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We must bring back self-control

Dear Sir,

The campaign for the reduction of diabetes in Bermuda needs every support from all of us to change our attitudes about this dangerous disease, one which, in the case of the common type 2 form, is unnecessary and totally curable. Doctors who have success in persuading patients to change their diets are rewarded by having the satisfaction of seeing remission and cures.

The problem is that we are no longer trained as children to discipline ourselves. Our own pleasure comes first.

The emphasis today is upon all individuals’ right to enjoy themselves, and institutions that facilitate this attitude flourish.

I will talk about how this affects food. There is seldom any negative press about fast food, but the old lunch pail has practically disappeared from use. Instead of bringing a wholesome lunch from home at low cost, we opt for more convenient ways of getting our midday meal when we are workers.

First choice for those who can afford it is the restaurant. Some restaurants specialise in providing good healthy food, but there are some whose first concern is to please the customer and thus gain popular acclaim and increase profits.

Who worries about cancer while enjoying charcoal-grilled food? It sure tastes good. Meat eaters prefer few vegetables and raw food salad. You may think of other examples of tasty food such as potato chips, drinks and candy bars, which taste good but are less than healthy.

Some people like the convenience of fast food, such as hamburgers, sandwiches made from preserved meats or factory-prepared, reheatable package lunches treated with chemicals to extend their shelf lives. If it tastes good and is easy to get, that is all that matters.

Then there is that special dish we will go miles for. I remember when living in Montreal, I travelled miles to get a Ben’s smoked meat sandwich. My brother, who died of diabetes recently, is reported to have said: “Later for this healthy stuff. Get me my codfish and potatoes, and all the trimmings.”

Food controls us; we are not controlling the food. If we bring back self-control and stick to the diabetes diet, new research shows that even the type 1 disease will disappear.

Yours sincerely,