CARDIOLOGY, PRIMARY CARE AND NUTRITION

Blogpost: You are Not the only One.

A table of 4 sits across from me at a local restaurant. They are all overweight. Their heads are too heavy for their necks to support. There is a marked curvature of their upper backs with their heads coming off 45 degrees to their bodies. It is an effort for them to get up from the table, and a painful shuffle ensues as they walk out of the restaurant and across the street to their car. The gentleman’s legs are red and swollen below the knees. Every step appears painful and unbalanced. The 50 foot walk is a genuine effort an then a lean against the car to get the door open with a partially controlled fall to the padded seat.

They had no idea it was plant based menu night at the restaurant. The main menu is filled with brown high fat meats and gravy with a garnish of asparagus or potatoes with endless baskets of white bread and creamy butter. It was their social gathering for the night as well as mine. The only difference was the food selections. The plant based choices were an eggplant bean pate with broccolini and artichokes, endive with beets and oranges or a spring salad. The main course choices were a vegetable potato medley, a quinoa and faro with vegetables over butternut squash sauce or a gluten free pasta primavera with more vegetables than pasta. (That is a good thing).

Same social experience at two different tables with the main difference being unhealthy food at one table and obvious poor health. Therein lies the disconnect. I am sure both parties would like to be healthy. Eating out should not be an assault on ones health. It should be a social gathering that brings joy not sorrow as poor health continues to worsen.

The population continues to get larger and more unhealthy. It is not the fault of protein, fat, or carbohydrates. It is the fault of the food choices and the quantities. There are more calories in restaurant entrees than people burn all day. It is impossible for the body to keep up with the toxins they are presented everyday in the food. The liver is one of the main detoxifying organs. It is also one that is infiltrated with fat from excessive calories making it less efficient to clear the toxins. The pancreas works nonstop to clear the constant intake of food never getting a rest. The vasculature is responsible for supplying the body with nutrients, but is constricted and inflamed because of the sludge it must push from place to place. The kidneys are overwhelmed and cannot filter the massive amounts of animal protein presented and begin to fail silently until less than 50% function is able to be detected on a blood test. Our heart is struggling to pump blood through a massive congested highway not only to our organs but to an ever expansive mass of adipose tissue. The skeleton begins to crumble because of the lack of blood supply coupled with the massive amount of weight it must carry.

It is not until the body has failed that the blood test become abnormal, and the x rays show the destruction in the bones and organs. It is not until the pain is so great that medical intervention begins with pills and procedures to ease the pain and perhaps slow the decline. The association of the food that people eat and their health is hidden by every aspect of society from friends and family to the media and governing bodies. And hence, we are made to feel that we are alone in the silent struggle of declining health.

Friends think other friends are doing well just because they do not talk about their poor health. Someone has to be first to say I am going to make a change. My health is important to me, and I want to maintain it. It has to start from one individual and then spread. We all want health. It is about showing people how and by voting with our dollars by choosing healthy food. Do not accept less. There are barcodes on every item in the grocery store. If a item does not sell, it will not be stalked. The overhead of a restaurant is the food. If it is not ordered, it will not be on the menu for long. It starts with one. It is not about lecturing others, but demonstrating by action. Choose health. Choose vegetables, whole grains, and fruit. Say no to chemistry experiments and animal products. Manufacturers are catching on but they still want to sell products that resemble the very items that make us sick in the first place but are packaged differently. An egg is not health food. Nor is an artificial egg. A beef burger is not healthy so say no to beef burger imposter. Say no. Choose real food. You body will thank you and perhaps someday, so will your friends.


One Comment
  1. Reply
    Nancy Brainard

    I do not go out to restaurants much but the last time I did it was depressing to me. The obesity problem is just everywhere. I tend to forget since most of the time I hang out with hikers and with people at the gym who are mostly interested in health and keep their weight down…except there is one older lady who is quite obese and kinda waddles to the recumbent bike. Never see any improvement. It is as if there is this huge disconnect between food and obesity. I will never understand not wanting to feel better and be able to have fun moving. I was recently pleased to see Shands Hospital in Gainesville (where I used to live) has a plant based menu for patients and staff! So exciting. Even my son who is overweight has started
    losing weight, but he will not go plant based. Hopefully that will change one day. His wife is obese and just started with a CPAP and my son is sad that she will not go on the journey he is on eating less and exercising. And so it goes. Thank you for your words of wisdom and motivation.

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