Past Is Gone ... What’s Your Plan?
Remember when you were in your 20s or 30s and did not think it was a problem to have your fair share of burgers and fries, versus choosing healthier alternatives?
If you are like me, somewhere along the way you may have tried some fad diets, had a few more beers, and skipped those workouts a few too many times.
The male macho diet
As a kid growing up in small New York City apartment with a small refrigerator, my mother needed to shop for fresh food every day. The circuit was the butcher and produce store, as large supermarkets were few and far in between. She set a good example, but it did not take long for the male macho diet to overtake me in college and later in the business world.
Trying to reverse the damage
At some point in my 50s, I started to wonder if it was possible to reverse some of the potential damage I may have done to myself over the many years of steak and more. As heath issues became more apparent, I asked myself if it was possible to unclog my arteries with diet changes and reduce the risk of prostate cancer, heart disease, and more.
Some personal research I did suggested that medications combined with a physically active lifestyle might have a positive impact, but the lifestyle changes required to do so proved to be challenging. Now add in the fact that most men (me included) do not pay close attention to the need for healthy eating.
For most of us, the reality of making real changes can often become the impossible task. The real goal of healthy living, I believe, is to learn how to prevent issues -- before they start.
Starting a new diet
Personally, I decided to pick the Mediterranean diet, which is easy to follow and high in vegetables, healthy fats, nuts, and fish. I also took a serious look at eliminating white sugar and carbs. As far as lowering cholesterol, I consulted with my doctor and considered the risks and benefits of taking statins, and suggest you do the same and make a decision that is best for you.
Much to my surprise, the American Heart Association bumped their blood pressure guidelines down, and now 130/80 is considered high, versus the former level of 140/90.1 If you have not checked your BP recently, it might be a good idea to do so.
So, what is the takeaway? Given the past is the past, the best advice, I believe, is to make whatever changes you can and work at being more aware what you are doing. The earlier you decide, the better your chances will be down the road.
Making changes early on
While no one knows the reasons why some men develop prostate cancer or why some men develop more aggressive forms of the cancer, it just makes sense to do whatever you can early on. You can use food as a medicine versus using food to create a potential pathway for prostate cancer as you age.
In most Asian countries where the consumption of red meats and processed foods are less prevalent, the levels of prostate cancer are far below those nations that support the traditional western diet.2,3
I only wish I had that kind of insight years ago. So, my question is -- what is your plan for the years ahead?
Have you made personal connections through your journey with prostate cancer?