Did you know that the average life span for Australian men is now 80 years of age and for women, it is 84? But the ‘health adjusted life expectancy’ (or HALE) is only 69 for men and 71 for women. Research tells us that we are living longer but that the last decade of our lives is often unhealthy. The number one cause? Obesity. Over 1/3 of Australian adults are overweight as are 1/4 of our children. This one factor alone is affecting our life expectancy and our quality of life due to its impact on cardiovascular diseases.
My theory is that the best gift I can give my family and my loved ones is to endeavor to live as long a life as possible and be as healthy as I can … within my power.
You can watch this episode on video at the Soul Food YouTube Channel.
Over 3 years ago, Nicole and I moved to a more whole food, plant-based diet. This was for health reasons with both of us having a history of high cholesterol and heart disease in our family. We have both benefited from this change, in increased energy, cholesterol reduction, and weight loss (for myself particularly).
I’ve lost over 10 kilograms in that time.
I’ll never forget bringing in the groceries a while back and Nicole noted that one bag of oranges weighs 3 kgs. By losing 10 kgs, it was the equivalent of me no longer carrying around over 3 bags of oranges! No wonder my energy and vitality has increased.
Dr. Michael Gregor is the author of the best-selling book How Not To Die: Discover the Foods Scientifically Proven to Prevent and Reverse Disease. In this book, he talks about the 13 leading causes of death in our time and shows how each one of them is affected by our diet, can be prevented by a healthy diet, and can even be reversed by adopting a healthier diet. His main point: we will all die one day … but why die of something totally preventable!
Imagine if instead of putting petrol into your car, you pour in gravel, oil, cordial, grass, and stones. Eventually, your car will break down. If you believe in God, you could pray and say, “God please heal my car!” Well, maybe God could heal your car … but will God heal your car? Probably not! You’ve been putting things into it that it was never designed to run on.
I think you get the point.
What we eat on a daily basis has a bigger affect on our health than anything else we do.
Increasing your intake of fruit and vegetables and decreasing your intake of sugars and processed foods will make an immediate difference to your health. In fact, of you want to lose weight, I think you’ll find that what you eat is even more important than the exercise you engage in.
Talk to a doctor or a dietitian if you need some help. But why not start making some small changes … today. Replace unhealthy foods with healthier alternatives. After all, every bite is a net gain or loss when it comes to our health. As they say, “Nothing tastes as good as healthy feels!”
It’s very important to note that obesity is a complex topic and is affected by social factors as much as nutritional ones. Food choices are massively influenced by income, knowledge, and skills.
Let’s recap our main points:
- We are living longer but less healthy lives.
- Many sicknesses and diseases are preventable and even reversible by adopting a healthy diet.
- What we eat on a daily basis has a bigger effect on our health than anything else we do.
That’s all for today. This has been Episode 14 of Soul Food with Mark Conner. See you next week!
P.S. There are many excellent resources and books about diet. I recommend the following but do speak with your doctor and compare the various opinions:
- Eat, Move, Sleep: How Small Choices Lead to Big Changes by Tom Rath.
- Forks Over Knives: the Plant-based Way to Health by Gene Stone.
- How Not to Diet by Dr. Michael Gregor.
- The China Study by T. Colin Campbell.
- What the Health documentary (currently on Netflix).
To listen to a 20-minute message on ‘How to Improve Your Physical Health’, visit Mark’s podcast channel.