You know that phrase - you are what you eat? Well, actually, yeah - your body takes what you put into it and uses it to make you - from the inside out.
During the summer holidays, a friend had a heart attack. He’s okay but he’s got to have a bypass. Could he have prevented it? Well, I’m no doctor but I can’t help but wonder if eating like it were an Olympian sport, drinking like the proverbial fish and not exercising allied with a big dollop of stress probably had something to do with it. And y’know, heart disease kills someone every 39 seconds – howzat for a depressing fact for a Friday afternoon?
I can’t remember quite why, but the other day I looked up the statistics for what causes the most deaths. It varies a little, depending on where you live but, if you look at the world as a whole, heart disease is the #1 killer. Road traffic accidents come in at #10 if you were wondering (just five people per year are killed by sharks, one less than those who exit this mortal coil courtesy of rollercoasters).
Actually the stats make really interesting reading. For example, cancer only makes a top ten appearance in high-income countries. Makes you wonder, huh?
But anyhow. I have no right to come over all holier than thou and, let’s be honest, most of us do pretty similar stuff, albeit maybe not quite so extreme. We eat stuff that is crap for us because…we like the taste. We don’t want to be deprived. Or maybe it is even more perverse than that. I don’t particularly adore food but lately I’ve been punishing myself with it. I know it’s stupid, really stupid but hey, sometimes you stop caring about yourself, huh? So I’ve been sloshing down wine (and feeling like absolute shite) and necking back cheese (makes me snotty and mucusy) and chomping on bread (churns my guts and makes me fart something rotten). Jesus, this is too painfully honest, even for me. I know, I know, I know. I kicked the crap - for a long time. And, for pity's sake, I write self-help books; I’m supposedly a health writer – I know this stuff. I can feel all too well what works for my body and what doesn’t.
But here’s the really interesting thing. Since pursuing my recent anti-health cum death-wish food regime I’ve been clobbered by a really shitty attack of auto-immune related rheumatism…something I’ve been pretty well clear of for…well…ages. And all self-inflicted, eh? How freaking stupid is that?
So, enough already. I’ve done the dirty and I’ve paid the price so now it’s back to being kind to my body - foodwise. Cos, really, is it worth feeling shite and risking your health just for the sake of how a bit of grub feels in your mouth for a few minutes?
I truly believe that food plays a part in the harm or heal equation. It's not the only thing, of course (the mind is the major player), but it does make a big difference. If you want to feel good (and to kick one helluva lot of health issues into touch) maybe start by looking at what you put in your mouth. It’s not a one size fits all thingy – you have to play around a bit and find out what works for you. But, hate to break it to you guys, it’s not likely to be cupcakes, steak butties and gin.