A healthy diet should be for your whole life
Is your diet keeping pace with your nutritional needs?
“Tell me what you eat, and I will tell you what you are.” — Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin
Time and again when I sit down to write about life transition, I am reminded just how much detailed information is available to support human development during the first stages of life and, comparatively, how little information is available regarding the later stages of life.
When it comes to the proper feeding of an infant through the first year of life, any mother will tell you there is a library’s worth of information regarding the differences between formula and breast milk, when to introduce puréed fruit or carrots in the diet, and which week to commence offering solid food in order to get a baby’s food-processing plant up and running optimally.
Once your toddler’s digestive system is “fully operational”, there are basic guidelines to cover the rest of life regarding portion size, optimal calorie intake and the daily recommended servings of whole grains, fruit, vegetables and protein, so it would seem logical that all the bases have been covered on this subject.
But is that really the case?
Better yet, if science and medicine have determined that dietary needs change almost weekly during the early stages of human development, why is it assumed that they change very little during the remainder of life?
Granted, as adults, most of us seem to be able to fuel our bodies with all manner of additives, preservatives and junk food chemicals for prolonged periods of time with few immediate side effects. But if the incidence of food-related chronic illnesses is any way to gauge, it does appear that we might not be feeding ourselves as much as slowly poisoning ourselves when we consume these things.
In fact, we might just be clogging our filters (aka kidney and liver) and gunking up our arterial system to the point that the body no longer functions well enough to properly process water, oxygen and whatever bits of real nutrition we inadvertently feed it.
We have all seen a stark image of the blackened lungs of a chronic smoker and readily accept that when we choose to smoke cigarettes, we are choosing to clog our lungs with tar, to the point that we inhibit our ability to breathe.
Why then, do we continue to believe (or not care) that “bad” food is any less detrimental in the long run? Why do we act shocked, or feel sorry for ourselves when we are diagnosed with diabetes, or high cholesterol, or heart disease, or chronic inflammation?
Why don’t we care enough about ourselves to make better food choices until we experience a food-related health crisis?
Why do we fail to acknowledge that we have a problem each time we find ourselves standing in the checkout line with a shopping cart full of soda, sugary snacks and frozen pizza, or sitting on the sofa with a whole carton of ice cream and a spoon, or referring to three glasses of merlot and a handful of crackers as dinner?
What will it take for you to decide to care about yourself enough to seek the help and support that you need to make better choices?
• Robin Trimingham is an author and thought leader in the field of retirement who specialises in helping corporate groups and individuals understand and prepare for a new life beyond work. Contact her at www.olderhoodgroup.com, 538-8937 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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