Wellness Program for Diabetes and Heart Disease Prevention: How to be Healthy Without Drugs
As many of you know, I have been wandering further and further into the realm of prevention over my professional career. It started in earnest when we started offering the Cornerstone Wellness weight management program, and I realized how much diet can affect a person’s health. About 10 years ago, we began offering specialized, sophisticated blood testing called advanced lipid testing, and a few years later we started offering CIMT (Carotid Intima Media Thickness) testing. In the meantime, I have read countless numbers of books & articles, have watched many videos of lectures, and have gone to many conferences and symposia on the subject.
I’ve come to the conclusion that most problems of obesity, diabetes and heart disease are all intimately related and can be prevented given the right lifestyle. The earlier in life this started however, the more success lifestyle changes are in preventing disease. Once someone is an adult and there is already some damage, less can be done.
Many people believe that early man (prior to 10,000 years ago when we became agrarian) ate mostly meat. Apparently, we know this by looking at fossilized poop (among other things) and by accounts given by explorers that came in contact with hunter-gatherer tribes over the past several hundred years. These populations were found to be extremely healthy. Heart disease, diabetes, obesity, cancer, arthritis, autoimmune disorders, tooth decay, and even acne were almost unheard of. Once these populations began eating a more modern diet, those diseases became a problem for them also.
I’ve often been reminded that early man had a ridiculously low life expectancy, so why would we aspire to that? Early man had a high infant mortality rate, and only primitive medical care when faced with trauma or infection. If those causes of death are taken out, early/primitive man had as good or better life expectancy than we do now. And, they were healthier. BTW – the evidence is against early/primitive man being super active as the reason for their health. Apparently, we spent as little time as possible hunting, gathering, and making shelter, maybe 3 only hours a day!
So that leaves our diet as a major difference. In general, early/primitive man ate much more animal fat than we do now. They ate very few if any grains, since grains need to be processed to be edible. The only sweetener available would be honey, and since that is very tricky to obtain, he wouldn’t have had that very often. They did eat fruit and the fruity vegetables (like tomatoes and peppers), but had limited access as they could not go to the supermarket and buy them any time of the year. In addition, most of the fruits and vegetables we eat today have been bred to be much sweeter and bigger than what was originally available in nature.
So what did that leave us with? Lots of meat, with some bitter vegetables and tart fruit in season, nuts, eggs, and mushrooms (also in season only). And apparently we were very healthy, especially if we lived past infancy and avoided tigers.
The next question I’m asked is, doesn’t that screw up our cholesterol? The short answer is no. That’s where the sophisticated lipid testing comes in; we can see the positive changes diet does, and in many cases have avoided medication. Oh, and as a side effect most people lose weight and feel much more energetic. That’s my ultimate goal, to make people healthier and live longer without medication.