and how that has to happen before policies in government change, not the other way around. Until then, what we know from science won’t be reflected in public policy. We need to take back our own health and make our own choices. We need to steer away from the assumption that certain diseases are genetic, and accept that what we inherit is habits, not diseases.
Think about it for a moment: don’t most of us continue through life on more or less the same diet we were raised on? Favourite family recipes are faithfully recorded and always presented at special gatherings, and most sons in particular (aside from mine, because I gave him no reason to) talk about no one being able to make certain things the way their mother can, or did.
There’s a lot of emotion tied up with the tradition of food, and it’s a harsh wake-up call to turn around and accept that what you’ve fed your family for the last 25 or so is not the optimal diet. How many times have you heard the old excuse to resist change: “My family ate that way their whole lives and it didn’t do them any harm”? How often is that statement really true? It doesn’t usually take much probing to find out about the relatives who died prematurely of heart disease or cancer, the parents or grandparents with Alzheimers living in a secure rest home facility, or the cholesterol or blood pressure pills that the person themselves is taking. That’s the same person who insists that their lifestyle has ‘done them no harm’.
article-new-ehow-images-a05-0r-8j-difference-between-alzheimers-dementia-800x800Imagine if the world’s biggest epidemic (Type 2 Diabetes) was almost totally preventable? It’s difficult to dispute that idea if you accept that it is critical where our calories come from. I loved the positivity of Dr Hyman’s vision. We really can turn things around, if we learn from our mistakes and change our behaviour. It is nothing less than stunning the difference food choices can make in our lives; and according to Dr Hyman, as far as the planet goes, it is better to drive a Hummer and be a vegetarian, than a Prius and be a meat eater. CARRIE STEELE

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