You might draw different conclusions, but I have drawn the conclusion that our eating and, to some extent, our exercise lifestyle in the Western world has contributed to the diseases that kill and/or debilitate most Americans.
Different cultures have different ways of eating, some apparently more healthy than others. Our culture (US, Canada, and parts of Western Europe) has placed a great emphasis on eating flesh, eggs, and dairy.
Our lifestyle includes a diet that emphasizes eating flesh, eggs, and dairy while lounging around in recliners and clicking the remote. Ironically, when other cultures adopt the Western lifestyle, their rates of our “Western diseases” climb.
Why? I have concluded that there are two primary reasons:
1. Possibly because we were, at least in recent years, among the more affluent cultures of the world, we could afford to eat this way.
2. Possibly because we believed our own advertising and promotions.
Regardless, we have eaten a diet high in animal fats (flesh–whether it be from mammals, fowl, of fish, eggs, dairy) and protein, but low in fruits, vegetables, grains, and legumes.
In addition, we have become more and more passive.
Now we have sky high rates of heart disease, cancer, stroke, osteoporosis, diabetes, etc. while cultures which have different diet and exercise lifestyles have much lower incidences of these diseases.
Western cultures have sky high rates of heart disease, cancer, stroke, osteoporosis, diabetes, etc. while cultures which have different diet and exercise lifestyles have much lower incidences of these diseases.
In studying the cultures who have low rates of the diseases that kill and/ or debilitate most Americans, I see a few things these cultures seem to have in common with lifestyles:
- They eat an abundance of plants.They eat fruits, vegetables, beans, whole grains, seeds, and nuts. They eat a lot of these, every day, and in many cases have a higher caloric intake than Western civilization.
- They eat very little or, in some cases, no dairy products.
- They predominantly eat locally grown, seasonal foods. No hot-house tomatoes ripened artificially; no fish flown in from all parts of the world.
- They do not process or cook their foods excessively.
- They do not use additives and preservatives as we do.
- Most of their fats are mono-unsaturated rather than the saturated animal fat of our diet.
- Hydrogenated fat is unknown.
- There is little-to-no egg consumption.
- Flesh is optional and used mainly to season the food as in true Asian cooking.
- The flesh they do eat is not raised with antibiotics, hormones, or feed that is genetically-engineered, rendered, or full of chemicals from “factory-farming” use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides.
- Consumption of high-fat baked goods or sweets is limited.
- Alcohol consumption is limited. No regular “happy hours” in their lives.
- There are no “factory farms” turning out highly chemically fertilized produce with extensive use of pesticides.
- Regular physical activity maintains a reasonable degree of fitness, keeps weight at a healthy level, and gives a general feeling of well-being.
Ironically, when other cultures adopt the Western lifestyle, their rates of these “Western diseases” climb.
For example, the rural Chinese are reported to have no dairy products in their diets. Osteoporosis is virtually unknown.
Yet, when these Chinese adopt our diet and affinity for dairy products, their rates of osteoporosis rise, too.
Draw your own conclusions just as I have drawn mine.
– Article originally written by Patricia York