Friday night, packing, loading, getting ready for a weekend of camping in the White Mountains with some friends. Saturday morning, wake up bright and early, enjoy a cool shower and get ready to hit the road for the mountains. Making a quick stop to fill up the gas tank, get ice and a quick breakfast from Starbucks (yes they do have some healthy options!). Then you get the phone call. Your mom went to the emergency room at 1pm last night and they are getting ready to remove her Gallbladder. They had already ruled out a heart attack. The debate, go camping or stay and make sure mom’s ok.  You guessed it, back home unpack and head up to the hospital.

Now gallbladder surgery typically is not a major surgery.  However, with any surgery there are complications.  Mom is going to be fine…after her gallbladder was removed and then back into surgery to clear out stones in the various ducts. 

For most people, life just happens to them.  Not many steps are taken to reduce the risk of many of the diseases that plague America.  I am currently reading The Inflammation Cure by William Joel Meggs, M.D., Ph.D.. As many of you know Nels and I are registered dietitians so we have a great interest in this area.  The underlying theme in this book is inflammation.  Did you know that heart disease, diabetes, obesity, arthritis, Alzheimer’s disease, depression and many cancers are linked to inflammation?  This is a topic in the medical field that is still not completely understood. Heart disease used to be rare. Around 1900 someone being admitted to the hospital with blockages to the arteries of the heart was an event that a doctor and interns would descend upon to see because it might be the only case they would come across in their years of practice. By the end of the twentieth century, coronary artery disease was the leading cause of death in the US. It is the number one killer today.  What studies have shown is that the innovations that came about from 1900 to 2000 were what caused the emergence of heart disease and stroke.  The innovations that caused a change in lifestyle: Riding in automobiles rather than walking, smoking cigarettes, and replacing fruits and vegetables with high fat fast foods.

What do you do?  If you smoke, stop smoking.  If you don’t regularly exercise, start. It can be as simple as parking your car father out in the parking lot, climbing stairs instead of taking an elevator, taking a walk at lunch or after dinner. Exercise is cumulative so you don’t have to do it all at once.  When you make food choices, think “this compared to that.” If you are not eating at least 9+ servings of fresh fruits and vegetables a day, take a whole food supplement. Juice Plus is the best one. It is the most research whole food supplement, its cost efficient and even has a chewable version for those of you that can’t swallow pills.  You can talk to us at the office and we can order it for you, or go to www.easyas123juiceplus.com and buy it directly from the website. Another key component is omeg-3 fatty acids. Do you eat fresh deep sea cold water fish weekly?  If not add a fish oil supplement. We carry a liquid form that is pharmaceutical grade. The oil will be cheaper than the capsules. Not all supplements are created equal. You have to be careful of what else they put in the supplements and that it is not contaminated. That is why I recommend one that is pharmaceutical-grade.

Don’t wait until you are looking at a life threatening experience to make lifestyle changes. You may not be fortunate enough to have the opportunity. There are some simple steps you can take now that will make a difference in the long run.