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A rat-race madness



“Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, expecting different results.” This famous quote is attributed to Albert Einstein and for a man of his mental aptitude, I swear I would not have said it better myself. Five years ago, I decided to change my way of eating. Why? Because the “balanced diet” touted as healthy by the health sector was not cutting it for me. I remember quite well how I used to look at the glossy posters of the food pyramid in many health centres and wondered why I was gaining weight instead of maintaining a healthy one even though I was religiously following the so-called “balanced diet” mantra. I remember as a child back in primary school, we would sing a popular rhyme on the three macronutrients. This was meant to promote a healthy eating pattern that would last us for a life-time. It was engraved in our minds from childhood and was to be our chant for the rest of our lives. The song used to go like: liaha ‘mele, li thibela-mafu, li matlafatsi, ke seo re se hlokang…This song described the uses of carbohydrates, proteins and fats and why our body needs them. It was quiet a nice recitation as 40 years later, it still rhymes nicely in my memory. Nice as it sounds, it is unfortunately not telling the whole truth. Our so-called balanced diet has never worked well in the fight against obesity, and other metabolic diseases that goes with it. In fact, the food pyramid as it stands, is only perfect for making us fatter and sicker. Let us face the truth, our diet for the past 50 years, has actually pushed our health further into decline, despite advances in medicine. Why is that? Why are we getting fatter with each passing year? People are now killed by food than famine for the first time in human history. We are living in abundance and we are literally eating ourselves to death. Access to all kinds of food is on the rise than any other time in history. The food on our plates determines our health and consequently our demise. Gym memberships have quadrupled since the 70s, and yet our health is still in decline, nose-diving into early death. Most of us have buried our loved ones who have died of diseases attributed to or have greatly contributed to their untimely death due to metabolism disorders. Diabetes, cancer, kidney failures, heart and vascular diseases are among some of the top killers in our era. Despite a strong correlation between our diet and these diseases, we have site-stepped around the real issue of food and chose to blame other things for our continuous health problems. We now blame our poor health to not doing more manual labour, the so-called “move more and eat less” aphorism. Lack of motivation and lack of will power are now purported to take the lion’s share to our health problems. More gym facilities are now in operation than say 10 years ago. But more people are in dire health conditions than they were 10 years ago. Why? We should not throw away the bath-water with the baby when trying to understand these issues. Our lifestyles have indeed contributed immensely to our health crisis for sure, but is this the truth and the whole truth only? Our current diet needs an over-haul; it needs a total paradigm shift and a change to the current status quo if we are being honest with our health predicament. A re-visit to our three-meals-a-day plan might even shed some light as to what could be the cause of so many preventable diseases. Take your breakfast for instance; how much of carbohydrates was on your plate compared to protein and fats? I bet, with my life of course, that over 70% percent of what you have eaten this morning comes from highly processed carbohydrates – the cereal bowl with a glass of “100%” fruit juice, or maybe you had toasted bread with margarine (a replacement to butter). Or perhaps you have decided to take oats (deceitfully labelled healthy) with skimmed or low-fat milk and a fruit or two to balance you out nicely. This meal, despite what you have read on their package, will shoot your blood glucose so high and therefore insulin levels. A perfect storm for type 2 diabetes and obesity. If then carbohydrates seem to play a major role in your body’s ability to store access fat around your waist, arms and thighs, why then are you still following dead advice of eating mostly from the same food group that makes you gain weight and increase your medication intake? Why still follow blindly the same advice that makes you spend more on medication that you might be taking for the rest of your life if you do not change what makes you sick in the first place? Insulin intake will be your life-long companion as long as your diet comprises of the food that increases glucose in your blood. Your body’s inability to produce more insulin to curb the effects of high sugar in your body will ultimately leave you dependent on a daily insulin dosage. We all know the repercussions of type 2 diabetes. It affects many major organs in your body and this could lead to increased risk of heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure and narrowing of blood vessels. This does not even end there, kidney disease ensues, damage to your blood vessels of your eyes that will eventually lead to blindness and many other complications associated with diabetes. Then it still boggles my mind as to why people are still told to “eat healthy foods” comprised of processed junk food that has immensely contributed to their illnesses in the first place. Metabolic diseases are mostly caused by our eating lifestyle, most of which can be reversed or avoided in their early stages before they cause havoc. When you are told to eat processed foods that spike your blood sugar out of the normal range, from morning till dawn, and then told to take blood-sugar lowering medication, will you ever recover from your illnesses caused by high blood sugar levels? The answer is a resounding NO! It is like running an endless race of self-defeat, a pointless pursuit for something you will never attain. If you want to lose weight, stop eating what makes you fat in the first place. If you want to get healthy, stop ingesting what makes you sick and if you think this is over-simplified, you are right. It never gets easier than that. Tšepang Ledia

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