Food for Thought
Recently, I watched a life-changing documentary on Netflix called, ‘What the Health.’ If you have not had the opportunity to view this
documentary, I strongly urge you to do so. The film begins by citing a quote from the Greek philosopher, Hippocrates, that says, ‘Let food be thy
medicine and medicine be thy food.’ My understanding of what Hippocrates is trying to tell us is that the foods we eat are our medicine. It
highlights the importance of watching what kinds of food we should be cautious about putting into our bodies.
One of the reasons that this documentary was so timely for me is because I recently had two stents placed in my arteries. One in the
circumflex and the other in the left anterior descending. The placement of these stents was a real eye-opener for me that I needed to start taking
my health more seriously. Diet and exercise have become much more of a priority for me. That said, after watching the documentary I gained a
great deal of knowledge about the types of foods we should be eating and more importantly, what we should not be eating that lead to diabetes,
high blood pressure, stroke, and cancer.
Worldwide, over 350 million people suffer from diabetes. In the United States, diabetes is 60 percent more prevalent in Blacks than in Whites.
And while there may be some genetic factors involved with this huge disparity, race and socioeconomic status are major contributing factors
as well. Latest estimates show that we spend over $322 billion on diabetes in America and people with the disease and the health care costs
for diabetics is triple that of Americans without the disease. The cost of treating diabetes is placing a tremendous burden on the healthcare
system as more and more Americans continue to become diabetic.
Following the placement of my stents, I decided to take a more critical look at the foods I was eating; particularly the foods I was eating that I
thought were good for me including various meats and dairy products. Always having been aware that red was not good for you, I continued to
consume it. There is a direct correlation between processed meats and various forms of cancer. In 2015, the World Health Organization
released a study that found that processed meats, including bacon and sausage, contain the most carcinogens and increase the chance of
getting colorectal cancer 18 percent when consuming as little as 50 grams of processed meats a day. Fifty grams is not a lot of meat. Meat
packages don’t come labeled the same way that cigarettes are labeled even though both are just as lethal.
Advocacy groups are now requesting that warning labels be placed on all processed meats such as hamburgers, nuggets, hotdogs, bacon,
salami, ham, and beef jerky. Eating these processed meats puts us at greater risk for various diseases like cancer. Various studies have
shown that there is a direct correlation between breast cancer and red meat and dairy consumption. When I went to the American Breast
Cancer Society website and viewed their list of sponsors, I was surprised to find Burger 21 and Burgers & Shakes listed as some of their
sponsors. Why would organizations like the ABCS or the Susie G. Komen Foundation take sponsorship dollars from the very companies that
are selling products that are killing us?
Pharmaceutical companies are cashing in big-time as well. A whopping 80 percent of all antibiotics go the dairy industry. These animals are
being treated for various airborne diseases which ultimately end up on our dinner plates. The key issue here is that there is very little
emphasis on prevention because the money is in the medicine not the cure. We keep eating the foods that make us sick. Big pharma makes
the medicines to treat it. The meat and dairy industry sponsor the very organizations that are supposed to protect us from getting sick.
And while I have spent considerable time discussing processed meats and dairies, it is also important to be mindful of eating chicken, turkey
and fish. For so many reasons, I have decided to go on a plant-based diet and consume lots of fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Dairy is no
longer a part of my diet as well. Yes, I am now a vegan. Never thought I would say that, but the fact of the matter is that the reasons for my
recent health ailments have been because of poor dietary choices.
I once read where at least 95 percent of your diet should be plant-based in order to reduce chronic diseases. Humans were never meant to be
carnivores. We are herbivores by nature that have been conditioned over time to become meat-eaters. In order to maintain a healthy lifestyle,
we must learn to reduce our consumption of meat and dairy. The bottom line is that the foods we eat should make us healthier. Not sicker.
Please watch the documentary and judge for yourself. Bon appetit.