Saturday, August 31, 2013

"Let Food be Thy Medicine.."

   "Let food be thy medicine and let medicine be thy food"--Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine, uttered these words some two thousand years ago and these words still hold true today. I recently met with a gentleman who was installing a high speed fiber line in my workplace. This gentleman was fit and appeared in excellent health, good humored as well. As he pulled a thousand feet of cable he proudly told me that he does not need to join a gym to stay fit. All he needs to do is eat well and work this job and his physical fitness is taken care of. After a long hard day, he simply goes home and enjoys the evenings with his family and does what he needs to do. He does not need to go spend multiple hours in the gym before heading home. Being a Paleo person that I am.. I commended him and admired how people are able to find peace once you simplify your life. Today the urban dwellers living on bagels and whole wheat products while actively watching their fat intake find themselves in a world of dilemma. The weight gain simply happens and they have no choice but to hit the gym or wake up early in the morning to get an hour of jog, before embarking on a 12 hours work day. Life was not designed for this continuous struggle. There has to be a way out of this rat race.

   The answer to our stress and bad health is of course taking the pills. The vitamins and supplement consumption has been steadily rising in the past 50 years. Today it is estimated that about half to two thirds of the Americans take some form of vitamin or supplement. The media perpetuates this belief by reinforcing that one can not achieve optimal health if these supplements are not consumed regularly. Sit down with your family for a night of TV and you will see commercial after commercial selling viagra, women's health supplements, men's health supplements, and kids vitamins. These advertisements are in your face all the time. The public is simply brain washed with these clever media bombardments. The advertisers strategically target their audience by placing their messages according to the age group. Here is what I mean:
  • For kids-- channels like Nickelodeon, Disney, and Cartoon Network will have 10-15 minutes of commercials per half hour of an actual episode. These commercials are usually for sugary drinks, fruit roll up snacks, many brands of cereals, and Barney the dinosaur vitamins for the kids.
  • For women-- programs like Oprah and Dr. Oz, will have commercials like one a day supplements for women, healthy yogurts that keep you regular, and many other women products that proclaim loudly that you are not living your full potential if these products are not consumed. The models and actors look so happy as they cheerfully explain how wonderful life is with these products. The truth of the matter is that these models and actors probably will never use these products in their lives off the camera.
  • For men-- it all about erectile disorder and fast cars. A three to four hours broadcast of golf, baseball, or a football game will have as many as 20-30 commercials geared towards erectile disorder and probably another 30 commercials for various luxury cars. Of course, beer and alcohol commercials are sprinkled in the middle.
   Typing in the phrase "let food be thy medicine" in a Google search, it was refreshing to see that over 700,000 search results were assembled in less than eight seconds. The Hippocratic words are still alive and well today, and practiced by many people. There are numerous websites dedicated to this principal and yes, there are some sane people left in the world. One major component of Paleo living and lifestyle is all about the Hippocratic principal. Remember, about fifty years ago people did not eat vitamins and supplements, yet human race continued. I am not going to deny that modern medicine has not helped saved millions of lives that normally would have been lost in the older days. The vaccine and antibiotics have helped greatly, but we as a society have forgotten real food. The real food is eating fresh vegetables, fruits, meats, and fats. The energy, vitamins, and minerals that a healthy body needs to survive and thrive are all contained in the foods. There is no need to take these expensive supplements and waste the money; JUST EAT THE FOODS!

   Today (August 31st) marks my second anniversary on the Paleo living. In the past two years, I have totally eliminated grains, legumes, sugars, and most of the dairy products from my diet. I have consumed fresh seasonal fruits, vegetables, meats, and eggs. I can not even begin to describe the benefits that I have experienced in my life in the past two years. Here is a quick summary of my food selection process in one bullet point:
  • If I can not read or pronounce the ingredient on a food package, I simply do not eat it. This rule will eliminate about 90% of food items in a grocery store. I know what a fresh vegetable looks like, and I know what a piece of fresh meat looks like.
     I have stuck with the above rule for the past two years, and my health has never been better. I have not gotten sick, not even a simple cold in the past two years. The amazing thing is that my children will come home from school with runny noses and colds; yet, I remained immune to these maladies. Here are few benefits that I have experienced directly attributed to my Paleo living:
  • Recovery period after a hike or other extreme activity is quick.
  • My joint pains are gone. These joint pains were part of my life every winter or whenever the weather turned cold.
  • The stomach issues I had due to gluten are gone.
  • No allergies.
  • The biggest one for me is the mental clarity. This one is going to be a blog post by itself in the coming month. I have never been able to see things more clearly in my life. This is attributed to eating foods that are nourishing to the body do not dull your senses. I will explain this in more detail in my upcoming blogpost.
   There are many more benefits that I will not bore you with. I will have my blood works done in the next few days and will post the results in my September blogpost. The moral of the story is that food makes us, what we eat on the daily basis defines who we are. There is no reason for us to waste our money on expensive vitamins and no need to spend our money and valuable time hitting the gym. Just let life happen; eat foods that you can see and touch and see as a whole. Watch less TV, or if you must watch get Netflix; life is too short for useless commercials. Food is a powerful medicine and we have it available in abundance. Next time you are hungry, skip KFC or fast food and go for something that you can recognize.