Today, I am thankful for doctors who do research to find the truth and then don't mind putting themselves out there on the front lines in the face of big business and government to improve our health.
I am thankful for Dr. William Li and others working with him to identify anti angiogenic foods which can starve cancer tumor cells AND fat cells to stop those diseases, and also a host of other diseases.
I am thankful to Dr. Dean Ornish who has somehow made our fast food chains to be aware of healthy nutrition and to improve their menus so that they aren't doing such a great job of promoting the American killer diet.
I am thankful to Dr. Fuhrman for researching and developing the Eat to Live Plan. While the plan is so foreign to my 65 years of eating an unhealthy American diet, I am confident that his plan is healthy for me.
This list is admittedly exclusive of many others, not because they don't meet my lofty standards, but because I am not aware of them.
Frankly I am suspicious or questioning at the very least of any new claims for things to do to be healthy. I grew up when we were told it was healthy to smoke cigarettes. I grew up when we were told the germ was being taken out of whole grains and replaced by a package of chemicals for our health. And then we were told that that packet of nutrients was so wonderful that it should enrich other foods. And then we were told that it was vital to our health to add many chemicals to our food to make it look pretty and preserve it for years.
And then began the oil wars all embroiled in the ignorance of principles of chemistry and biological processes.
I grew up in a time when more and more women worked outside of the home and looked for manufactured foods to feed their families. I grew up in a time when most gave up all personal knowledge of a loaf of bread baking or how to raise nutritious fruits and vegetables in the backyard, or when to harvest the garlic, or whether you could or should eat the leaves of that weed growing in your yard.
I have seen people switch from walking to the corner store to arranging delivery from the comfort of their recliner. I have seen children switch from playing outside to sitting in front of the screen.
All with the idea that "they" wouldn't do anything that would harm us, therefore, it must be a healthy practice.
I respect Michele O'Bama for getting on the band wagon to promote the Plate Diet, where we visualize 1/4 protein, 1/4 carb, 1/2 vegetables with a serving of fruit and dairy. But where is the research that supports that that is what we need. I grew up during the time when government promoted eating servings of dairy to promote the dairy industry with no research done to actually know if any of us needed to drink dairy.
I grew up during the time when fast food chains were invented. I had a sense that the "fast food" at carnivals and state fairs wasn't particularly healthy and should probably be a treat reserved for a once-a-year trip.
But when McDonald's opened, I felt safe and secure eating my two-all-beef-patties-special sauce-onion-on-a-sesame-seed bun. Surely they wouldn't feed me unhealthy food??
And now I can't find a restaurant to eat where I do feel safe in what I can choose to eat. Some I even worry about the safety of the food from a contamination standpoint, but that's a different story.
So, how will we ever know, understand, agree about what practices are very basic to our health and well-being. And if we ever agree on that before it is too late to do anything about it, how can be bring about the monumental changes?
Could we develop Tweets or sexy slide shows that would go viral and promote eating whole foods, especially fruits and vegetables, and and active lifestyle?
Picture a time when you post your breakfast for the morning, and instead of an ad that makes you want to swear off of blotchy brown bananas, you suddenly have an ad from Columbia with a farmer deciding if his clump of bananas was ripe, who then tells you all the benefits of eating a banana?
Picture a time when you have been watching a reality TV show, but then receive a Tweet: Time to go for a walk. And you actually go for a walk with your family and talk about the day and stop by my fall garden to see the baby acorn squash and ooh and aah over it and your kids sample sugar snap pea "ydnac" until you all wish you had your own garden with peas and carrots and salad and squash and tomatoes and beans and quinoa and strawberries and other marvels. And you all spend the winter learning about growing vegetables and you order seeds and start them under the cabinet lights and start your own garden in the spring.
How amazing would that be? Can you even fathom all the changes that would happen in the chain reaction that would result from that one tweet??