Food and a Long, Healthy Life

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There’s ALWAYS Something to Eat

An important part of David’s Way is making every calorie count, to make each calorie come from good, whole, healthy foods that nourish our bodies as efficiently as possible. David just did an article on oats that is a good example of this practice. Oats are a staple in both of our diets for strength and overall good health. We eat simple, whole food, nothing particularly expensive or special in any way. We count our calories and stick to a specific number that is calculated for each of us. This practice is called “Calorie Restriction” but we seldom feel that our calories are restricted because when we eat strictly whole foods, it’s sometimes hard to eat all of the food required to satisfy our calorie quota. Whole foods are nutritionally dense and satisfying so we get full sometimes before we finish our calories.

You Have Choices

“By some estimates, eighty percent of coronary heart disease, and type two diabetes mellitus and forty percent of cancers, may be prevented by modifying dietary habits, engaging in regular physical activity, and avoiding tobacco use.” (1) Think about that statement. This is from the National Institute of Health, a government group devoted to the health of this nation. They have no interest in tainted research. Their goal is to make us as healthy as possible. They cite studies that show that 26% of the risk for early death and the most disability-adjusted life years lost in the U.S. were both linked to dietary habits. In this study, they revealed that Okinawans have 80% fewer heart disease deaths and 40% fewer cancer deaths. I believe that the Okinawans are onto something.

Keep It Simple

Okinawans practice calorie restriction, eating until they are about 80% full. An important piece of this puzzle is that calorie restriction appears to improve health when there is no nutritional deficiency present. You cannot eat a low number of calories that consist of junk foods and be healthy.  We DO NOT advocate extremely low calorie, starvation diets. We believe that every food that we eat should be nutritionally dense. This is not “special” food. It is simple food. It is the way that people in the United States ate for over a hundred years and then slowly but surely, processed, fake food began showing up. With the rise in these fake foods came an increase in disease and body fat. Only a generation or two back, having more than just enough on the dinner table was pretty rare. Families came together and ate what was prepared and were satisfied with that, but they were seldom more than 80% full. People worked hard and were able to do it because they ate well. Leaving some space in your stomach keeps the receptors that signal you when to stop eating performing at a healthy level. When we eat all that we can hold, those stretch receptors get reset and we want to eat more and more and gain weight accordingly.

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Functional Food

When we eat nutritionally dense foods we naturally eat fewer calories. The Okinawans eat a lot of sweet potatoes of various types, purple being the most nutritious. They eat seaweed that is associated with lower cancer rates. They believe that food is medicine. While I’m all up for a trip to the doctor if I need that, I can honestly say that the last time that I remember being sick enough to go to the doctor was 11 years ago. I take no medications. I am 63. Food is an energy source for me and little else. I do enjoy a bowl of hot, steamy oatmeal or a really good salmon fillet but function is how I choose my food. I never choose food by cravings because I quit having them when I quit eating sugar. There are nights that I lift weights late and even then, I sometimes have to make sure that I have all of my calories in before I lift. The deadlift demands fuel. I have been about to go down to my equipment in the Dungeon when I realized that I was not hungry but I still needed a little more food to lift.

Not Just Longer Life, Better Life Longer

A very interesting aspect of studies done in Okinawa is that there is an upregulation, or upgrading, of a gene associated with lifespan and health. With the ever-improving genetics associated with caloric restriction and a nutrient dense diet, Okinawans in this study had about 10 additional years of disabilty-free life so they not only lived longer, they lived better. At David’s Way we always encourage you to count your calories and make them count. Don’t waste them on empty calorie foods that do nothing to improve your health and do everything to keep you craving sugar and salt. The Standard American Diet is truly S.A.D. and will barely sustain life, much less improve it. With research that is this compelling you may decide to do everything in your power to live longer and function higher on into old age. While these results are not conclusive,they are fascinating and since I eat in a similar way, I find this study to be a great example of good science that is good for human beings. I believe that it is money well spent with results that could possibly change the future of the world, if only we would listen.

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(1)  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5403510/)

 

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