December 30, 2018
In 2013 the Journal of the American Medical Association published research stating that although baby boomers are living longer than prior generations they are, surprisingly, not healthier.
Then about a month ago I read a stunning article on lohud.com (part of the USA Today Network) pronouncing that as of 2018, the 74 million baby boomers in this country (or those born between 1946 and 1964) are indeed the most obese and have the most incidence of heart disease and diabetes than any previous generation. Paradoxically, however, boomers are also more food conscious and more likely to exercise than previous generations.
BUT HOW THE HECK IS THAT POSSIBLE (I bet you’re wondering)???
Here's the issue: the longer you live of course the more opportunity you have to develop disease, but it's also true that the kind of diseases boomers are developing are primarily related to lifestyle especially poor food choices OVER TIME. So even though boomers are much more likely to read and understand food labels plus know more about the origins of their food than previous populations, basically the huge shift in US food manufacturing practices (which began in the 50's) is ganging up on them.
(It's also true that for at least 50 years we've been a society that's completely committed to doing everything harder and faster which leaves very little time for cooking whole food from scratch and proper relaxation/sleep, plus we've developed all manner of tech to support our misguided endeavors but that's a whole other blog!)
Look, I'm no stranger to poor lifestyle choices...if you haven't already, you really ought to check out my story which, until about 22 years ago was fraught with disordered eating habits (both outright and a few that typically fly under the radar, all due to underlying feelings of inadequacy) and a strong commitment to white-knuckling my way through life. And just like almost every boomer I’ve ever met who’s closer to 60 than any other milestone, I’m beginning to at least flirt with a few health concerns that most likely began in my childhood and were exacerbated over the first two thirds of my life.
All that being said, let me just stop here and ask two questions:
What’s the use of living longer if you’re propped up on canes and pounding down meds just to keep going?
And is that the quality of life you’re honestly aiming for during your golden years?
And if my questions somehow didn’t cause you to stop and say “hmmmmmmmm” here are a few more sobering statistics presented during the Institute of Function Medicine’s 2014 Annual Conference:
The standard American diet (or “SAD”) could not have been better designed to kill us by al Qaeda; it promotes chronic disease and suppresses immune function. The SAD is 55% processed foods; 30% animal products; 11% vegetables, fruit, nuts and beans; and 4% whole grains. One-half of the 11% of vegetables consumed are ketchup and French fries. The amount of colorful vegetation consumed by Americans is less than 5% of the total diet.
Take it from me, if you consider all the research re the relationship between our health and what we eat (and I’ve read lots of it so you can definitely save yourself the time and just trust me) the primary take-away should be that eating a rainbow of fresh whole healthy produce every day is literally the single most important key to not only warding off possible disease but also reducing existing disease symptoms (regardless of the particular whole food diet you espouse.) And if I were to sum up the bulk of my work as a whole-food nutrition instructor in one sentence it would have to be “EAT MORE VEGGIES!” because (and I bet you’ve heard me say this hundreds of times) every major world health organization (including THE World Health Organization) now claims we should be eating 9-13 servings of fresh whole produce every day just to maintain our health. And believe it or not, there’s even a growing body of evidence to suggest that consuming more than the daily recommendation of vegetables and fruits improves health without limit…in other words, THE MORE VEGETABLES AND FRUITS YOU EAT, THE HEALTHIER YOU WILL BE, PERIOD!!!
Look, that magical making-resolutions-time-of-year is upon us once again…why not resolve to make just one or two small changes in your life that are WAAAAAY easier than overhauling your entire diet but could literally change everything about the way you age?
Wait, you say you really want to start eating at least 9-13 servings of veggies every day but don’t have a clue how to fit ‘em all in?
Then you're in luck because my next Detox deliciously with SMOOTHIES! class is only a couple of weeks away. Think about it: in a culture where obesity and disease are out of control yet we insist all our food should be “fast,” isn’t throwing a bunch of fresh veggies and superfoods in a blender the perfect solution?
Smoothies should be considered a major component of any whole-food diet and offer a myriad of health benefits including:
This is a seriously fun and TASTY class…participants can expect to walk away knowing how smoothies make “crowding out” poor food choices a piece of cake, the value of blending versus juicing, what to add and why you should add it, which blenders are best, great recipe suggestions (plus a whole lot more!) SO SIGN UP TODAY!
(And if you’re curious about another small, fun, AND EASY change you can make this year that could literally change everything about the way you age it’s still not too late to sign up for my next round of T'ai Chi Chih sessions but don’t delay…three introductory-level programs at two convenient locations commence the week of January 7th! Click here for more info.)