Consciously or unconsciously most people make sacrifices of some sort. Unfortunately, in the process, they all too often sacrifice health, family and other priceless possessions in order to gain the transitory pleasures of wealth, power, status or fame. And yet, many discover in the end that the only true wealth is resilient health.
Through this weekly health column, we want to empower you to make some lifestyle changes to prevent and even reverse many of today’s killer diseases which are largely lifestyle related: how we eat and drink, whether we smoke and exercise, and how we handle the stresses of life. We want to help you discover not only a better life, but the best life! And we want to help you make some of these better choices because we know now that life and health are mostly matters of choice and not merely matters of chance.
Health is powerfully influenced by what we eat. Some people, especially those with coronary heart disease, type 2 diabetes, excess weight or high blood pressure, often make a firm decision to let go of eggs, dairy, meat, sausages and the refined and engineered foods often produced for taste and profit but not for health.
Instead, they focus on fruits and vegetables, on whole grains and legumes, some nuts and seeds, and they drink plenty of water. Within four to six weeks, their elevated cholesterol (a powerful indicator of coronary risk) will drop 10 to 20 percent. This alone will lower their coronary risk by up to 50 per cent. Those with excess weight learn that they can actually eat more (of the healthy foods) and still drop excess weight. And those with diabetes (type two) will see quick reductions in their blood sugar levels and reduction in their medication as well.
The evidence is quite compelling: the further people move toward the right-hand side (of the chart above) the more disease prevention, arrest and reversal they can expect as the body begins to heal itself. As they move progressively towards the green triangle they can expect more resilient health and greater longevity.
So, for better health and longer life, and for leaving a softer footprint on the earth, moving progressively toward the right-hand side of the upper green triangle may be one of the best decisions we can make in the New Year.
Dr. Hans Diehl is the director of the Lifestyle Medicine Institute of Loma Linda, California, who promotes a lifestyle changes to reverse diseases. He founded CHIP, the Complete Health Improvement Program, in 1988 after conducting a four-week lifestyle change program in British Columbia in a community of about 5,000 people. About 400 people took the challenge on and became part of the first CHIP program.