Sometimes I have a real moral dilemma with this health journey. The more I learn about the body and how it works and what makes it feel better, the more this feeling sets in. I find it particularly challenging when it is around people that I care about.
It feels like there is a great mystery around the foods that we eat. Like we need to figure it out, like there are so many secrets and codes to it all. Most people seem to be on a perpetual diet, trying to find one that is definitely going to “work”, or looking for a quick fix solution to get pregnant. “Oh, I heard that drinking cherry juice is going to help with my fertility, maybe I should try that.” We are forever searching for a quick fix, an easy answer to get all that we want from our food.
Unfortunately most people are largely misinformed about the foods that they eat. They believe that as long as our diets are “balanced” that we are all okay. What “balanced” means seems to be a whole other question, when we start to delve into the reality of what we typically eat. We seem more concerned with getting enough protein, avoiding fats and sugars than really focusing on the key element of what food should provide: nutrition. That is ultimately what food is designed to do: give us nutrients, minerals and vitamins, so we can thrive. We have been sold to by all the meat and dairy companies to believe that protein is the most important element for our bodies. Babies milk only contains 20% protein and the reality is, we get heaps of protein just from plant foods and nuts. I have never heard of anyone with a protein deficiency.
So, this is where my dilemma comes in. What do you do when you know what would make someone feel better, lose weight or achieve whatever goals they want? Do you tell them? Do you leave it alone because perhaps they are not willing or open to hear, that actually they need to cut out a whole bunch of foods that they really love? Do you wait for them to ask you?
I find this hard sometimes. Ultimately, am I not being selfish in not sharing what I know? Is there not some sense of obligation to provide what I know and then have that person decide if they want to use the information or not?
I compare it to a mechanic. If I had a friend and he was a mechanic and I pulled up in my car and it was making all sorts of squeaky noises. I would expect my mechanic friend to offer to help me out, that he would be willing to give me an idea of what might be wrong with my car. I would be very annoyed with him, if he knew that my car was in need of serious repair and he simply chose not to say anything, because I didn’t ask.
Perhaps it isn’t as simple as that. Perhaps people don’t realize that the little signs that their bodies sends them are signs of an imbalance. Perhaps they have chosen not to see these little indicators as hey, their body is still functioning really normally… right? Most people don’t think it is serious when they don’t go to the toilet for a day or two, or they have perpetual headaches, or they have trouble sleeping or waking up. Most people don’t analyze what comes out and how frequently, how they feel after a meal or why they feel tired in the afternoon. A bit of extra weight and catching the flu frequently is normal in most societies.
Unfortunately most people also consider it just “bad luck” or “bad genes” when they develop a disease.
I know when I met up with my aunt over Christmas, she is still mystified by how many of her friends have developed cancer or heart disease or any other condition. She cannot understand why it seems that so many people are getting sick. To me, it feels like there is a massive elephant standing in the room. It is in each kitchen fridge in Germany—the mystery lies in all that food that you are eating, each and every day!
I think the real thing is that we need to change. Change and commitment is not what comes easily to most people. We struggle to do a regular exercise program and now we have to change every meal we eat? That is just too hard. People want a quick fix and we are used to a quick fix—take a tablet for a headache, a sleeping pill if you can’t sleep and drink a coffee to wake you up—sorted! Right?
I watched a movie by Charlotte Gherson the other day. She was talking about health and people and the interviewer asked her why they don’t focus more on disease prevention. She simply said, “It is a waste of energy. People will not change, until they are forced to.” I found this kind of sad. That means that the only way to change the world is if every person develops a disease and is then forced to change.
I am hoping that the world will become more awake about the connection between our diet and our health epidemics. I am hoping that eventually more people’s lightbulbs will go off and they will see the big elephant in the room.
Point is, do I tell them about the elephant now… or do I wait for them to get really sick before they will change?
What are your thoughts? What do you do?