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Life is Short- Does that mean we eat what we want?

I was having lunch with my colleague a few days ago and as we were walking back to the office, he told me he had suddenly craved for Burger King the evening before. So he stopped at Burger King and enjoyed a nice burger.

So me being me, I was just about to venture into a lecture about Glyceamic Index when he told me quietly sometimes, we should just eat what we want. He told me about his friend’s mother. The lady took care of her health and food intake. She goes to the gym frequently. And yet, she was diagnosed with throat cancer. Unfortunately, she died from the cancer. And her dying words to a visiting friend: “if you want to eat anything, just eat.”

He used to share with me his other food cravings such as wanting to eat his favourite McDonalds ice cream, corn, chocolates or fried chicken. Today he told me, “I ate a fried chicken wing with mashed potato and salad and it’s gorgeous!”. But he’s in relatively good shape because he control his food intake.

So the question is…. should we just eat to our heart’s desire since life is short and we have no idea when our end will come?

pictures food - Life is Short- Does that mean we eat what we want?
You may want to hear another version before answering yes….

I know of someone called C. C is very much overweight- she weights at least 300 pounds now and each time I see her, she seemed to put on more and more weight. Whatever C craves, she eats it and she eats it with abandon. A huge claypot noodle, followed by ice kacang and then followed by more food less than 2 hours later. In fact, her whole family except her husband is overweight.

A mutual friend used to comment that C never seemed to have any health problem except a bit of knee pain because of being hugely overweight. Cholesterol, blood pressure, blood sugar- everything’s normal. While another friend of us, who is a bit particular and fussy but in top shape (doing lots of exercises and eat everything with less sugar and oil), is on medication for high cholesterol and knee pain. This is what my mom used to tell me when I start a lecture about her eating too much of fatty meats and duck. She said, “the fussy ones seemed to be always with problems.”

OK, before those out there who needs justification for giving in to food cravings start clapping hands in agreement, let me just finish the rest of the story…

C never had any problems (except slight knee pain)- till recently. Yesterday a mutual friend paid her a visit. And she could hardly walk. Her knees are so painful now- even with pain medication. And she still managed to eat 2 big packets of curry laksa because one packet was not enough. My brother, someone with very healthy appetite, find it difficult to even finish one packet. And after that, she is still going back for dinner. According to our mutual friend, the lady’s pain is getting progressively worse.

This brings to mind of my maternal grandmother who had absolutely loved coffee with sugar and milk. She would make herself a huge pot of coffee with sugar and condensed milk. She was initially ok because she labored and worked hard to raise 7 kids. But come to middle age, her diabetes got very bad. Eventually, she had to go for amputation- till the last I remember of her- she had to be on a wheelchair with only a quarter of both sides of her legs left.

So does it mean that we have to live our lives in eating baby carrots, salad and steamed fish? Or should we just throw caution to the wind?

The answer: Neither. How about a happy medium in between?

Sometimes, a person leading an unhealthy eating lifestyle seems to get away with it. Then, one day, his or her unhealthy ways catches up. A health problem appears, then another…. and another….and then it is just downhill.

Like my friend C. She has so much in life to live for- she’s well off and her kids all have successful carreers.. What’s going to happen if one day, her legs become too painful for her to move or fell down? It will be very difficult to carry or take care of her. And the sad thing is, even though she has been in the medical profession for many years, she did not understand that her never ending food cravings are largely contributed by sugar and carbohydrate addiction. I know how constantly taking too much sugar and refined starch can trigger food cravings. And I know the condition can be cured. You just got to want to cure it.

We need not deprive ourselves- if you love a certain type of food that is banned in most diet books, you can still eat it but not in reckless abandon.
Learn what type of food zaps your energy and what perks it up.
Learn about food triggers- that eating certain type of food by itself, triggers your food craving- it’s almost biological. Once you understand that, you’ll know what turns your cravings on and what turns it off. And you’ll not hate yourself for ‘feeling weak’.

We can’t predict the future. But we owe it to ourselves to take the best care of ourselves as much as possible. After all, most of us work so hard to pay for that dream home and for a good retirement. Life’s about quality, not quantity. We do not want to live the remainder of our lives relying on medications, suffering pains and diseases- that robs us of our life. And all we need to do to increase the chances of that good life is to make little adjustments to our lives. Bit by bit, step by step. Don’t we want to be there for our kids’ graduation, for our first grandchild, without burdening them emotionally and financially with health problems? If yes, why so many of us like to self sabotage ourselves?

A quote that was forwarded via email really stuck in my mind:

I would rather live my life as if there is a God, and die to find out there isn’t, than live my life as if there isn’t, and die to find out there is.”

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