A Dong For Your Thoughts
(disclaimer: I'm in Vietnam and can't resist a good curency joke).
It's National Nutrition Month! I'm sitting here in Ho Chi Minh City all excited because the area around my apartment in District 1 is a hub of healthylicious food (Hum Vegetarian, Pi Vegetarian Bistro and Kay Vegan are among my favorites). Who would have thought? Forget one blog post- National Nutrition Month deserves a whole series. It's that important.
Most of us think about nutrition mostly in terms of weight, sometimes weight gain, but for most it's weight loss, am I right? What's the good food, what's the bad food, and what can you eat to get off those few extra pesky pounds? Nutrition, however, is about so much more than maintaining a healthy weight and getting that banging bikini bod. Good nutrition provides your body with energy and vitality (imagine a life without that mid-afternoon energy slump), improves your skin, boosts your immune system, and regulates gut health. You know what poor nutrition can do, aside from pack on the pounds? It can cause:
- Impotence (otherwise known as erectile dysfunction)
- Sleep apnea
- Gallbladder disease
- Kidney disease
- Heart disease
- Metabolic Syndrome
- Breast cancer
- Colon cancer
- Prostate cancer
- Lung cancer
Wow. Suddenly that bikini bod seems less important. Here are some more facts.
- 68% of American adults and 33% of American children are obese
- 50% of Americans will be diagnosed diabetic or pre-diabetic
- 1 out of 3 Americans will die of heart disease
- 75% of health care costs in the U.S. stem from diabetes, heart disease and a few other chronic lifestyle illnesses
- 80-90% of chronic lifestyle illnesses are PREVENTABLE and often entirely REVERSIBLE with lifestyle changes
Picture this. There's this delicious new street food stall that opens outside of your house and everyone you know flocks there, but then 1 out of every 3 people you know that buys a meal there comes down with this terrible bacterial food born illness and dies within 24 hours of eating the meal. You sure as hell would stop eating there, you would discourage your friends from doing so and that stand would get shut down real quick. So why is it that we are so hesitant to make dietary changes when a food born cause of death (heart disease) is much more insidious?
In May 2016 NPR conducted a poll with Truven Health Analytics, surveying a nationally representative sample of 3,000 U.S. adults. In the survey 75% of respondents ranked their diet as good, very good or excellent. In reality, a whopping 80% of Americans fail to eat the daily recommended amount of fruits and vegetables. Sounds like a solid nutrition education is in order.
That's enough to digest for one blog post. Here's what else I'll be writing about for national nutrition month:
1) Common nutrition misconceptions
2) How to interpret a nutrition label
3) Recipes to prevent the 'chronic' diseases listed above.
So stay tuned and in the mean time get your dong out (and up) and go buy some vegetables. Sorry, that was the last dong joke.