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Making Health A Priority

My dad and step mom have been visiting the past week. I went with them as they visited a number of family and friends. One thing I observed is I do not ever want to end up like so many in my family. This is why my healthy whole food plant based lifestyle is a priority.

First of all, my dad has giant cell arteritis. He is on steroids and a monthly injection. He gets tired easily and has to deal with chronic aches and pains.This is an inflammatory condition. My gut instinct is that he could feel a lot better if he were to adapt a plant based lifestyle, but he has no intention of changing.

Earlier in the week, my dad visited with his high school friend and I went with him. What a sad sight that was. The poor guy is diabetic, his legs were purple and oozing, his feet were both swollen to twice the size they should be. The guy could barely stand up with a walker. He likely has heart disease too. His quality of life is so poor; I couldn’t imagine how depressing that must be. And the thing is, his condition is 100 percent avoidable if he had chosen to make healthy choices. He eats a lot of processed meats, eggs, dairy, potato chips, high salt foods, etc.

My dad also has another friend who just had hip replacement surgery this past week. In addition to his friend, my step mom needs knee replacements. These are examples of why I do strength training. I would never want to go through replacement procedures. I feel the exercises I am doing and my healthy eating plan is the best insurance policy I can give my joints so that they stay healthy and strong.

We also made a visit with another family member who is type 2 diabetic and she has macular degeneration, along with cataracts. Monthly injections in the eye? NO THANK YOU! The though of developing any of these diseases is enough justification to eat the way I do. I choose to not give in to the temptations of eating the Standard American Diet. I love when people will ask me, “aren’t you ever tempted to eat this or that?”. No, never tempted, I like the way I feel.

Yesterday, we visited yet another family member who is dealing with disease, as she is recovering from lung surgery. She had lung cancer, brought on by her years of chain smoking. Again, another completely avoidable disease. Smoking is the number one cause of lung cancer. I do not understand how someone can continue to smoke, but I guess addictions are too hard to break... or are they?

When I was 350+ pounds, I was addicted to fast food. I overate every day. I avoided going to the doctor as I never wanted to hear that I was pre-diabetic or other lifestyle related diseases. It wasn’t until I faced my fears and went to the doctor that I realized I do not have to develop these lifestyle related diseases. I can be in control of my health. I made the decision when the doctor told me he wanted me to go on meds for hypertension. I knew there had to be a better way.

When I hear my dad or step mom say “wait until you get to be my age”, they has no idea how that motivates me to be as healthy as I can. I strive for health. I don’t want lifestyle diseases that can be avoidable by taking care of one self. I would rather keep health a priority and focus on positive things.

Disease can be avoided or reversed. Just ask my mom, who successfully reversed her type 2 diabetes with a plant based diet. She no longer needs meds. She could have been like my dad’s high school friend, but she decided to make health a priority too, using me as an example. I am proud of that. It proves that someone does not have to be dependent on meds or life and be in pain, if they make the necessary changes to their lifestyle.

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