This month I devoted my newsletter, blog, and Facebook posts to nutrition, but March was also designated as colon cancer awareness month. We know that what we eat is vital to our health and can play a role in the risk of colon cancer as well. While many studies imply a correlation between diet and increased risk of disease, caution must be used when claiming causation. Recommendations by many organizations use words like "suggests" and "linked" to make their point without over stating and becoming a target for litigation. Take a look at this: http://www.ccalliance.org/get-information/what-is-colon-cancer/risk-factors This year I will have my first colonoscopy and while I can't say I'm looking forward to the process, I am curious about the results. I have made a solid effort over many years to eat more healthfully and I am hoping that will lead to a clean report and a healthy colon.
I have spoken with other health educators and fitness professionals and when it comes to nutrition most agree that keeping your diet diverse and minimizing ultra processed foods is best. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/03/160309202154.htm Unfortunately, the article accessed by the link above shows that the majority of the population has an inverse relationship with ultra processed foods, accounting for the greater portion of our diets than fresh foods prepared at home. As a working parent, I understand the pull toward quick, easy and delicious but as I've stated in previous posts, I see eating out as either a treat or an opportunity to model good choices for my child.
Eating more healthfully is a gradual progression and, as such, needs to begin with small changes that you can build on. If you think adding a fruit or a vegetable to each meal or drinking more water and less soda is too small of a change to matter, take a look at where you are now. The person you are is the sum of many small, (some big, but many more small) choices and habits accumulated over the years. A friend quit drinking soda and lost 10 lbs in a month making no other changes. That was dramatic and more of a big change but you can still get there in smaller steps. Over the years I have increased my consumption of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean protein. All the things that are suggested but it has been an evolution of trying different things, integrating new recipes and learning what works best for me. I still have to balance other people's choices and habits in my family and you do too, so pick one thing to focus on.
Sometimes we seek complicated answers to simple problems. Looking for the latest, greatest fitness fads, special diets, best app but nothing will work if we don't pay attention to ourselves. What do you really want? Any change is challenging but if you don't ask and answer that question honestly, you can waste a lot of time on something that really doesn't matter to you. I hope eating better is something you care about and that my focus on nutrition offered some useful info. If you do a little spring cleaning and reevaluate your health priorities, I think you'll find a place to start. I recently watched the documentary, "In Defense of Food". The take away message was, "eat food, not too much, mostly plants". So simple, eloquent and totally do-able but you have to start somewhere. Don't give up!