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Achieving Longevity & Vitality: Diet

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Dieting can be challenging for a lot of people. The ways we consume our food vary day by day. Some days I don’t want to eat the leftovers I planned for myself today- so I eat a bowl of ramen. Other days I don’t even eat a real meal- I just eat candy and snacks. Eating this way isn’t going to kill me. Why? Because I have found a balance. I have read that eating consciously, as in smelling food for ten seconds, thinking about the effects of every ingredient, and aesthetically presenting the food, results in remarkable benefits (Willcox et al., 2002). Here are two ways you can create a better diet that promotes longevity and vitality today.

1. Create a “Plainting” (plate-painting)

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Think like an artist for this step. Use up half of your meal as produce- fresh veggies- greens, oranges, reds, yellows. Get creative with how many different colors you can put on one single plate. Finish the rest of your meal with textures- proteins like seeds, nuts, fish, seafood, beans, eggs, mushrooms. Find potential favorites at your local stores, like Fresh Thyme or Holy Land, to change up how you consume proteins. Use carbohydrates as your base or “grounding” to your meal. Focus on rooted vegetables, such as squash, beans, fruit, wheat, corn, oats, rice, and barley. Finally, finish your “plainting” with a fresh coat of healthy fats, like extra-virgin olive oil, unrefined coconut oil, camellia seed oil, avocados, or some olives (Groves, M. N., 2016:Willcox, et al., 2002)! Whala! A masterpiece for dinner.

 
This idea will make dinner fun for the cook and appealing to your hungry family, and creating color in your meals will awaken a lot in your body. You’ll appreciate its presentation and looks, making you think twice about how fast you eat it. All of those veggies listed above provide numerous benefits for your skin, brain, and all over promote longevity and happiness by giving you the nutrition to focus on what matters. When we bulk up our salads, soups, plates of pasta with chopped celery or carrots, we are chewing more and therefore wanting to eat less. By eating this way, a lot of money and unnecessary pounds could be saved.

2. Limit your Plastic Use

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You hear this often, but I’ve recently discovered why we should consider ditching plastic all together- for the future of all humankind. The future generations of our trees and foraging animals and humans are in danger of a colossal population loss.

 

Why is plastic causing such an influx of problems now?

A few reasons: 

  1. The media does a great job upselling plastic products while making plastic-free options seem like a hassle. I’ve seen it in the news. How are grocery stores going to change their plastic consumption? Is everyone in the world near a store that doesn’t use plastic at all? Not probable.
  2. As mentioned previously, plastic is in everything we eat and do daily. What material stores your toothpaste? Mine isn’t in a steel bottle. It’s a plastic tube. 3. Recent research is finding chemical compounds that impact hormones. These hormones are known as “endocrine-disrupting chemicals” or EDC. These chemicals, specifically phthalates, a family of EDCs, are unavoidable. (Terry Collins) 4. Lastly, it’s not just humans that are at risk- it’s all life. Scientists are now seeing the development of female sexual characteristics in frogs and fish exposed to the same EDCs leaked from manufactured plastics (Fischer, 2021).

What exactly does this mean for our future?

Since 1973, the sperm concentration in Western countries has been declining fast. According to Dr. Shana, a professor of environmental medicine and public health at Icahn School of Medicine in Mount Sinai, NYC, the sperm concentration could reach ZERO by 2045 if nothing happens to improve this problem. “This means that half the men would have zero” viable sperm, Swan said, “and the rest would have very close to zero (Fischer, 2021).” Of course, not all infertility is due to a lack of semen. Women cause One-third of cases, one-third from men, and the rest are a mixture of both male and female problems or a combination of various reasons. Both males and females can change their infertility by changing their overall health and lifestyles. Some things that may reduce the health and number of sperm, according to the U.S. Department of Health & Health Services, include heavy alcohol use, drugs, cigarette smoke, age increase. They also mention environmental toxins (including Phthalates from plastics), along with additional health problems, medications, and radiation treatments that account for fertility loss. For a woman, their ability to conceive remains the same: age, cigarette smoke, excess alcohol use, stress, poor diet, athletic training, being overweight or underweight, STIs (sexually transmitted infections), or any other health problem that could cause hormonal changes (Infertility, 2021).

 

What can we do?

We can reduce our daily exposure to the toxic phthalates fermenting in our daily lives. A few tips from experts are:

  • Buy fresh, unprocessed food.
  • Don’t eat canned food unless you know how or whether manufacturers line their cans.
  • Don’t eat out of plastic or heat food in plastic.
  • Pay attention to cosmetics and personal care products, using guides like those generated by the Environmental Working Group.
  • Don’t handle thermal paper receipts, as they are a chief pathway for BPA, a known hormone hijacker (Fischer, 2021).

This list of tips may seem overwhelming at first. We need to keep in mind that this lifestyle and diet change isn’t just for our success. This change is for our future generations. This change leads to babies being born healthy- disease-free, infertility rates declining, and our reproductive nature set back on course. The next time you need to buy something, and it’s in plastic, think of how you’re impacting your future self, your future or current children, and me. We are all in this together. We all decide each other’s future; how will you decide mine?

 

Citations:
After Skool. (2021, October 12). A global fertility crisis – dr. Shanna Swan. YouTube. Retrieved November 11, 2021, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uo-kSxHNSDQ.

Bienkowski, B. (2021, March 8). BPA exposure and hormone changes are a dangerous combo for aging men. EHN. Retrieved November 11, 2021, from https://www.ehn.org/prostate-bpa-2646167213.html.

Cbcnews. (2019, January 11). Why buying plastic-free groceries is so hard (marketplace). YouTube. Retrieved November 11, 2021, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n5Qbi_dB3Qo.
Dr. Shanna Swan. (n.d.). Retrieved November 11, 2021, from https://www.shannaswan.com/.
Fischer, D., 2021. Phthalates: The ‘everywhere’ chemical. [online] EHN. Available at: https://www.ehn.org/fertility-crisis-2650749642/phthalates-the-everywhere-chemical [Accessed 11 November 2021].

Groves, M. N. (2016). Body into balance: An herbal guide to holistic self-care. Storey Publishing.
Willcox, B. J., Willcox, D. C., & Suzuki, M. (2002). The Okinawa Program: How The World’s Longest-Lived People Achieve Everlasting Health–and How You Can Too. Clarkson Potter / Publishers.

Womenshealth.gov. 2021. Infertility. [online] Available at: https://www.womenshealth.gov/a-z-topics/infertility [Accessed 11 November 2021].

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