Within Our Control

And Now This…

The last 20 months have been absolutely incredible.  Ok, that’s a miserable understatement, but I am at a loss for words to describe most of it just about always.

Between a worldwide public health crisis, questions about individual health autonomy, social disruption, civil unrest, economic upheaval, the political juggernauting to manage it all, and the bumbling responses to it, I’d say this has been a stretch like no other. Truly unique in all time for the whole world, every day seems to bring some new hole, stretch, or wrinkle to the already complex fabric of our lives.

The good news is, there are a few things that have remained entirely consistent, that we can take comfort in, that haven’t changed. One is the importance of eating more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds. Including physical movement, time in the sun, and avoiding processed foods and substances known to cause illness are also important.

Actually, I was speaking about this with a friend of mine last week. He is a Board Certified Lifestyle Medicine Doctor. Our conversation focused on the current events in public health. We are both admittedly very nerdy about this stuff. So the conversation was fast-paced and energizing. By the end of it, we both agreed that there has never been an evidence-based way to prevent or reverse a disease that includes a diet loaded with additives, preservatives, refined and processed ingredients. In other words, no known illness improves by having the patient consume ever-increasing amounts of alcohol, candy, chips, refined baked goods, trans fats, sugars, and preservatives. That illness simply has not been found.  Quite to the contrary, the truth is that barring patient allergies and other individual or idiosyncratic responses, all diseases appear to respond most favorably to increased whole plant food intake, sunshine/Vitamin D, fresh air, and moderate exercise. We can add to that list, restorative sleep and drinking adequate amounts of water to round out a prescription for robust and resilient health.

I want to emphasize here that this is true for all illnesses, mental and physical, acute and chronic. For example, current research into the most effective diet to minimize depression, heart disease, diabetes and the effects of COVID-19 all show the same results. Adherence to a whole food plant-based way of eating is correlated with milder disease course and more rapid recovery.

So bottom line here:

Regardless of what we choose to do about taking medication, masking, taking the jab, social distancing, or inviting friends to our houses based on any of the above, we can continue to give ourselves the best odds in fighting all causes of disease if we stay whole food plant-based, get at least moderate exercise, drink water and get some Vitamin D from sun or supplements.

All easy and mostly within our control. Period.

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