Wednesday, September 23, 2009

When Will We See?

Hi Guys-

Sorry it’s been a while since I have blogged here. I have been so busy with lots of exciting projects and writing for The Huffington Post. I kind of got ‘blogged out.’ But you can check me out weekly there ( Oh, and stay timed for a brand, spanking new awesome Christina Cooks website in the next few weeks. On to business now.

When I saw the recent news about the sad death of Patrick Swayze, I knew I had to find the time to write this particular blog.

Who didn’t love this smooth talking, handsome fabulous dancer? What woman wasn’t swept up in ‘Ghost’ and the pure romanticism of love? Who didn’t want to ‘dirty dance’ with him?

What was even more sad to me was watching his interview with Barbara Walters where he talked about his feelings on alternatives and his belief that if he ate healthy food, it would ‘feed his cancer’ and make matters worse.

I think that Patrick Swayze’s close-mindedness about alternative health practices illustrates what a lot of America feels about alternative approaches to health and wellness. It’s too good or too simple to be true in their view. I have been personally attacked by this same close minded thinking; called a liar and much worse. And all I do; all that my mission entails is to ask people to consider eating healthy food. I do not advise against medical care, nor do I bad mouth those who choose that path for their healing. I simply give the information that, in my experience, has validity.

Many years ago, I was diagnosed with a terminal form of leukemia and told that I had only months to live. As devastating as that news was to me, I knew that I had to look at every avenue to try and save my life. No door was closed; no information not sought out.

For me, the answer was in the food I was using to fuel my body. I did research and discovered that my choices, vegetarian junk food, had stolen my health and now threatened my life. I discovered that the way we fuel our bodies has a direct impact on how they function. Whether or not we can maintain our health and vitality is directly linked to what we choose to eat.

With all Americans know about making healthier food choices, why don’t we? We must choose food that serves the purpose of our lives and supports health, not steals it. Then we could avoid this cold sweat panic over health care reform, because by virtue of being healthy and fit, we’d prevent most of what has created the exorbitant health care costs that threaten to bankrupt us and break our spirit.

According to Dr. Dean Ornish, more than 75% of all health care costs are spent on what we now call ‘lifestyle diseases:’ obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke and even some cancers. That’s a staggering number, considering we spend more than $2.1 trillion on it…but what’s even more staggering is how quickly we could turn these numbers around if we just chose to eat food fit for human consumption.

Research continues to mount indicating that consuming an unprocessed plant-based diet (along with being physically active) is absolutely key to controlling weight, reducing blood pressure and heart disease, reducing the risk of diabetes and stroke and some cancers. Wow! Imagine a life free of these plagues.

For the life of me, I can’t figure out why every single American isn’t eating a healthy diet. I can’t believe that there’s one person who wants to be fat, at risk of disease, lethargic, foggy and achy. It doesn’t get easier or more delicious than the natural approach to eating. You can even transition slowly if that helps. But you must do something!

Start by substituting whole grain products for bread, pasta and grains (like brown rice for white). Choose nuts, seeds and beans for your protein (for those of you eating animal products, go for wild fish, but seriously, you can skip it and be just fine…remember, cows eat grass; gorillas gorge on berries and nuts…); get rid of the saturated fat that’s clogging your veins and arteries. Drizzle olive oil or other mono-unsaturated fats in place of butter. Skip the meat and dairy. Your heart will be grateful and not attack you!

I could go on for days about all the reasons to eat healthfully. But for some reason yummy, delicious food is not enough. Robust health is not enough. We who promote healthy eating beat our heads against the wall daily to inspire people to eat well and still, Papa John wins the day.

Take a personal inventory and see for yourself. Check your own vitality and well-being and see if it needs a wee tweak. Don’t wait until a safe is dropped on your head and you are in danger of losing your life. Choose an unprocessed, plant-based diet. Choose health. Choose life.



Gweithgar said...

Another great post, Christina! As someone with all the zeal of the newly-converted, I share your head-shaking, eye-rolling disbelief at people who don't get it and won't even consider it. People who say "Good for you! But, I could never give up {meat, cheese, ice cream, whatever}." People who say "Changing what you eat is so difficult!" I'm sure you have heard every one of them, right? Changing what you eat is NOT hard, you just have to want to do it.

I think a lot of people, especially those facing a health crisis, are actually afraid to make dietary changes. They would rather trust their doctor, their pills, their surgery, etc. A seriously ill friend said "But what if I give up all the foods I love, and then I die anyway?" And that's hard to rebut, since nobody can guarantee that dietary change will cure every single person. I said, "But what if you discover all these wonderful new tasty things to eat, and then you live a long, long time to enjoy them?" Really, what if?

It is frustrating when you feel that you have an answer, and an easy answer, to so many troubles, and people don't hear you. Don't give up, though. Hey, you converted me with your humor and common sense, so there's still hope!

By the way, when I went to visit my younger son (he's 28), he found a vegan restaurant for us to have lunch at. He's not vegan (at least, not yet) but he went to the trouble of finding the place. How sweet is that?? (And the food was really good, too. Vegan chili soup with three kinds of beans and about a dozen different diced veggies in a spicy broth; excellent hummus on whole wheat flat bread with tomatoes, onions, lettuce.)

Heidi Lyons said...

Thanks Christina for keeping right on with your great work in spite of all the criticism I'm sure you receive. It's heart breaking to see people eat the way they do. I get discouraged when my own family says "I'm not giving up my SAD food. What else do I have to look forward to."

You are a great inspiration to me and many others. Not a day goes by that I don't look thru one of your cookbooks for another great recipe to make. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

God Bless

Patricia said...

Hi, Christina! You are so right! I'm having now to take a look at my own habits; I've been a lacto-ovo vegetarian for a year and a half now, but an article the other day on Huffington Post by Kathy Freston, "A Cure for Cancer? Eating a Plant-Based Diet" brought me up short. I'm still eating animal protein, especially casein, and I am appalled that though I've made some positive changes, I am still way off the beam, healthy-eating wise. Time to change!

Thank you for your terrific show and all you do to help make eating healthy easy and fun!

Ree said...

Hi Christina,
I know you're very busy with The Huffington Post. I've enjoyed your articles. I have a question though. What's your take on the product "Gardein"? I know it's important to read the labels for "meat" substitutes but I'm not sure on this one. Thanks.

sonja said...

Hi all....i'm in va and i can no longer look at christina's show can someone please tell me where i find her on tv.


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Anonymous said...

Ace said...

I became Vegan because of your show, I didnt even know you were Vegan, I was watching and everything looked so good and healthy and I was 210 at the time and thought-well, it looks good-why not?

Then I realized-Oh, wait thats a Vegan show, well, ok, lets try it anyways and see if it helps me lose weight or feel better (I have Fibromyalgia) and WOW, what a difference it has made in my whole life, as a person, as someone sick with a chronic illness and now Im trying to get my mom-a breast cancer survivor to go Vegan-she is trying ideas from my cookbook I am writing and trying replacement foods, so far, so good!

All because of you, You are definately a role model for me and by far my favorite chef-I love PBS for having you on the show, Im going to buy your books next.

I hope you still read these comments, hehe, I see its been a while since your last post!

Thanks :)