Eating The Right Foods- Part 1.

Hypocrites said,  “Food is Medicine.”

In ayurvedic medicine there is proverb that says, “ With the right food medicine is of no use and with the wrong food medicine is of no use.”

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There is still truth in this ancient wisdom and science is confirming the same.

Studies comparing Rural Chinese diet with USA diet shows what we eat matters if we want to avoid ill health. In the USA it was noted that the fat intake was twice as much, fiber intake was three times lower and animal protein (beef, pork, lamb) was ninety percent higher when compared with the Rural Chinese diet. In the USA the heart diseases was 16 times higher in men, five times higher in women and higher Diabetes, Osteoporosis, Cancer and Hypertension when compared with Rural Chinese. These differences in the diseases were attributed to the difference in the food people eat in the two countries.

Scientists are now also discovering how these foods affect and change our physiology when we eat them. High fat meal for example can impair the blood flow to the heart muscle for up to six hours, in addition to the long term narrowing of the blood vessels. Its is not uncommon that if someone has a poor blood supply to the heart muscle they will get heart pain or a heart attack after a high fat meal; because the fat doesn’t allow the blood vessels to dilate up to six hours.

Red meat and cured meats are linked to colon cancer according to one study completed in 2010. Other evidence comparing indigenous Africans with USA Africans shows that African living in Africa who eat very high fiber diet have 1 in 100 000, where as USA Africans the cancer rate is much higher, 1 in 2000. This is linked to having higher red and cured meats; and low fiber in the USA diet.

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Another study in 2010 showed women who were diagnosed with ovarian cancer and were on high red and cured meat diet had poor clinical outcome compared with those who were on low red meat diet.

There is also some evidence linking obesity to having more cancer. The obesity is related to eating too many simple carbohydrates and sugars in the North American diet.

The good news is that there are foods that keep us healthy. Study done on people who already had coronary artery heart disease and who were put on Mediterranean diet for five years showed seventy percent reductions in cardiovascular events, eighty percent reduced spread of cancers and people developing cancer later in life was also reduced. The Mediterranean diet consists of more beans, veggies and lentils. To use canola oil or olive oil, eliminate saturated fats from beef, pork, and lamb and also eliminate butter and cream.

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Other research confirms the above findings and healthy eating is never too late to start. Another study shows benefits in older people, from age seventy to ninety year olds who were told to follow Mediterranean diet and walk one to one and half miles a day; there was fifty percent reduction in cardiac events and mortality.

Science is discovering what is in the Mediterranean diet that makes it so good for us to eat. It has to do with the right fats, right carbohydrates and the right micronutrients. We will look at these in more details in the future post.

Resources:

In Defence of Food – by Michael Pollan

The Science of Natural Healing – by Dr Mimi Guarneri

The strength of your soil is crucial if you are to stay healthy and live a long life.

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When the trees in our yard or the houseplants in the house are not doing well, the leaves dry, turn brown and fall off. When we stop to wonder what the cause might be, our usual response is to check the soil, make sure there is right amount of moisture in the soil, check its getting the right amount of exposure to light and we may even provide the proper plant food. After we checked and corrected the conditions for the plants they usually thrive.

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Humans are not that different. They too need the right conditions to thrive. Yet when we are not doing well our immediate impulse is to take a pill for the problem. It would be nice if we were to ask the question, “I’m I living under the right conditions?” Is the moisture of my soil ok, have I got enough light, I’m I eating the right food, I’m I living in the right environment etc. If we don’t provide the right conditions for ourselves its unlikely we will ever feel our optimal best. Its only in the recent years we are beginning to see the strong link between the ‘conditions we are under’ and whether a good or bad genes that’s going to get turned on; under optimal conditions for example, lot of the cancer genes get turned off. Under horrible conditions lot of the cancer genes get turned on. Just as for the plants, we need to make sure we are living under optimal conditions.

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So what are the right conditions? What strengthens our soil? Here is the basic list: –

1.Eat the right food.

2.Exercise.

3.Get enough sleep

4.Live in the right community.

5.Orientation of having the glass half full not empty.

6.Connect with your spirituality.

7.Choose your parents wisely!!!!! …. Just kidding. …They do provide us with the genes we carry and the early environment, both of which are important, as we will see in the future posts.

I have covered some of these before but its no harm in reviewing them again in the up coming posts.

You may also want to review the past posts too.

https://drchana.com/2011/11/

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Sense of Self (Me) and We.

If one decide to become part of “we” it doesn’t mean they should lose sense of “me” ; if “me” does gets lost there is a serious problem knowing and developing the sense of self.

In relationships we share patterns of energy with one another which pass through our neural circuits, these patterns of energy carry meaning and information. If this energy and information is not transmitted properly there are serious consequences for knowing the self and being part of the we.

For example, if  the past experience of relationship connections were unreliable, it will prevent us from knowing ourselves and will cause difficulty relating to others as “we.” So as not to risk being hurt again by similar experiences to the past ones, we will shut parts of ourselves off . This may result in us living life of isolation and creating sense of independence which will allow us to survive but it will limit our sense of vitality that we are able to feel as part of we. We may also find that our sense of self to be in an overwhelming upheaval if our experience of past connections with those we depended for comfort  were inconsistent, un-welcomed and intrusive. In this situation we may find ourselves with disabling doubt , anxiety and fear when ever we allow ourselves to become dependent on our loved one for support, caring  and well-being. We may continue to look for a perfect partner but never finding one. We may become highly reactive to ambiguous communication that may fill our daily lives with dread and uncertainty. These experiences prevent us from growing and knowing ourself as a person; they keeps us from being “me.” They also constrain our present experiences and limits us from constructing more helpful future. We have to grow beyond these past memory patterns and move towards integrated state of thriving as both a strong “me” and a vitalizing “we.”

Daniel J. Siegel in his book Pocket Guide to Interpersonal Neurobiology mentions studies of empathy and reports…

…” individuals who are shown a photograph of a gruesome accident can be overwhelmed in their response and shut down their capacity to help if they ask the question: What if that were me? How would I feel? Instead , if they ask the question, ” How does that person feel?” they are more likely to have the internal resources to extend themselves and help other. The gist of these finding is that if we fuse together you and me, “I” will become lost and overwhelmed. We will become confused, fused – with. Joining is not the same as fusion.”

Various mindful awareness practices are direct way to increase the capacity to become a part of a we without becoming lost as me. ( in the future posts I will say more about these practices.)

Resources

Daniel J. Siegel :  Pocket Guide to Interpersonal Neurobiology

Searching for “medical truth” on the Internet.

I use the Internet to look up information almost daily because the new information that gets added to the medical field everyday is staggering. What I had learned in the medical school no longer apply today because about 90% of the information has been replaced by new discoveries and new paradigms.  I remember the dean of medical school telling us in his welcome address to us on our first day of medical school that we will have to continue leaning for the rest of our medical career because what you learn in medical school will be mostly replaced within ten years with new information; and it will continue to be replaced about every ten years.

Searching for the medical information on the Internet can be tricky for someone without medical training. When I look up information on the Internet it is usually to add new information to my existing medical knowledge base and understanding. But a person without a medical background just accrues mere facts. The facts are fine but they do not provide any understanding as to how they are to be interpreted or applied in a given context of a medical condition or situation.

Over the years with the availability of internet and the gradual adoption of the postmodern skepticism view, I have seen more and more people believing less and less to an authority and objectivity; which translated, really means that people don’t trust objective truth. In which case they are inclined not to believe individual who are experts or are specially trained in a particular field. People tend to believe those who are ‘authentic’ or ‘candid’ and state their biases. But that is not enough to get a hold on truth, to see the situation “as it is “ one needs more.

Someone who is an authority on a subject is not alone on holding those truths, he/she has a history of communal trek which span over many centuries and over many different terrains during which sphere of knowledge has been accumulated on firm footing. The folk lure and popular opinion have been weeded out by making scrupulous, disinterested observations and by executing careful, transparent experiments. These truths are never final, in future times it is possible that the truth we hold today may be falsified with further new evidence. This is what separates knowledge from opinion or folklore; knowledge can be corrected and new insights can be added to the sphere of knowledge. Experts in their fields know how to evaluate the truth from competing false charismatic claims; she/he is unlikely to make decisions that may be based on false information, thus avoiding decisions that are irrational, prejudiced, or those that are susceptible to propaganda.

Most people (though less than before) afford special privilege to the professionals because they ask and expect them to render complex, disinterested judgments under conditions of uncertainty; and this is how it should be. We should not be so naïve as to believe that most individuals can become their own best doctors by surfing the Internet and getting the facts. Much more is need to make good medical decisions about the diagnosis and the treatment options.

The Internet has its usefulness for sure; it is a source of information that has never been available to so many and so easily in the history of humankind. People can communicate and publicize that which is not right with the world. They can criticize the experts or the public leaders. This is all good for democracy. But it can also be used as a propaganda tool. It has never been so critical in the history of humans to be able to evaluate information appropriately so that it’s not misleading. Humankind it seems has solved the problem of disseminating information to everyone who cares to know but we still have long ways to go with understanding and wisdom.

Howard Gardner in his book “ Truth, Beauty, and Goodness Reframed” writes…

But the proliferation of sources on the web may well usher in new situation: in the future we can expect more knowledge, better questions, and refusal to accept authority, let alone stand in awe, just because a credentialing agency has placed a new additional letters before or after the professional’s given name.”

It is hard to be certain what the future will look like with new changes, attitudes and expectations. I am hopeful that future will afford constructive conversations between individuals, families, groups, and the community at large; and should disputes arise they are settled with knowledge with firm basis.

Resources:

“ Truth, Beauty and Goodness Reframed”  by Howard Gardner

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