Sunday, June 10, 2012

Anti-Health Rebelliousness

This past week I read an article that made my stomach turn. As appaling as it was the underlying issue screams about what is really happening in our country. The editorial was written by Dr. Neal Barnard called “You’re Not the Boss of Me.” 
Barnard highlighted The Heart Attack Grill in Las Vegas which seems to promote gluttony and unhealthy eating to an extreme. Outside the restaurant you will see a neon sign stating if you are over 350 pounds you can eat for free. Everything about this restaurant promotes obesity and a prevailing attitude of “anti-health rebelliousness.” The menu is a gross perversion lacking dignity, responsibility, and common sense. 
As radical as this seems I know plenty of people who have a streak of anti-health rebelliousness going on. I’ve seen it plenty of times: In a close friend who just recently had quadruple by-pass heart surgery and refuses to change their eating habits or smoking. I’ve seen it in another person who continues to eat the very food they know will raise their cholesterol even though they suffer from elevated cholesterol levels. I’ve seen it in a friend who is diabetic and refuses to exercise or eat regular meals yet they binge on anything in sight when their blood sugar drops. I’ve seen it in another friend with diabetes who continually has the sugary drinks and snacks. I’ve seen it in a co-worker who had a few toes removed because of their diabetes, yet they make the trek in their walking boot up to the cafeteria every morning and buy the most unhealthy food & snacks you can imagine. With all these people there is an underlying rebelliousness to becoming healthy. Why? 
To me it’s fascinating to see what motivates people to change. It’s also just as fascinating (but not enjoyable) to see the aberrant attitude that keeps people on the path of disease and death. So many of the people I know are addicted to food both physically and psychologically. 
One thing I have learned is that food and environment play a big role in our habits and our health. They seem to go hand-in-hand. You can definitely see this in certain geographic areas of the country. For example, there is someone I know who recently moved here from New York. Before moving here they had a lot of intestinal problems. After a few weeks of eating fruits and vegetables they no longer have any intestinal problems. Their comment to me was “Since I’ve been here I have never eaten so many fruits & vegetables in my life!” It made me feel good that I had been a good influence on them and was able to help them.
But the other people I mentioned above do not want any help. They want to continue on their way and ignore the signs. In a way, they have the same attitude as the Heart Attack Grill who boasts that their diners are “risk takers.” Yep. They are definitely risk takers with their lives. Even when things are so obvious there are people who are not dettered by this type of “nutritional pornography.” They just continue to do what they want and eat the very foods that has caused their disease. They just chuckle when reading the sign above the entrance that states “Caution! This establishment is bad for your health.”
For me being healthy is freedom. I don’t want to ignore any signs.  What I want is best possible life and to me that means being healthy. 
“In health there is freedom. Health is the first of all liberties.” 
- Henri Frederic Amiel -

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