2018-02-15 / Opinions

Watch out, Americans – heart attacks are lurking

By LORAN SMITH
columnist

If you have made observations about life, you are likely to have noted that there seems to be no perfect formula for longevity. Some of those rural folk who have made it to ripe old ages seem to have gotten there by eating a lot of vegetables.

If you choose to eat a lot of fruits and vegetables, someone will warn you that such a diet will make your blood sugar levels get out of hand. I can remember when bacon was supposed to be bad for you. Now some are saying it is okay. A little fat won’t hurt you. It is the same with hamburgers.

All that sounds good to me. With a farm background, I am a bacon advocate when it comes to breakfast. Nothing like a hamburger to make your day.

I can remember being on mainland China for about ten days in the late seventies, wondering what I was eating at meal time. The Chinese style at that time was that you sat down at a big table with a Lazy Susan laden with small bowls of an assortment of foods. Someone would take a bite from one of the dishes and announce that “ this tastes like chicken.” Immediately, a half-dozen forks would jab at that particular dish. (The most adventuresome traveler in my group could not manage chopsticks).

What early travelers to China could not get out of their thought process was the long held view that you might be partaking of something that once walked around on four legs. Not likely, but the thought was always there.

I suppose the importance of good genes is what “it’s cracked up to be.” I had a good friend who was consistent about choosing the best diet for health reasons. No alcohol. Veggies, fruits, and nuts. Everything in moderation and plenty of exercise – golf at least three times a week. That most of us would agree would be the best possible way to good health and a long life. He died in his late fifties from a brain tumor.

My parents lived into their nineties, my mother made it to 99. They ate greens and vegetables, but also fried foods. Streak of lean, fried chicken, and very sweet tea were often staples at mealtime.

Breakfast often consisted of biscuits, sugar cane syrup mixed with butter. Certainly not anything that a health food expert would promote as a diet that should make you live longer. There was no dark chocolate, red wine, fish oil, whole grains, almonds, kale, and green tea at our kitchen table. Those choices would have sent us into bankruptcy. We had to grow what we ate.

Of course, we all know that that heart disease is our biggest enemy and a non-fat diet is obviously recommended. While I cannot attribute the following to any source, it is quite illuminating. It begins with this disclaimer. “For those of you who watch what you eat, here’s the word on nutrition and health. It’s a relief to know that after all those conflicting nutritional studies that:”

The Japanese eat very little fat and suffer fewer heart attacks than Americans.

The Mexicans eat a lot of fat and suffer fewer heart attacks than Americans.

The Chinese drink very little red wine and suffer fewer heart attacks than Americans.

The Italians drink a lot of red wine and suffer fewer heart attacks than Americans.

The Germans drink a lot of beer and eat lots of sausages and fats and suffer fewer heart attacks than Americans.

Naturally, after taking all that in, there is this conclusion: Eat and drink whatever you like.

Apparently, speaking English is what kills you.

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