The truth is both my parents had diabetes. Should I assume that I am a lost cause? Should I just eat unconsciously and not worry about my health because my family genetics says my body is bound to breakdown? I am doomed to have diabetes; I am bound to get sick after I hit 55 years of age so I should just throw in the towel right now? Like my parents I also love food. I love a good hamburger, deep fried foods, and I also have a sweet tooth as well. Back when I was a resident, I played into my family pattern of eating anything I could get my hands on since I was a resident or a doctor in training, I had little time to worry about preparing a healthy meal. I also find it interesting that as a physician we are never actually given any training on what to eat or how to manage our health. I don’t remember receiving any training on nutrition which is odd because I am board certified in internal medicine, I would think it would be significant to know about nutrition, but in western medicine, the focus is on disease and not preventative medicine. Again, I will try and stay off my “soap box” because the state of medicine in the U.S. is entirely another story.
The truth is I do have a say in my health, and it all starts with eating consciously or what I like to call eating with a conscious fork. It’s taken me a long time to understand that to break away from family medical history or genetics, that I was going to eat more consciously than my parents did. It means that I as a consumer need to know about food labeling and how processed foods may be hurting my body in the long run. It means understanding how my gut is impacting things like my brain, overall health and what I can do about it. It also means that doesn’t stop with only eating right and exercise; it also has to do with how I “show up” in the world. Am I living my life to the fullest and am I living life with a purpose? Am I having a positive impact on the people around me? Are the relationships in my life mutually beneficial to everyone involved? If any of these questions cannot be honestly answered with a yes, then one is opening themselves up to a host of potential gut issues and diseases. Why do I believe this to be true? It’s because when we mute our dreams or our relationships aren’t right we see an increase in our stress levels which in turn lowers the effectiveness of our immune system.
The question of how to live and eat consciously is an easy one to answer, but hard to put into action. The truth is we can’t eat and live consciously all the time, and that’s ok. There might be a time where that juicy hamburger or binge watching a TV series on Netflix over a weekend is too hard to pass up. I do both more often than I would like to admit. I would say giving yourself a pass now and then to live unconsciously for short periods of time is acceptable, only if you choose to live life to the fullest the rest of the time. What would be a first step in living consciously? I would say what are you putting on your fork? How to eat right would be a great first step in living consciously.
If you would like to know more about gut health, breaking away from your family health history or even how to lead a life with conscious living, then please call our office for an appointment or attend one of our speaking events.
Dr. Shah, MD