‘How not to die’ is the title of a wonderful book by Dr Michael Greger MD which offers the reader the latest science-based diet and lifestyle knowledge needed to avoid the majority of chronic diseases and live a long and healthy life. ‘How not to die’ is not a recipe for eternal life :-) it’s a recipe for a healthy life free from the chronic diseases and suffering endured by the majority of people in the West i.e. how not to die a slow, miserable, prolonged and increasingly debilitating death. Rather, how to ‘live’ a long, healthy and productive life free from chronic disease and disability.
Prolonging a chronically diseased and painful existence with medication cannot compare to living a disease and pain-free life based on whole food plant-based nutrition and other health promoting lifestyle choices. We all have the ability to increase or reduce the risk of developing chronic diseases at any stage in life and we all have the ability to destroy or to heal our bodies, the choice is ours and with the right knowledge our future health is in our own hands.
The secret to living long, prospering, and avoiding chronic diseases is relatively simple; eat a whole food plant-based diet low in added salt, oil and sugar, avoid (or at the very least minimise) all animal derived products, eat plenty of raw fresh produce (at least 25% or more of your diet if possible), get regular good quality sleep, do aerobic exercise for between twenty minutes and ninety minutes per day, get some sunshine and try to enjoy life :-)
The secret to creating an increasingly diseased, painful, restricted, miserable and medicated ‘life’ is to continue to eat the standard UK diet (SUK) or the standard American diet (SAD) and follow their associated disease promoting lifestyles. Almost everyone I know and everyone I have known has developed one or more serious chronic diseases by following these diets and lifestyles, often at a surprisingly young age. This includes myself when I developed rheumatoid arthritis and asthma in my teens and early 20s due to the same poor lifestyle and diet choices, diseases which I’ve been fighting against ever since. Fortunately for me, the adoption of a whole food plant-based diet and other health promoting lifestyle changes has prevented the development of any other chronic diseases.
There’s a lot of denial, cognitive dissonance, ignorance and often arrogance amongst people I speak with here in the UK regarding the consequences of poor diet and lifestyle choices (it appears to be the same in many other countries of course, particularly where junk food is readily available and animal products are relatively inexpensive). I often hear people say “I’m still young – I’ll think about my health later”, “I’m not worried if I get any health problems I’ll just go to the doctor (NHS)”, “I don’t care if I die a bit sooner than everyone else I’ll eat what I want while I’m here”, “We’re all going to die someday”, “My grandad lived into his 90s and smoked all his life”, “There’s nothing I can do it’s all down to my genes”, “I’d like to eat more healthily but it’s too expensive”, “I can’t eat a plant-based diet, all of my friends eat meat and I wouldn’t be able to socialise”, “I’d love to eat a plant-based diet but it’s too difficult” etc.
Along with the examples I’ve given above there is a general feeling of “It won’t happen to me”, similar to the way the dangers of cigarette smoking were perceived in the past (and even today!).
From personal experience and suffering I can assure everyone that none of the excuses/reasons above will provide any comfort when you’re diagnosed with your first chronic disease.
Chronic disease can strike at any age. The medical profession cannot reverse lifestyle-mediated chronic disease with medication or surgery. With a chronic disease you don’t die ‘a bit sooner’ you either die suddenly or with increasing disability and drug side-effects as your lifespan correspondingly decreases. ‘Someday’ is a lot sooner with a chronic disease. Some people win the lottery but you wouldn’t base your future financial security on the belief that you will be one of them. Most genetic predisposition to chronic disease can be overridden with a health promoting diet and lifestyle changes. Following a healthy lifestyle is cheaper than dying or losing your career due to illness. These days in the UK and many other countries it’s extremely easy to find healthy plant-based food in almost any restaurant and there’s a growing number of organic and vegan restaurants; socialising is not a problem it just requires a little thought. Eating a plant-based diet and following a healthy lifestyle is much easier than having your ribs cut open with bolt cutters and having a heart bypass or stent put in then spending the rest of your life anticipating the next heart-attack.
I’d like to make one final point to try and convince people to consider taking their future health into their own hands and it’s something that most people can’t perceive or anticipate. From the moment you’re diagnosed with a chronic disease such as rheumatoid arthritis, the people around you (sometimes even close family) will begin to view you in a different light. As you begin to show signs of illness and/or disability many people will begin to distance themselves from you, often because they don’t know what to do or say but also because of the inconvenience that you pose to them. You’ll find this with your work colleagues too. This is particularly true if you have arthritis, MS, epilepsy or any other chronic disease which directly affects your ability to function, not just physically but emotionally and psychologically for example chronic fatigue or depression. It’s a horrible ‘place’ to be, but the majority of people will end up there sooner or later if they don’t adopt a health promoting lifestyle.
I would urge everyone who is currently following the standard UK diet (SUK) or the standard American diet (SAD) along with their associated disease promoting lifestyles, to stop and give serious thought to whether you want to achieve your dreams and ambitions in life and ‘live’ until you die, or whether you want to continue dying at an accelerated rate as you are now because you believe the inevitable won’t happen to you. Most of the top fifteen leading causes of death and disability are largely the result of poor diet & lifestyle choices and subsequently prescribed drugs.
I’m fighting to reclaim my health so I can live longer and prosper :-) my motivation comes largely from a desire to help those around me, and others, to do the same xx
Get Well Card image is public domain