Health by Choice, Not Chance

Community Contributed
By Dr. Hans Diehl and Brenda Kaneshiro

October is National Vegetarian Month.  It is a good time to reflect on our diets and the high price we are paying for the privilege of living with such a high abundance of food in the nation, and on Molokai.

Such abundance has helped lay the foundation for coronary artery disease, stroke, high blood pressure, arthritis, adult onset diabetes, obesity and several kinds of cancer.  These diseases are related to lifestyle, especially how we eat.

Here are seven common pathways in dieting habits that lead to disease:

Sugar — The National Research Council reports that refined sugars and sweeteners account for up to 20 percent of many people’s daily calories.  Refined sugars have no fiber or nutritional value, and they promote obesity.
Refined Foods — Foods are refined to remove the fiber.  Now we’re learning how necessary fiber is in protecting us from certain cancers, stabilizing blood sugar, controlling weight and preventing gastrointestinal problems such as gallstones, hemorrhoids, diverticulitis and constipation.
Salt — Most Westerners consume between 10 and 20 grams of salt per day (two to four teaspoons).  This is many times more than what is needed, and contributes to high blood pressure, heart failure, and kidney disease.
Fat — Many people don’t realize that they are consuming 36 to 40 percent of their daily calories as fat, much more than the body can handle.  As a result, blood vessels plug up causing coronary artery disease and strokes. 
Proteins — Scientists now recognize that a diet containing less protein and much less fat and cholesterol is essential for improved health and longevity.
Beverages — Minimize the number of sodas, beer, coffee, tea and sweet drinks consumed every day and replace them with water.  Most of these drinks lack fiber and are loaded with calories.  They can play havoc with blood sugar levels and sabotage weight control efforts. 
Snacks — Snacks disrupt the digestion and overburden the stomach.  They are a frequent cause of bloating and indigestion and contribute to obesity.

Eating a variety of whole-plant foods will furnish all the fat, protein, fiber and nutrients the body needs.  It is also ecologically sensitive and can cut the food budget in half, especially if you grow your own!

The best news is that this type of dietary lifestyle helps delay and often prevents the onset of most degenerative diseases.  Not only does eating full-fiber plant foods allow people to eat larger quantities of food without having to worry about weight gain, but it promotes optimum health and energy for a lifetime! 

The last vegetarian fellowship dinner this month will be served on Oct. 29 at the Seventh-day Adventist Church immediately following their service that begins at 11 a.m.  You’re welcome to come join us for great fellowship and food.

The information in this column is not intended to replace medical advice or treatment.   Questions about symptoms and medications, general or specific, should be addressed to your physician. If you are interested in finding out more about Coronary Health Improvement Project (CHIP) and how to take charge of your health, or would like to be contacted when more information is available for the next CHIP session, please email CHEC@iglide.net or phone 808-558-8204.


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