If you are like me, amazed that it was so easy to change your health, your weight, your lifestyle, you probably are just as amazed at how hard it is to spread the good news. Today I want to write about spreading the message to your loved ones.
I was forced yesterday to think hard about how to help someone that really needs it when my mother called me and said that what she wanted for Christmas was for me to create for her a cookbook of things that were safe for her to eat. Her health is suffering like everyone else that eats the western diet. When she went in with one problem, six months later she is taking six or seven medications, one to treat the original complaint, the other five or six are to combat the problems that each one of the subsequent medicines create. I really want her to succeed. I really didn’t feel like she should be waiting for this help until Christmas.
I think that a collection of recipes is a component of the help that I can provide, but by no means is it the only thing, or the most important thing. First I immediately gave her a list of things to change in her day to day life that will get the ball rolling for her.
First, I said, give up sweetened drinks. Best choice for a drink at mealtime is water. If you must have something in your water it should be coffee or tea–no sweeteners in it, sugar or diet. This would be the easiest advice to take if it were easy to give up sugar, but sugar is an addictive drug, as addictive as cocaine. When you are standing in line at the theater it is not all that easy to get a drink that is unsweetened. Ordering a water at Hardee’s is not all that easy either. Still, quitting the sweetened drinks is the easiest part of quitting your bad eating habits.
Second, I asked her what she eats for breakfast, and she says she is sensitive to eggs. Chances are that she is sensitive to something she has been eating in or with her eggs, but even if the eggs are the problem, these days science is figuring out that food allergies are actually caused by the Western Diet. Someday soon, my mom might figure out that she CAN eat eggs without trouble. For now, though, we have to find her a breakfast with no sugar in it (for the first three weeks) that doesn’t have eggs as a big part of it. My thought then was to get some help from Mark Bittman. I ordered his book, VB6, which details the reasons for and the ways to get out of the Western Diet. The nice thing about VB6 is that it comes with directions on what to have in your pantry, how to prepare these things and store them, and a sample monthly menu.
When we got to talking about lunch, it was obvious to me what her eating problem is. They are seniors that go all the time. Hardly ever is she home at lunchtime to eat or to cook for herself. She has been eating fast foot, diner, or buffet food every day at lunch. I don’t live like that, and every day at work I eat leftovers of home cooked dinners. My lunches are in my control. I recommended, as a first thought, that in the future she brown-bag lunches for them and I recommended salads as something easy to carry and easy to prepare wherever they might be at mealtime. As far as I am concerned it would be worth the trouble to me, but what does she think of doing that? I don’t know, and lunch really worries me for her. She has got to quit eating processed foods and none of the food at McDonald’s is real, it is all processed and highly industrialized food.
Dinner should be something that she cooks. If only I could convince her that it is worth everything to her. This is how you cure diabetes, taking your medicine only makes it livable, while causing other problems.
I told her to not eat foods that come in boxes or bags. I told her to eat real foods and to stop eating sweeteners. I told her that low-fat is a sign that the foods labeled like that should not be eaten. Will any of my advice be used? I hope so, because she should live healthily until she is very old. If she keeps on her current path she will get sicker and sicker. It will be harder and harder for her to get around as she gains more and more weight. Her diabetes will get out of hand and her high blood pressure medicine will cause all of the problems that they are known to cause. All the while her and her doctors will toil away to get just the right combination of chemicals to cause her the least trouble. Thousands upon thousands of dollars will be spent, her health will continue to go slowly downhill. I would hate to see that happen when all she needs to do is start eating real foods.
Wish me luck.