Some time back I was having a conversation with a person in their early 80s about some diet changes that I could see would be important. At that time this person was seemingly in good shape by traditional standards. He walked about 4 miles several days a week, flew and maintained his own airplane, restored and rode a cruiser motorcycle … well, you get the idea.
This person did have a history of autoimmune problems as shown by his alopecia areata and signs of inflammation as shown by rising triglycerides, cholesterol, and bilateral peripheral neuropathy.
The topic of nutrition did come up, and I told both husband and wife about some testing for gluten sensitivity and other food sensitivities. I was told by the Mrs. that she was quite sure that gluten wasn’t a problem and that they would not be making ANY dietary changes.
I should interject that this person, the wife, had a history of health problems herself that resulted in a hysterectomy, bilateral mastectomy, gall bladder surgery, degenerated hip leading to a replacement, and perforated colon and sepsis. No health problems here that need attention!
At that time I didn’t have what I thought was a good response to the notion of being unwilling to change. So we just left the topic at that impasse.
The next event was a moderately severe stroke that the husband had a couple of years later. Do you think a stroke caused some change in the dynamics of this household? Strokes are common enough that most of you reading this have witnessed the devastation surrounding these events.
Here is what I believe would have been a better response to that kind of thinking:
Change is coming to all of us as we age. We can take steps to improve the probability of continued health and then have to deal with slow and mild changes year to year. 30 years ago we didn’t have near the information we have available to us now about which types of foods are likely to kill us. Of course if you get your information from mainstream media sources you will only get confused, as contradictory information is the norm. But that doesn’t change the fact that good information is available if you are willing to look.
Our habits and actions today are working to build our older selves. Everything we think and do plays into our future version of us. It makes sense to continue to modify our diet and exercise programs to improve the probability of a healthier future.
Change is coming and the odds increase each year that these changes might be sudden and catastrophic like a stroke, cancer, or heart disease. Like I always say, about 90% or so of health problems can be prevented or managed with some attention and natural remedies, and 5 to 10% are probably going to happen anyway. It is a mistake to think the other way around and think that these problems are not going to be coming our way and that if they do, there was nothing we could do about it.
So do you want to improve the odds of decent health in the last decade of life, or do you want old habits to dictate your health outcomes? Only you can decide.
Even though change is coming, you do have a say in what kind of changes these will be. To me it makes more sense to make the effort to make healthy lifestyle changes before we are forced into changes by some disease process.