Being Proactive

I was following up on some notes I took during a seminar this morning. It led me to drfranklipman.com. On his philosophy page, I ran across this statement:

Good Health Requires
One To Be Proactive

“Becoming proactive in one’s health is essential but difficult because there are so many powerful social, economic, and political forces that work to undermine our ability to be truly healthy. From the processed food industries to the pharmaceutical companies, our culture has become susceptible to large scale, well-funded interests that make money by perpetuating an unhealthy system. This has created conditions in our society that support rather than prevent disease. As consumers, we cannot be passive anymore. We need to take responsibility for our own health, the health of our families, our society, and the world at large. The small choices we make on a daily basis affect our resilience, our health, and our quality of life.”

That statement really struck a chord with me. As a vegan, I feel like I’m swimming upstream at times. Lipman’s statement explains why. There are numerous vested interests that guide us to make unhealthy choices in our eating without even realizing the deleterious effects. Along with the processed food industries, Americans are bombarded by massive advertising by the meat industry, dairy industry, and the American Egg Board. Do you realize that the Egg Board is not allowed to advertise that eggs are either healthy or nutritious? See http://nutritionfacts.org/video/who-says-eggs-arent-healthy-or-safe/ And it is little secret that our health care system, driven by the drug industry and health insurance companies, perpetuate America’s dependence on drugs rather than teaching us how to eat well and be healthy.

If we just let ourselves go with the flow, we can get swept away downstream, totally unaware of how our daily food choices affect our long-term health. It’s easy to be tempted by the convenience of fast food eateries and packaged foods at the markets. We are inundated with advertising by the meat, dairy, and egg industries. Unfortunately eating these products has led to epidemic levels of obesity, hypertension, heart disease, and diabetes in the United States. Sixty-five percent of adults aged 20 years or older in the US are either overweight or obese, leading to over 280,000 deaths per year. More than 64 million Americans have cardiovascular disease, which represents the leading cause of mortality in the US, 38.5% (American Heart Association). Fifty million American are hypertensive, 11 million have type 2 diabetes, and 37 million adults have high-risk cholesterol concentrations (American Heart Association). Cancer is the second leading cause of death (25%) in the US, and an estimate one-third of these deaths are due to nutritional factors (American Cancer Society).

As Lipman says, we can no longer be passive consumers. We need to take responsibility for our health by making small healthy choices on a daily basis.

The good news is that it is getting easier and easier to lead a healthy plant-strong life. Restaurants are including more vegan and vegetarian options. Local farmers markets make it easy to obtain farm fresh produce, and even supermarket chains are including more organic produce. Wonderful companies like Gardein and Walden Farms are making tasty alternatives to meat, dairy, and sugar-filled foods. There are plenty of vegan and raw-food meet ups that provide classes and other support. And there are an amazing number of vegan blogs and websites that provide recipes, tips, and more.

So, do yourself and your health a favor. Spend a little time learning about healthier eating options. Check out some of the videos by Dr. Greger at nutrition facts.org. It’s an entertaining way to elevate your awareness and find out what the latest research says about nutrition. It will motivate you to make those small choices toward healthy eating each day. To see how Donna and I made our transition to a plant-strong lifestyle and how we maintain it, search for the series of Vege Story posts on this blogsite. Be well.

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