“Let food be thy medicine” -Hippocrates
“Three years ago, a fellow came in. He explained that he wasn’t here simply for a coffee, but also because he had heard that I’m a food expert. ‘I don’t know a thing about food, nutrition, health, and any of that stuff,’ he confessed. ‘The only thing I know about health is to eat different varieties of vegetables throughout our life. The rest of it makes no sense to me”, Jacob remembered.
By the way, Jacob is a 96 years old man still running his coffee shop in Nampa, Idaho.
He still works 10 hours everyday.
“Even a sleeping person doesn’t relax as much as a vegetable eater does. It’s about being alert and international in what we fuel our body,” Jacob continued.
“We cannot do a lot of things in life. One thing we can do everyday that has a massive influence on our health and longevity is the decision about how to run our lifestyle.”
Jacob’s story made me remember two very close friends of mine during my undergraduate years.
One became a civil servant and the other an entrepreneur.
Both had a passion in their respective areas, both would work very hard to achieve it.
But, both had completely different lifestyles, they modified their lifestyle according to their passionate occupation.
My friend who became an entrepreneur had amazing interests and attitudes.
I saw on him that being an entrepreneur is more a lifestyle as much as it is a job because you never escape your tasks on holidays and weekends.
I saw my entrepreneur friend tired from it but he wouldn’t just quit.
He carried it all, both the success and the failures.
But my friend who became a civil servant had a lifestyle of dedicating his holidays and weekends to his hobbies like hiking and spirituality.
He would spend an ample amount of time practicing and reading books on body, food, and spirituality.
He reduced his intake of animal protein in such a way I was amazed.
In front of my eyes, he changed his lifestyle in a quite different direction.
What I saw in both was a dream, the motivation, and the commitment to grow and evolve their respective profession to meet the changing landscape, survive ups and downs, and create a sustained satisfaction in life.
That was due to adoption of their different respective lifestyles.
Seeing them growing in front of my eyes, I realized that time, not money, is the scarcest resource.
Believe it or not, our time dictates our lifestyle.
Successful civil servants means managing time very carefully and understanding the essence of life, serving people all the time.
I’m sure hiking on weekends and reading books on nutrition is not fun for many, though, he chose the style amazingly.
Successful entrepreneurs sometimes get rich, but they are also deeply motivated by the desire to accomplish worthwhile things: to create, to make a difference in people’s lives, and to leave a legacy for future generations.
I learned that the most successful embrace, that could be civil service or entrepreneurship, both weights are not just as a way of doing business but as a way of lifestyle.
There is a popular saying which fits both of them.
Preparation does not guarantee success, but a lack of proper lifestyle will almost always lead to failure.
My entrepreneur friend became very successful and rich in a short time.
Unfortunately, he died prematurely due to illness.
He died of complications of atherosclerosis.
After his death I knew that the most common diet-related diseases of the cardiovascular system are hypertension and atherosclerosis.
He died not by other reasons but by his poor focus on his body, especially poor nutrition, and overall negligence.
There are many factors of illness in our life, we don’t see it in our journey, but one dominant factor is our everyday fuel.
Yes, everyday fuel, our food.
Food is a fuel in our body that drives our engine.
If we don’t pay attention to it and ignore it then our engine doesn’t go far and doesn’t run longer.
Even if life is busy, we don’t have time, please, create time for our everyday fuel, just don’t go with the flow whatever you find on the way, think twice before putting in our engine.
Yes, yes, and yes.
Today’s world is fast paced, we are busy with our work and schedule, we don’t have time to think about our food, we have to travel, so on and so on.
If we are not serious about it, there is so much confusing information everyday from media reports.
We have social media, we have smartphones, just one click away.
We don’t verify the information, we just go with it.
One day fat becomes good, the next day it’s bad.
One day you get a report that says to avoid carbohydrates in your meal, but the next day you hear that whole grains prevent cancer.
One day you hear that a little wine is good for our hearts, but too much is bad.
And we don’t know what amount is too much or what amount is little?
To be honest, which information is actually correct?
We don’t know and we don’t have time to study and research because we give very little priority on what we eat.
Interestingly, while I was writing this article, my wife said, “I don’t want to seem cynical, baba, but if it’s so easy to focus on what we eat, why isn’t everyone doing it?” she asked.
“Lack of knowledge. You and I talk about this all the time. Our schools don’t teach food skills. Our family members don’t talk about good foods. And just as important, there are very few places that an aspiring learner can turn to,” I added.
A lot of foods are not actually healthy as advertised in the media.
I would give one example.
One diet called the Atkins diet instructs people to consume a lot of fat, animal proteins, and tells people not to eat carbohydrates like rice, bread, pasta, or potatoes.
Yes, avoiding carbohydrates keeps insulin level low, and people indeed lose weight quickly. But large quantities of animal proteins and saturated fats expedite atherosclerosis.
That’s what happened to my dear entrepreneur friend that I explained earlier.
Remember, my friend died earlier, but he died slim.
Another lifestyle change for healthy living is fasting.
Very few people are aware of it.
Fasting is not a secret part of life, it is also a part of a good lifestyle for good health.
During fasting, our body draws upon our body’s “storage “, first glycogen in the liver, then fat in the fat stores, and to a lesser extent protein in the muscles and connective tissues.
Our body produces ketone bodies, which are essential second fuel sources for cells and the brain.
Fasting is a conscious renunciation, a controlled and self -determined experience of deficiency.
That’s why successful fasting increases self-efficacy.
During fasting, we overcome an existential hunger in a way that gives us physical and mental strength.
If we do fasting then we also need a healthy diet when we are not on fasting.
But the biggest question is, what makes our diet healthy?
Few tips are here which I’ve learned, though, it’s just the tip of the iceberg.
We should eat whole grain products as our main course in our diet which are excellent sources of fiber.
They also contain B vitamins and minerals such as magnesium and zinc, because they still hold the sprout, bran, and the outer husks.
We should eat a lot of vegetables in our meal, a lot more, actually, lower amounts of fruits is ok but not vegetables.
One vegetable I would mention is Beets.
Regular consumption of it protects the vessels in the gastrointestinal tract, beet juice lowers blood pressure, and improves athletic performance, which I experienced when I was running for marathon.
Leafy greens, cruciferous vegetables, avocados, pumpkin, bell peppers, tomatoes, legumes, peas,and lentils can not be avoided.
We should eat a lot of healthy fats from olive oil, canola oil, nuts especially walnuts: the queen of nuts; pistachios, peanuts, flax, and, of course, almonds.
Fish is not important in our meals as advertised, meat should be a small part of our diet or even no part at all. It doesn’t matter whether we eat meat or not if we eat a lot of different vegetables.
We should eat a very small amount of dairy products and eggs in our diet.
We must take some species, especially, the queen of spice: turmeric; ginger, saffron, onion, and garlic. No compromise on these spices.
Please avoid at all costs: donuts, pizza, burgers, and potato chips.
Run, run, and run fast.
One thing is certain that some illnesses are inevitable, not everything in our life can be controlled, but we can do a lot to prevent chronic illnesses from developing, and thus enjoying a greater age in good health like what Jacob is having.
For this goal to achieve, in my view, we need two things.
Let’s make a healthy lifestyle a personal responsibility, let’s be the owner of our healthy life.
Let’s make sure that without a healthy diet, excellent health is impossible.
Thank you for your time.
-Yam N Timsina