The WCRF recommendations are briefly:
1) Be as lean as possible within the normal range of body weight – Not always achievable but Okay, fair comment, good idea.
2) Be physically active as part of everyday life – Although when you’re well and truly cream crackered there is a lot to say for just ‘Vegging out’ and crashing for a couple of days. You can’t push yourself without proper R&R from time to time.
3) Limit consumption of energy-dense foods, and avoid sugary drinks – Although an energy drink can be a real life (and job) saver sometimes.
4) Eat mostly foods of plant origin – No. Sorry. If God had wanted me to be a Vegetarian I’d have four stomachs and herbivore teeth like a cow.
5) Limit intake of red meat and avoid processed meat - Well I’d rather cut out all those starch packed ‘Healthy options’ (Un) microwave meals instead. Give me the (Unmodified) fat and cut out the additives and starches any day.
6) Limit alcoholic drinks – Wish they’d make up their mind on this one; a few beers or glass of wine or not. Sometimes life is too bloody complicated to be a teetotaler.
7) Limit consumption of salt, and avoid mouldy cereals or pulses - Funny the ‘advice’ doesn’t tell you that too little salt is as bad (or worse) for you as too much. Lose a lot of fluids while exercising? You will need to replace the salts as well. Some people have found that out the hard way. As for 'don't eat mouldy food' - does this include stuff with bacterial cultures like blue cheese and yoghurt?
8) Aim to meet nutritional needs through diet alone – Huh? How else? You eat and drink to stay alive, so is the message ‘don’t starve’? Okay, but a little fatuous.
As someone who breakfasts on a bacon sandwich and half a bucket of coffee most mornings (Wheat based cereals really don’t agree with me) I’m coming to the conclusion that I must already be a dead man walking. No meat, no booze – you might as well be dead. Did try a vegetarian diet for a month a long time ago, but it made me so ill (Gastric cramps, sleepless nights etc) that I decided that was not for me. I was brought up on a high protein diet, and my digestive system has adapted to that. Any attempt to reverse the transition is far too late. Might as well just roll over and wait for the inevitable, then?
Hey, hang on; Linda McCartney didn’t eat meat and what killed her? Breast Cancer I think. From what I can tell, she was never overweight either. She’s not the only fitness guru / diet advocate who came to a premature end. The guy who invented jogging died of a heart attack and wasn’t he not that old? All over the place, people with ‘healthy’ lifestyles seem to be keeling over like it’s going out of fashion. Damn, that sounds dangerous.
One personal anecdote; I remember an occasion where two people who lived so called ‘healthy’ lifestyles; Jogging, health food, all that jazz, keeled over in the same morning meeting. One moment they were upright and attentive, the next, bump! Down on the floor and out like a light. Both within twenty minutes of each other. We outdoor types got kicked out of the meeting room for fifteen minutes on both occasions and wandered off to get a coffee and maintain our nutrient levels, or step outside for a quick stimulant cigarette. Absolutely true, it happened twice in the space of an half an hour. I can only assume both parties hadn’t had a proper breakfast that morning and had missed their mid morning sweets (Which they had been observed doing). As I recall, us ‘unhealthy’ types almost dislocated our shoulders shrugging philosophically at this unseemly display of ‘healthy’ living.
Funny really. It seems that no matter what you do your card is marked at some level or other. That said, the thought of imminent demise doesn’t exactly make me go ‘whoopee’! Personally I think too much unreleased stress is a bigger killer. Whenever I’m overstressed I go out for a while, do something physical, anything but sit still.
As for modifying my diet upon these recommendations; no. I will drink life to the lees and try to take what comes to me like a man. At least when the old grim reaper does come calling I can at least say; “I have lived.” Immortality, or at least longevity, will have to wait.