Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Retrospective #361: “Whistlin’ Past the Graveyard”

When I wrote this in mid-December, I had just learned that two people that I thought I was helping are paying no attention to my advice. This news is worse than discouraging. It’s depressing – but not so much for me. I’m trying not to think of myself. I don’t write this stuff for myself. Okay, I do, a little, but I do it primarily for my friends and my faithful readers, and for people who stumble on a column through Google. But it’s especially disheartening to learn that people whose health should be of paramount concern to themare ignoring their health and my advice.
Okay, I’m not a health professional, and I’m certainly not a doctor. I don’t have the opportunity to order blood tests and deliver the bad news to the patient. And then, when they are most vulnerable, tell them to take a pill or even to follow a certain way of eating. But I can’t for the life of me (LOL) figure out why anyone would listen to a doctor in the matter of what to eat. I mean, what in bloody hell do doctors (or RD’s or CDE’s) know about “healthy eating.”
Oh, I forgot. Doctors have been telling us what to eat to prevent heart disease since 1961. In fact, it began after President Eisenhower’s first heart attack in 1955. By January 1961, Ancel Keyes, an epidemiological physiologist, had made it onto the AHA Board of Directors and the cover of Time magazine with the basic advice, then and now, to avoid saturated fat and cholesterol, to eat mostly a plant-based diet primarily with fats from corn and soybean oil.
Then, in 1977, government Dictocrats set the same Dietary Goals and, starting in 1980, updated them every 5 years. This diet, per the Nutrition Facts Label on processed food, was and is, for women, 60% (300g) carbs, 10% (50g) protein and 30% (67g) of the oxidized polyunsaturated vegetable and seed oils (PUFAs) manufactured by the industrial food giant conglomerates supported by the USDA. For men, it’s 375g of carbs, 67g of protein and 83g of fat (PUFA’s).
Now it’s true that in recent years the USDA/HHS/FDA have backed off a little. They no longer limit total fat to 30%, but they insist that to the extent that percentage is increased, you do it with those PUFAs, not the saturated fats from animals. And it’s true that the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee told the full panel on December 14, 2014, that “Cholesterol is no longer a nutrient of concern for overconsumption,” eliminating the 300mg per day limitation, but after the full panel held Congressional hearings, the final 2015 Guidelines watered down that recommendation.
There are also lots of news articles appearing now about the benefits of full-fat dairy products like milk and yoghurt. But guess what? Have you tried to find full-fat yoghurt in the grocery store recently? Good luck with that! But what did you expect? Do you think the Government is going to tell you their advice for the last 60 years has been all wrong? Of course not. It’s unthinkable. So, you have to decide for yourself what healthy eating is. Or, listen to me (LOL).
I could even cite myriad scientific reviews questioning – neigh, disparaging the advice to reduce the intake of salt. I’ve cited them over and over again in multiple columns. But, does anyone listen to me? No. Poor, poor little me.
Recently I learned that a friend who needed to lose weight he had gained because of medications he must take – was successful in following the low-carb regimen I recommended. Then, with his wife, he switched to Weight Watchers.
Then another friend, who also has medical issues, on the advice of her physician (who’s vegan), had gone vegetarian. And guess what? She’s tired all the time, and blood tests her doctor ordered showed her to be protein deficient. Quelle surprise! She and her husband, who is in worse shape than she, both have ignored my advice for years.
Okay, I am feeling sorry for myself. But I am also worried for them, and for YOU too – for their health and YOURS. Don’t they realize that is all they have that is important (besides each other)? Don’t YOU realize it?
I just learned a few days ago that another friend died suddenly about a month ago. Maybe this rant is because I’m grieving for him too and for all my other friends and everyone else who is whistling past the graveyard. Thinking about myself, I am in much better health today than I was 20 years ago, or maybe even 50 years ago. And I am still alive and thriving! THIS IS REALLY ABOUT YOU, MY FRIENDS: IT IS YOU WHO ARE WHISTLING PAST THE GRAVEYARD.
February 12th is the scheduled republication date for this column. It will also be the 1st day of the rest of YOUR LIFE.

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