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Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Best Medicine

Eat healthy. A bit vague and the definition certainly changes among individuals but we all now we could leave out a bit of the processed, sugary, high fat, fried foods and add in fresh produce. When we go to the doctor, many of us want a quick cure, a prescription, a plan of action and to feel better. Sometimes a doctor may chide you about your weight or cholesterol and perhaps hand you a sheet of suggested diet tips, but somehow, it's not enough.

A coworker of mine is very aware, aware of herbal remedies, natural tips, vitamins and supplements and eats a mostly whole/organic, "good-for-you" diet. She once said, "We really should be putting our money in our mouths. We should all be buying the best food money can buy for ourselves." Why aren't we? Could be a number of factors including cost. The fast food chains were quite aware what they were doing when they created "value menus" or "dollar items." The public started to cry foul and so they added apple slices. In no way should the fast food giant be held accountable for our choices, the observation is simply that if an individual whether of a low economic status, high school or college student with a limited budget or anyone simply short on cash, has the option of a full meal for $5.00 or a small fresh salad which option are they more likely to select and how can their minds be changed?

Yes, we have these options and choices to make every day. And yes, some of our selections are based on how we were raised, what we think tastes good and how we think the food will make us feel. "I need this piece of chocolate right now," or, "I deserve this."

What if when we went to our doctor's office for an annual physical or with a health problem we were truly instructed on significant improvements and modifications in our diet? Would we listen?

A link to last week's New York Times Dining Section article, "To Heal, First Eat,"
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/11/dining/doctors-learn-to-cook-healthy-crave-able-foods.html?pagewanted=all is suggested reading. How would patients (you and I) feel about a doctor who can put his medicine where our taste buds are by hosting a food preparation/seminar/workshop complete with recipes to take home? A place where the attendees may receive a credit to their health insurance for attending?

We all know, "We are what we eat," but maybe we don't know what a kale chip tastes like or what to do with quinoa and any other number of healthier options now available to the buying public that our parents maybe did not prepare. Who better to help us than the professionals we pay to help us feel better and look out for us to make healthy choices to live a long, healthy, pain free life?

For the third year in a row, my intelligent husband received the results from his annual physical which included another increase in his overall and "bad" cholesterol numbers. Also within the letter was the following advice, "a low fat diet and increased exercise will help bring down cholesterol." Here's what I think he translates that into, "You have to cut down on chocolate chip cookies and french fries and maybe go for a few more walks with your wife." Here's what I see, "Make sure he eats more fruits and vegetables and has a turn on the treadmill." All three versions are fairly vague and could use a bit more backbone, plans must be put in place and monitored. For now, I am making as many healthy swaps in our diet as I can though I know he will never say no to fried foods and yes, I have found his cookie stash.

How do you take your medicine?

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