Health Conscious


My previous post was a serious one and so I thought would keep this one lighter. In this post, I’m discussing something that resulted from the treatment that I went through and how it affected the way I look at food and diet. Throughout parts of my treatment, I had to take steroids, not for muscle growth, but to promote blood counts after rounds of chemotherapy. The upside to taking steroids was that my immunity would become stronger which would allow me to go out in public. The unfortunate side-effect was having to endure a strict diet of no salt or sugar while on it. I always remember this being so tough especially at my age (7 – 8 years old) and being told I can’t have any sugar or salt while friends ate pizza, chips, basically whatever they wanted. Even going to the grocery store was an adventure reading all the nutrition facts of the food we’d purchase. The acceptable guideline I had to follow was 50 mg or less of sodium and 0 grams of sugar. If one day I decided to violate this diet it would result in some serious life-long condition like becoming a diabetic so I had to take this seriously. However, the silver lining to all of this was that I learned an essential practice that I use to this day, which is food nutrition. It’s made me more food conscious and aware of what I put in my body. This led me to consider various diets that ensured better health. Yet finding the right diet was challenging especially when you read headlines like “Eat more Protein”, “Remove Gluten” or “Avoid Carbs”. It’s an ongoing challenge to find middle ground on what the best diet is to follow. Plus, if you’re like me you stumble into some diet and hope that it will make you feel better or deliver some additional benefits like more muscle or energy. Or even better watch those documentaries that show up on Netflix or Amazon, which complicates it even more. Having seen several of them it’s hard not to completely change one’s diet immediately. Most documentaries examined farming practices or where your food comes from but there were two that really changed the way I look at food. Those two documentaries were What the Health, and Forks over Knives. These two documentaries looked at the correlations of eating meat, dairy and sugar and its effect on our health, and how it’s benefiting health organizations like (i.e. ACS, AHA) and the Pharmaceutical business. Sounds crazy and some of it seemed unbelievable at times. Without getting too much into ‘the weeds’, the outcome or suggestion was to follow a vegetarian almost vegan diet which to me sounded crazy. For a guy who loved having a good juicy steak for dinner, this was tough news to hear. Now, most would say don’t take these documentaries too seriously and I’d agree with them to a point. After watching Fork over Knives, it became apparent, almost alarming how meat consumption and cancer are so closely linked. This documentary (as opposed to What the Health) presented a lot more research and testing on how meat and dairy can lead to cancer. For a guy who takes diet very seriously and had a history with cancer, it only added wood to the fire. As you probably guessed, this led me into following a vegetarian diet which is tough but I found ways to manage it. Having been on the diet for more than a month I have noticed some notable health benefits including more energy and weight loss. The biggest benefit which I didn’t realize until recently was fewer stomach aches. I used to get awful stomach aches usually after dinner and around bedtime that would keep me up at night. Since on the diet, I haven’t noticed this problem at all!  Additionally, I discovered some awesome alternatives out there which make it easy for a meat lover like myself to transition over. Now, I’m not suggesting you immediately change your diet and become a vegetarian or vegan. Hell, from time to time I still slip in some meat. Overall the message of this post is the importance of knowing what you eat and how it makes you feel. For me, eating and nutrition were something I had to follow with treatment, but now it’s a way of life.