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Eat to Live

By on March 3, 2013

Too many men in America are just like ‘Jimmy,‘ a fictional character but all too familiar in our community.

Jimmy is a 52-year-old, hypertensive, pre-diabetic, obese, middle-aged man whose brother, Bob, just died from a massive heart attack. Jimmy is now eating fried chicken at the funeral ceremony because he wanted some comfort food during a time of great sadness and stress. How many times do we associate funeral, grieving, etc. in the black community with fatty, high caloric foods. Fried chicken is almost a staple.

Unfortunately for Jimmy and many other Americans, there is an entrenched system in our country that reinforces Jimmy’s unhealthy behaviors. Take control of your health by taking control of your eating habits. There are winners and losers if you don’t, consider these:

Healthcare Industry – consistent supply of chronically sick patients
Drug companies – plenty of patients (like Jimmy) on meds for short/longterm
Meat/Dairy Industry – influential industry for Jimmy’s cheeseburgers which produce artery-clogging food
Big Agriculture– business subsidies for Jimmy’s high fructose corn syrup laden “food” which keep him hefty and addicted

Doctors– most doctors die from the same preventable diseases as patients
Jimmy– obese, sick, food addict on a path to early death
Bob– now dead of preventable disease (heart attack)
Fried Chicken– fried animal product, possibly injected with hormones
Bob’s Wife and Kids – loss of husband/father/primary income source in middle age
Sadly, in the aftermath of Bob’s funeral, Jimmy and all of the ‘Jimmy’s of the world’ will likely continue to eat and overeat fried chicken, cheeseburgers, pizza, and other unhealthy foods at church, sporting events, work and elsewhere else.  He ‘Jimmy’ will almost certainly continue to take prescription medications for the rest of his life, which may be quite short.

However, help is available and its never too late to change your eating habits and behaviors. Talk to a physician before embarking on any major lifestyle change. Eating more fruits and vegetables and consistent exercise are never a bad thing. Recently, this topic was discussed during my recent radio show. Hope you check it out.

Dr. Ed James is a member of the American College of Lifestyle Medicine and has a Certificate in Plant Based Nutrition from Cornell University. He’s been in private practice since 1998 and is 100% vegan.

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