Do you care?
- Live well. Live long.
- Live bad. Live short.
- It’s a choice.
You probably saw the headlines recently about the studies published showing that drinking sugary drinks shortens life expectancy (mortality), and is linked to higher incidence of cancer.
Do you think about your health? How long you will live? What your health will be like in 10, 20, 30, 40 years? [good article here – Your Health before age 40 is tied to heart risks later in life]. You should be thinking and caring about these ‘issues’. If you don’t care, stop now and click to some other mindless entertainment piece. And for the record, your future health – whether in 10 or 40 years – is being determined today. By you – by the choices you are making every day, week in and week out.
If you care, then it’s important to know that the U.S. is ranked:
- 26th out of 36 OECD countries for mortality [reference]
- 53rd for infant mortality [reference]
- and not surprising, 37th in the world in terms of health care (really better called ‘sick care’ or ‘disease care’;- hospitals and drug companies – which sadly define ‘healthcare’ – don’t promote health, merely the diagnosis and treatment of disease) [reference]
Humans now live longer than previously (except for children born after the year 2000 – they’re not going to live as long as previous generations – that’s NEVER happened before. Ever. [Read about that here and here]
Mortality is the stat one looks at when analyzing whether something – some food or lifestyle choice – might promote a longer or shorter life; or if someone might live longer than someone else (for example, due to where they live and that society’s propensity to healthier lifestyle choices and healthcare systems).
The Mess of Information
What many people struggle with is sorting through the information that our 24/7 news cycle constantly pushes at us regarding health and longevity: ‘dark chocolate is good for us, eggs are bad, eggs are good, a little red wine is good, any alcohol consumption is bad’, etc. Take this drug; oops, that drug has been recalled due to causing heart attacks and cancer. It goes on and on.
So what’s a person to do? First, get simple – don’t live in the U.S. (just kidding). Actually, this ‘get simple’ thing is truly the answer.
First, recognize that there are three domains with regard to health and lifestyle choices: diet, exercise, and life/stress management – Fuel, Air, and Spark in the Bonfire lexicon. Once you’ve ‘chunked down’ lifestyle choices into those three categories, you can again get simple:
FUEL (diet/nutrition): if it wasn’t food 10,000 years ago, don’t eat it. Sounds clever, but what does that mean? Steer clear of man-made food – this includes things like processed vegetable oils, sugar, and foods that act like sugar (grains – bread, cereal, pasta, pizza). Additionally and obviously this also includes artificial sweeteners, chemical additives, food colorings, and the like. You’ve probably heard that if you don’t know the substances listed on a label, you shouldn’t eat it. Go one step further – if it has a label, don’t eat it. Think about that – vegetables, fruit, and meat in their natural state are exactly that, natural (no processing, labeling necessary).
AIR (exercise): You only have to workout on the day you eat (only half kidding). And, when you exercise, make is short and intense – the health benefits of exercise are realized when you reach the point of maximum exertion (i.e. you can’t carry on a conversation – moving, panting, sweating). Obviously, this is different for every person. The simple solution? Join a CrossFit, sign up for OrangeTheory membership (both are quite skilled at coaching and will cater to all ages, injuries, and limitations).
SPARK (life/stress management): This category is more difficult to summarize (try reading this – What are you thinking?). Suffice it to say the following: get sufficient sleep (7+ hours/night), do not harbor resentment, anger, bitterness, and practice daily being grateful. Additionally, work at scheduling your priorities versus prioritizing your schedule – this sounds like a cute cliche, but it’s actually quite profound. If your priorities are health and a happy and productive life full of positive relationships and contribution to family and society, then schedule things like exercise and sleep before other things (such as work and family) – ironically this will enable you to be better at work and family life.
Preventable – the ignored reality
“More than 80 000 new cancer cases are estimated to be associated with sub-optimal diet among US adults in 2015 …” [article link]
How will you live? How is your health? Do you care?