As I mentioned in my last blog, my friend Pamela and I have been sharing the many life journeys, including the one dealing with health. She agreed to share more of our perspectives in the entry below. I’ll be listing two notes from her to keep it all together. Thanks Pamela.
This article has provided the impetus for me to send along a few thoughts about what has worked for me in staying healthy.
1.Eliminating transfats, also known as partially hydrogenated oils, was going to be my number 1 suggestion for improving one’s health. And as it is going to take (at least) another 3 years for it to be completely banned, I guess it still is. The current literature on this subject is so compelling (see article linked below) that even the high priced lobbyists who have managed to keep this dangerous contaminant in our food supply appear to be losing their expensive war.
2. Read labels of everything you purchase. My rule of thumb is: short labels are usually associated with good and safe products, long labels with unpronounceable ingredients are usually full of chemical compounds that are risky. Remember, buyer beware is a useful way to think about everything that you are buying. Our government was sold some time ago, and not to us.
3.Another fat I do not eat is cottonseed oil. The literature is very conflicting about whether or not the claims that cottonseed oil is high in pesticides due to the large amount and number of pesticides used in cotton growing is true or not. I do know that if I happen to eat something with cottonseed oil in it, I do not feel well. Nuts, candy bars, even expensive chocolates, and commercially prepared pastries all likely to contain them. Read labels!
4. Our health care system is not about health but about illness and it certainly isn’t a system. The incentives are a mess. Usually no one gets paid if you are well. Ponder the implications of this fact as you make health care decisions. Treat health care decision making as you would any other business transaction. Read, learn, ask questions and find a health care provider who is glad you do.
Have compassion for the people who were drawn to these helping professions and now find themselves spending more time with insurance companies than with patients. A recent article I read said that doctors have the highest suicide rate of any profession. Heartbreaking.
5. Don’t try to make too many changes at once. You will make yourself crazy worried and that is decidedly not good for your health. Make the easy changes first. Eliminating favorite foods is hard. Switching to chemical free soaps, body and laundry, is easy.
6. Most other health traditions in the world have long recognized that ” one size does not fit all.” This has been a necessary working hypothesis for me. Listen to your body. For example, I would love to become a vegetarian but if I eliminate all meat from my diet, I feel unwell. ( I was very glad to read that the Dali Lama had the same experience, giving me some comfort.) I now live in an area where it is difficult to get meat from humanely raised animals. So I practice gratitude – when I remember.
My genetic code derives from thousands of years of northern European meat eaters. They also ate butter, drank full fat milk and so do I.
I rarely eat breakfast. I am not hungry then.
On the other hand, my adopted East Asian Indian daughter does not fell well without lots of rice and vegetables in her diet and an early morning meal.
7. Did you know that the dietary restrictions/ recommendations about low fat diets were recently and quietly lifted?
As my nutrition professor knew from research conducted 40 years ago, dietary changes only affect your body cholesterol readings for a few weeks and then they return to their earlier readings.
Which takes me to statins. Please read very carefully before taking these drugs or continuing to take them. I will send a link in another article written by a physician who has much research and academic knowledge and strongly recommends that they not be taken prophylactically, that is, not unless you actually have symptoms of cardiovascular disease.
8, Try to have at least one good laugh a day. And avoid loud and vexatious people as much as possible.
9. Life is a finite experience. I want to enjoy it as much as possible and move on to my next adventure when that’s no longer possible. My family and friends are clear about my end of this life wishes. And I have promised to torment them from wherever I am if they try to keep my no longer functioning carcass “alive” with ventilators etc. I hope I don’t have to move to Oregon to receive the same care we would not dream of withholding from a beloved pet at the end of his or her life. Did you know that the majority of people in Oregon who qualify for and are given life ending drugs for future use, never use them? Knowing you can use them if you choose eliminates the fear that life will become too painful and the decision will be out of your control. How can we accelerate the adoption of this law everywhere? Why is it that people who loudly proclaim their support for personal freedom are so opposed to so many of them?
I am pondering this.
Here is the article about statin risk that I mentioned.
Since I read this article several weeks ago, the FDA has published new warnings and guidelines.
Anyone taking statins or considering taking statins should Google “statin risk factors” and read.
There clearly appear to be some very good reasons for taking statins but for a much smaller population of people than for whom they are currently prescribed.