Eventually, I came to a before and after photo. In the first photo, there is a beautiful woman with an edgy short haircut that showed off her thick hair. In the second photo (the after), her face is gaunt, head shorn. The caption gave me my first clue which was that she was battling cancer. She praised God for everyday she was given in her descriptions.
I moved onto her Instastories hoping to learn which cancer took her way. I finally came to a picture from an interview in Latina Magazine. I took a screenshot so I could enlarge the photo to read part of the story. It read that she was diagnosed with Stage 4 stomach cancer.
Several months prior, on Facebook, a FB friend sent her condolences to a rising chef in the Chicago area. He had died of a heart attack, he was in his 30s. A friend of mine was mourning the loss of a good friend of hers who she was making weekend dinner plans with. He went to sleep and never woke up. His autopsy showed that he too passed from a heart attack in his 40s.
My sister is a physician with her own medical practice. She and doctors around this country have the unfortunate job of having to tell their patients every day the news that they have cancer/diabetes/heart disease/fatty liver disease etc.
While I didn't know any of the people who passed away personally. I never met them and can't speculate on how they lived their lives, I do think that we all do what we believe is considered 'healthy'. What is wrong with our country today is that there is no consensus on what that is. Depending on which expert you ask, the answers can be vastly different.
I recently read about a doctor who promotes a beef only diet. There's the Paleo diet, Keto diet, Plant-based diet all claiming science to back them as the way to achieve optimal health in human beings. I've had many discussions with people who accept 'everything in moderation'. Except, what exactly is moderation? One person might think of moderation as eating one cookie per day while another might feel it's eating cookies only on the weekend.
Newspapers and magazines will make sensational headlines like 'Butter is good' or 'Coconut oil is out'. One day drinking a glass of wine is good for you and the next will tell you no amount of alcohol is safe for humans. The contradicting information that is out there is enough to confuse some of the most intelligent people.
My approach to living the most optimal healthy lifestyle is to first abandon everything that I have been taught by culture, school and my parents. I take a very skeptical and critical look to any piece of literature that tells me what is healthy and what isn't. And then, I research what I just read.
I listen to my body. I stop to understand what it is I am feeling. If I have a headache, I want to know why. Was it something I ate? Am I getting my period. If it's my period, I have learned I get headaches when I haven't eaten enough leafy greens. If it's something I ate, I think about what I added new to my diet.
In my quest to live my healthiest life, I adopted a plant-based vegan diet. Not because it's the most convenient, but because it has given me the most benefit. I have a good friend who believes that the Paleo diet is what saved her from suffering from rheumatoid arthritis. I didn't argue with her. I listened and learned. We both agree that the Standard American Diet, also known as SAD, is not good for anyone.
I try not to be too pushy with what I have learned, although my friends will tell you otherwise. My advice to you is to do your research, be skeptical and dig deeper. Most of all, listen to your body and be your own health advocate.
Scarlett is a business owner and lover of pretty things. She started this blog to share some of her witticisms and favorite things.