The Battle between Life and Death Takes Place in Your Plate
It is bewildering how many people are unaware of the fact that they are being constantly unhealthy. They just do not know how much damage a Coca-Cola, a donut or muffin, a cigarette or that McDonalds burger are doing to themselves. They may have heard that certain things are bad for their health, but they do not really understand what are the effects of those dangerous foods and of those drinks and drugs that they are putting into their bodies on a daily basis. They certainly do not want to know why are they dangerous, because they taste damn good. They firmly believe that one Coca-Cola per day is not going to damage anyone just because it contains ´a little bit of ´(actually LOTS of) sugar. How could something as sweet as sugar kill anyone, right?
But the truth is that Coca-Cola, all sweets, frozen and boiled hamburgers of dubious origin, and that drug called tobacco, when consumed every day or frequently, can intoxicate our organism and damage us more than you could possibly imagine.
I used to be absolutely unhealthy. I do not even know how could I not have my level of bad cholesterol or the sugar in my blood raised up to the skies, or how come I never gained twenty or thirty kilos from the moment I went to university and started cooking on my own, because I have always eaten, speaking clearly, Absolute Crap. Well, I was young and, when you are young, your body is able to eliminate toxins easily. However, we all need to understand that the older we get, the more complicated it is for our body to get rid of the poison that has entered in it.
Your body is created and maintained by the food you eat, and the blood that travels across your whole body contains the nutrients that you have taken. Therefore, if you do not eat nutrients, your body will not have any. It is really quite simple to understand.
The body needs essential nutrients to function optimally. That is why you need to make sure you consume those regularly. You will just need small amounts, and in one food you may find several of these nutrients, so there is nothing to worry about; it is not that complicated to achieve, but do you take all the necessary nutrients that your body needs?
If you become sick easily, if you have some pain in your body, if you suffer from headaches, your body is trying to tell you something, and you are not listening to it.
It is not normal to have headaches almost everyday. Not even twice per week. When you are taking one Ibuprofen or Paracetamol everyday is because there is something wrong within your organism, and your body is being kind enough to let you know before the situation gets worse. Why don’t you listen to what your body is trying to tell you?
It is difficult. I have been there. However, everybody can change; it is a myth to believe the opposite. The change however will take time, of course, but that is fine. If it is going to take even five years that is absolutely fine, as long as it happens at certain point!
My revelation came from seeing my father, the strongest man in the world, getting ill because of bad food habits. It is not something I like to talk about. It is not easy to admit that your father, the only perfect man you know, did something wrong, and did something wrong almost everyday. He did enjoy eating, but eating pork and beef with very little vegetables or fruits. There is no way one can live healthyly just by eating meat. I am not saying meat isn’t good. I am not a vegan or vegetarian, and I strongly believe that the optimum practice for everyone is to follow a balanced diet, which should include even pork. But it clearly is not healthy to survive just on meat. I remember preparing salads, and my father leaving them untouched; I would insist, and I remember him saying: “I am not going to eat that”, with a painful expression in his face. I always felt it was impossible to convince him of anything. I should have tried harder.
Ever since my father was diagnosed with terminal cancer three and a half years ago, I have been thinking about the food we eat, and whether a change in his diet would have made any difference in his horrendous fate. After day and night of intense research and after studying two nutritional courses, I am sure that a radical change in such an awful destiny would have been possible. He was not a healthy person. He was very active, but his diet was really poor. However, this really never concerned any of us, because he always looked so strong and healthy, and who am I kidding, I never liked vegetables either, and I have always considered very annoying to wash, peel and cut any fruit apart from a banana.
The sad reality is that good luck cannot last eternally. As I said, it is a fact that what we are eating and drinking day by day is creating our blood from tomorrow. We may have a wonderful immune system and just be lucky enough to get away with our bad habits, but any body will eventually crack, as there is no immune system in the world that cannot defend you from detrimental external factors forever.
I would have given my life to save my father´s. Even though he was 76 years old, and had a fantastic life. He left us with a gigantic amount of love in our hearts because he was just wonderful, and I would have given him my life without hesitation. But what hurts me more is to think that this situation could have been prevented if he had taken care of himself. We definitely should have pushed him to eat healthier, although at the end, it is oneself the one who has to be aware of the risks of having an unhealthy diet and lack of activity. We are all responsible for looking after this weak body that has been given to us. Because it has to last for many years, and the better you take care of it now, the more years it will last in good condition, unless you obviously have an accident. But you are getting my point; I know you are.
How can someone change?
There is no possible change all of a sudden, and we all know that. You need time.
Time to start thinking about the fact that there may be a problem with your diet. More time to realise that your body needs more muscle and less fat. Time to identify what is exactly wrong with the food you are eating and with that sugar and alcohol you are drinking. But it is possible. It is more than possible to change. You just need more information, so you can understand what are the effects of an unhealthy lifestyle. But you will need to make an effort and do some research. Because all the information is out there, but, if you are happy with your pork, your whisky and your cigarette, then why would you research anything? If I don’t want to be healthy, I won’t be!
In order to want to do some research, someone or something need to reach that part of your brain that is making you being unhealthy and careless with your body, so one day you can start the phase of what is called Pre contemplation of the change (according to psychotherapists Prochaska and DiClemente ).
At this inicial stage, people do not intend to start being healthy soon, and they may not even be aware of the need to change. They usually see a few pros and lots of cons in changing their lifestyle to a healthier option.
Many people pass eventually to another phase: the Contemplation phase, which is when you realise you need changing, and you really start considering making variations in your lifestyle, because you have been reading and researching or even talking about health and you realise that you agree in that you have to make changes and, at some point, you are even looking forward to making them!
Then one day you start preparing a Plan of Action, and you start reading more and more about nutrients, vitamins and minerals. I would not recommend you “start a diet”, but instead do something easy like read about carbohydrates (bread, pasta) and change to brown: Wholegrain! It is just way much better for your health, and it tastes well! (with a sauce in that brown pasta you won´t even notice that you are eating brown pasta). My advice would be to start really easy, just reading what foods are good and why. You will forget about it the next day but you will keep on reading, and informing you, and one day you will be looking forward to eating that fruit or those vegetables, and you will see yourself talking about the benefits of eating that fruit or that vegetable to your work colleagues.
After the Preparation, it is time to decide what type of diet you want to follow. The ideal diet, in my opinion, is simply: eat as healthy as you can, and always balanced! I eat a lot, and I have found out that when I started eating healthy I wasn’t feeling as hungry as before! That is because my body was taking all the nutrients I was putting on it, so I started to have less waste.
Also the good carbohydrates (wholegrains) release the energy slowly, so you have fuel for longer. It is all benefits!
The Action is the phase when you start putting into practice the preparation that you have done. It is the actual act of eating healthy, and, as many may say, it is easy to arrive, but the difficulty consists in maintaining yourself! That is the last stage of your path towards a healthy life: the maintenance.
It will be complicated at times, let´s not lie, but even though you may (and probably will, like we all do) fall, you can (and you MUST) always wake up and keep on walking. Do it and you will never regret!
I still eat crisps from time to time, I eat hamburgers (from restaurants, not from fast food companies), but I try to eat different nutrients every day, different types of vegetables, raw or steamed, which keep better their nutrients, fruits in natural juices and I have passed to the wholegrains which, to my surprise, I find delicious! Brown pasta or rice takes longer to cook but they are good, a bit nutty! I love quinoa, bulgur and brown bread as well. It just gastes better. Ormaybe I´ve just got used to them, which is the whole point. The same way as you got used to normal pasta and white bread when you were a kid.
Well, then, is there any negative aspect of being healthy?
Indeed: healthy food is expensive. But let me tell you, the more and more I think about it, the more convinced I am that I want to spend my money in organic and healthy food. Allow me to be annoying and repetitive: that food you are consuming is creating new blood in your body! What kind of blood do you want to have? Why do we all get so much worried about the wrapping paper and the state of our mind but we do not care about the hidden part of our physical body? Just because nobody can’t see it doesn’t mean it’s not important! Eventually, doctors will have a look and the reflection in that mirror can be absolutely devastating, like it was when we saw my dad’s. I felt like dying that horrible Summer of 2012 when they spitted in our faces that there was nothing to do. It did not look pretty.
I do not want that happening to any more people in my family, to my friends, or to me. I do not want happening to anyone! Not even to an enemy. You need to start informing yourself now; not next week; not tomorrow. Start this very moment. Start at least believing that you are not eating enough colours in your food. Start believing when I tell you that you are taking too much sugar and salt, probably more than your body can stand. Start at least being aware that you may have a problem, and then, at least pre contemplate the idea of making life changes.