For those who live long enough to begin to think about life-long objectives a lengthy, generally healthy, relatively stress-free existence into old age would seem an appropriate overall objective. Eventually, we all die of course, and while we don’t get to pick an choose how that will go down, many of us would prefer to simply go off in our sleep one night having never suffered the pain of long-term debilitating disease.
Of course, that’s not all that occupies our thoughts: how long we will live and how we will die. Indeed, we tend not to think about such things that much. It does come up though when we fall ill, especially if it’s with something serious or potentially life threatening. Then we might think about such matters a lot. Of course, if we become ill with something that is chronic, requiring longer-term attention to what we have to do to recover, we may think about death and dying quite a bit. But generally speaking getting sick whether for a short spell or in longer term, tends to be treated by us as an incovenience, something which interferes with out work in the world or how we want to live our lives. Getting sick frankly takes us off stride. It gets in our way. But that’s something that is happening quite a bit these days because people are frankly not taking their health as seriously as they should.
For many reasons, but mostly from the way the food industry and distribution has developed, most of us are being presented with bad or unhealthy choices. Our health may suffer as a result. We are eating generally far too much of the wrong kinds of foods. Many are becoming overweight, even obese, as a result. This has many attendent negative consequences both in the short and long term. Before we know it we are having trouble getting around. Exercising becomes a thing of the past and we get nervous about it and often just continue to eat more and more as we gain more and more weight. If we are lucky we begin to see that can’t continue and we make a commitment to change our direction. The first thing we find out is that it’s a great deal more difficult to take off the weight than it was to put it on. With luck though we stay with it, eating less, eating the right kind of foods, and exercising more and more. Those who succeed will have made getting the right kinds of foods a good habit and will have developed just the right mindset that’s needed.
Obesity is unfortunately a disease. It changes our metabolism. Gradually the excessive sugar we’ve been taking in teaches our cells to reduce the effect of insulin. We develop insulin resistance. Type-2 diabetes is not far behind. Then because of our obesity our body starts handling fat differently. The fat cells start sending fat over to the live which begins to be mildly congested. More fat is moving through the vessels using its complex transport mechanisms. The vasculature becomes affected. We carry more cholesterol-containing particles, and the vessels begin to pick them up. We’re moving into the early stages of cardiovascular disease. Later the kidney (renal) system may be affected by different mechanisms but relatable back to all that is happening. Thus, diabetes, cardiovascualar disease and renal complications are all coming down the pike, all stemming from the obesity. We begin to see elevated cholesterol and higher blood pressure. These, in fact, may be among the earliest signs. Often much later, but sometimes not too far away, we may develop early signs of cancer. Our systems are a bit clogged up and we may have been having difficulty for years trying to clear out and eliminate carcinogenic metabolites we may have taken in from the food we’ve been eating. However, in spite of all this it may not be to late. But, we do have to change our diet, exercise, loose the weight and get our systems unclogged and functioning again.
The best strategy is to cut out the processed foods, lower the carbohydrate intake substantially. Simple sugars are a primary problem. We need more protein and fiber and less carbohydrate and fat. Fruits and vegetables, grains and beans, less dairy and lean meat and fish or the alternative in eggs and a whey protein supplement perhaps. Importantly, we need almost nothing that we find at the typical supermarket: no processed food if it can be managed, certainly nothing with large amounts of additives the food chemists have put there for a variety of reasons.
This is a tall order, which most people believe make it necessary for them to shop at places like whole foods or other high end organic food markets; places where only the upper middle class and wealthy can afford to go. This also creates the impression that the poor and uneducated have no other option than to go where they can buy inexpensive but relatively unhealthy food. That’s not what has to happen, but adjustments have to be made and everyone will eventually make their commitment in their own way. Rich people as well as poor people are both needing to do this.
First, when cost is a serious issue then in addition to making hard choices, you can visit farmer’s markets and other wholesale venues, buy organic if you can, but buy items that keep well in larger amounts. Some can be frozen or kept with plenty of food value in other ways, such as in a root cellar. You can grow many items even in pots out back if you do not have space for a big garden. Usually seeds are inexpensive, and available in the quantity you will need. If gardening is new to you, you will have to learn about it. You can also grow and dry or freeze your own herbs, and many root crops such as beets and onions quite easily. Of course, notthing beats the taste of freshly picked tomatoes. At any level, gardening will save you quite a bit of money.
If gardening on your own is not your style, and you have neighbors or friends who need the same regimen as you do, then collaborate with them. Grow things in vacant lots, in nearby woods or even at the side drainage ditches along roadsides. Items like squash, pumpkins, melons and cucumbers grow well in such locations and don’t need too much regular tending. No chemicals, sprays or hard fertilizers, just use simple mulching strategies and mix organic refuse with a little manure and turn it now and then until it begins to look like soil. You have no trouble generally finding a farmer who will give you a scoop or more of cow or horse manure.
We are increasingly pressed for time and money, but you can really grow a lot of food in some of the most unespected places. Expand your territory. Find options.