Dr. Lisa Rankin

Wake up and smell the truth……again.



Hard to believe that not that long ago Physicians were actually part of the marketing of cigarettes to the public including the concept of smoking while holding your child and using them to maintain a healthy weight. There was even  “scientific evidence” that  they caused no harm! Today we look at these images and wonder how anyone in their right mind would not recognize the multitude of negative effects you might see from inhaling chemical laden smoke. Because many of these effects were years and sometimes decades in the making it took way too long for physicians and the rest of the population to wake up and smell the lung cancer, non-pulmonary cancer risk, heart disease, COPD, emphysema, poor dental health, yellow nails, premature aging and so on. The evidence for harm was lurking in the background for decades preached by “fringe extremists” and suppressed and argued against by those most likely to suffer the full disclosure of the health risks associated with tobacco use. Sound familar?

The “startling revelation” about the long term negative effects of processed meat and frequent red meat consumption is no different. Anyone concerned about their health  has been avoiding or limiting these foods once they realized the risks.  It takes just a minimal amount of effort to see the truth. Look at the healthiest populations around the world and how they eat. Their diets include little to no red meat, minimal amount of fish and poultry, little to no dairy, fresh fruits and veggies, healthy grains, nuts, seeds and other healthy fats like avocados and olives. The meat they do eat is not processed and the fruits and veggies are not laden with pesticides. They also exercise regularly, engage with others on a regular basis and maintain some type of meaninful work way past the typical retirement age. These populations live into the high 80 and 90 with clear minds, and bodies not ravaged by the neurodegenerative diseases we see in our country.  Not surprisingly these are the same dietary recommendations we see in the MIND diet which has been shown to be protective against Alzheimer’s dementia.  While you may have no interest in living to 90 I suspect most people would like to be 60 with the energy and stamina they had when they were 40. We like to blame all of our problems on aging but that is only part of the puzzle. Lifestyle choices over decades  play an equally important role in whether you are mountain biking with your kids and grandkids at 60 or having to sit down and rest after walking a mile. Life is cumulative and every choice you have made over your lifetime has an additive efffect whether it be positive or negative.

As Americans we do not like change and even more so we do not like others to give us instructions on how to live. No argument there from me. However, when presented with overwhelming evidence of harm it is nothing but foolish to continue to engage in a behavior whose negative outcome, be it 20 years away, is no longer up for debate. Exceptions make not break  the rule and finding out at 60 that  you are  not part of the small minority that seems to be unaffected by poor choices is a day late and dollar short.



Comments are closed.