Apropos Jack LaLanne and his long-time quest for health and fitness, a discussion about diet and exercise. I bring this up also because I just read another wildly popular diet and exercise book that makes me shake my head in wonder. (As a bonus, this one promises a fifteen-minute orgasm for your lady. Hey, that would be worth the cost all by itself, but it's a bait-and-switch -- the orgasm doesn't last fifteen minutes. It takes fifteen minutes to get there, and the favored position is left-handed. Sounds sinister to me.)
First, the extremes -- and why genetics surely plays a part in how healthy you are and how long you might live.
I know a guy. He's morbidly obese -- he lugs around more than three hundred pounds, and I'm guessing his bodyfat percentage is 60%. Standing up exhausts him. Getting out of bed is probably the most exercise he gets on an average day, and that's a chore. I've known him for years, and he's always been this way -- that he is still alive has to be a testament to choosing your parents wisely, because everything about the man screams poor health.
He's a vegetarian. Has been most of his life.
Vegetables aren't a panacea and the only road to health, of course. If you eat a lot of fresh fruit and veggies, drink a gallon of water every day, exercise well and often, there's no guarantee it will get you to five score if nobody in your family ever made it past forty. It will ameliorate some of what you get born with -- genetics loads the gun, but as often as not, it's environment and action that pull the trigger. Avoiding known risk factors for what killed your family early might not be enough, but it shades the odds your way. I know people who have done it.
You wouldn't think I'd need to say this, but apparently there are people who either don't know or don't believe this.
If your father died of a heart attack at forty and you live on the couch, smoke, drink too much, and chow down on bacon-wrapped bacon burgers washed down with milkshakes? If the last vegetable you had was the impression of the pickle you took off the Triple Whopper with bacon and cheese? You got nine strikes against you. It's on you if the Reaper comes to the party early. You know it, I know it, and pretending otherwise is apt to be fatal.
If you are the kind of vegetarian who eats a football-sized baked potato laden with a pound of butter, a quart of sour cream, piled high with melted cheese under a generous dusting of crushed potato chips? Might as well go for the prime rib and not bother.
Despite what loons like Atkins say about all fat and meat and no carbs being good for you, it's not. Empty carbs, simple sugars? Yeah, leave 'em out. Beans? Legumes? Leafy green stuff? Nothing unhealthy about those, and our crappy eating habits are turning us into a nation of fatties and type-two diabetics at an epidemic rate.Two-thirds of us are too fat, and we are not getting skinnier.
Extremes. Too skinny is bad. Too fat is bad. If you can look in the mirror and see your six-pack, probably you don't need to lose weight. If you got that way eating nothing but steaks and eggs and the Mickey D's cholesterol special, looking good isn't the same as being healthy.
Don't say I didn't warn you.