I’m getting in early. Seems like everyone on the interwebs is talking about getting healthy as their New Year’s resolution and I know a fad when I see one. So here it is folks. My take on a healthy 2018!
Let’s just fast forward to New Years Day (sorry I couldn’t wait, what with everyone else already writing about getting healthy in the New Year). You’ve been eating and drinking too much for a couple of weeks now because even if you’re not into the whole Christmas thing, everyone else seems to be doing it so you went along for the ride. You’ve already been reading about healthy eating in that time as well because a whole bunch of sales people on social media are selling you some sort of new weight loss program or detox challenge. You know your New Year’s resolutions won’t last, they never do, but you feel you have to do something because of all that inflammation going on in your body that will definitely lead to some awful disease.
OK. Let’s stop right there. Detox? Inflammation? Disease? What does it all mean and why have your 8 week ‘Challenges” never worked before?
Let’s start with detoxing.
First of all, the body is equipped with organs that are very efficient at removing any toxic substances from your body. The liver, kidneys, skin, lymphatic system, and bowels are all designed to break down (metabolise) and remove (excrete) poisons, bacteria, viruses, fungi, parasites, heavy metals, alcohol, drugs, caffeine, excess fats and sugar, chemicals and pollution from your body. So why detox? “To help heal those vital organs”, I hear you say. Well, the trouble is most ‘detox’ programs involve severe food and calorie restrictions that are most likely unnecessary, and may well be harmful. While restricting alcohol, caffeine, processed foods and saturated fat intake is probably beneficial, there is no credible evidence that severe dietary restrictions are of any benefit to the body. Yes you will probably lose weight, but that is most likely due to extreme calorie restriction than anything else.
Inflammation: OK. Here’s the thing. Inflammation doesn’t cause disease.It’s part of the process that leads to disease. Part of the journey so to speak. So be aware that trying to do an anti-inflammation diet, or eat foods that ‘reduce inflammation’ is really just treating the symptom, not the cause. Fasting and Exercise are known to decrease inflammation. Alcohol and drugs can cause inflammation of the liver and pancreas, so take a leaf out of Yale University Associate Professor, Wajahat Z Mehal’s notebook and avoid those two if you want to reduce inflammation of the liver and pancreas.
The World Health Organisation defines Disease as: A failure of the adaptive mechanisms of an organism to counteract adequately, normally or appropriately to stimuli and stresses to which the organism is subjected, resulting in a disturbance in the function or structure of some part of the organism. This definition emphasizes that disease is multifactorial and may be prevented or treated by changing any or a combination of the factors. Disease is a very elusive and difficult concept to define, being largely socially defined. Thus, criminality and drug dependence are presently seen by some as diseases, when they were previously considered to be moral or legal problems.
So, disease can be prevented or treated by changing exposure to “stimuli and stresses”. No need for extremes. Juicing may just increase oxalates anyway! (that’s for another post). Just eat lots of fruit and vegetables, drink lots of water, avoid alcohol and caffeine, don’t smoke and get some exercise.
Happy New Year 2018 xxx.