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You are What You Eat

I have 2 crowns affixed to my teeth, and it was really costly having to get them done. My second crown was done during the end of last year, and my dentist was lecturing me on why I should reduce my consumption of sugar, and clean my teeth more thoroughly (I do already!). After getting charged that hefty price, I felt a massive sense of regret on why I became so obsessed with eating and even crunching into thousands of hardboiled lollies throughout childhood to my late teens. I just couldn't help myself during that time, and I quickly disregarded what the dentist was trying to tell me after every visit over these years, because the taste of sugar was just addictively delicious. I had times when I raided the kitchen pantry when I was a kid, and dabbed my finger (I know, ew...) into the sugar jar and licked it clean. I really wished I could control myself earlier on, in order to prevent getting these crowns done on top of the removal of my original molars.

If I had to describe the diet I had during teenage-hood, I would say that it generally comprised of instant noodles, McDonalds Big Macs, KFC popcorn chicken, hot chips, and packets of crinkle-cut chips. As I think of that diet now, I would recoil, because there was a lack of healthy meals I incorporated into my diet back then. I remember going to get my blood test done when I was 15, and the doctor telling me that my body consisted more than the optimum level of triglycerides I should have. I had no idea what that meant, until he told me that I should reduce my consumption of fatty foods and adjust to a more healthier diet to lower the triglycerides level down. He added that I still had time to change my eating habits because I was still young, but if the same fatty food diet persisted into my adulthood, I could expose myself to a higher risk of receiving blood clots, which could result in heart attacks or stroke. When he explained these consequences, I gulped and my heart started beating quickly. I took his advice immediately, and slowly adopted a new diet which consisted of less fatty foods. The blood tests I took subsequently after that, showed progress in my triglycerides level transitioning to a more optimal level, and I felt really proud of taking action on my food consumption habits.

Looking after your teeth and gums, can save you from painful and expensive trips to the dentist. (Photo: Viacheslav Yakobchuk/Adobe Stock)

In summary, triglycerides are a kind of fat, otherwise known as a lipid, which circulates through your blood. High levels of triglycerides can be dangerous, since they can increase the risk of heart attacks or stroke. (Photo: angellodeco/Adobe Stock)

I grew up in the Noughties up until the end of the first half of the 2010s. This was a time when snack and confectionery companies glamourised the idea of artificially coloured and flavoured foods, making it seem appealing to the young target audience, albeit health ministries, doctors, scientists and teachers trying their hardest to educate the public about adopting a healthier diet via concepts such as the food pyramid and 5 veg 2 fruit a day technique. Despite how hard they tried to convey to the public about the importance of healthy eating and the consequences of not adopting it, unhealthy food still managed to win the hearts of most people. The culprit to blame is marketing, which decided that it was more than OK to make unhealthy food seem appealing to consumers, with the pure intention for companies to accumulate great profits, in which they achieved. Marketing does not only limit itself to commercials but also packaging designs and promotional offers too. For example, if an unhealthy chips packet had a cool cartoon character on it or a sugary cereal box had collectable plastic figurines inside it, this makes it appealing for children to beg their parents to buy it for them, all for the sake that the company is trying to attract their target market with the presence of their favourite cartoon character mentioned in the unhealthy products they sell. It is a cunning move for the company to do this, and sadly it is effective.

It is now 2023 and the tables have sort of changed, but still has a long way to go in the pledge to regulate the advertising of unhealthy food. Governments among Norway, Quebec (Canada) and Sweden, have already imposed bans on junk food advertising during children's television programming, in attempt to encourage kids to adopt healthy diets from early age. Every country needs to follow this example, and at the same time, establish complete bans on junk food advertising in general, to convince everybody to live healthy and active lives, prevent life threatening illnesses that are caused by unhealthy lifestyles, and increase the longevity of their life spans. Instead of advertising junk food, healthy food and healthy eating education should be advertised on all marketing platforms. This is an excellent way to get the life changing message across to everyone out there.

For those who have become accustomed to eating junk food, it is time to consider significantly limiting or even eliminating it from your diet, and settle for food and drinks that can benefit you in terms of your physical and mental health. You need to see the long-term advantages (saving money, not needing to go to the hospital, being healthy and alive, not having to regret later in life, and more) of a healthy diet, and keep these in mind, to motivate yourself to working towards this life changing transition. Keep a diary and record the days you maintained a healthy diet, and reward yourself as you meet these achievements. Accompanying healthy eating with adequate exercise is also important. Consistency is really the key to success, and not giving up, is extremely essential. Working towards any goal can be challenging in the beginning, but as you later progress through it, the goal soon becomes incorporated into your lifestyle.

Here's the question. Would you choose to be lying in a hospital bed with not many days left of your life remaining, or skipping merrily with full excitement and energy?

Other poor lifestyle choices such as excessive smoking and alcohol is detrimental to one's health, as these factors could inevitably cause harm throughout the body. Smoking can lead to cancer, heart disease, lung disease, eye disease, tuberculosis, immune system problems, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) which is linked to emphysema and chronic bronchitis. Excessive alcohol consumption can cause irreversible damage to the liver, higher chance of cancer (liver, mouth, breast, stomach, bowel, throat and oesophageal), and significant interference with the brain's communication pathways. Speaking to a doctor to get professional assistance in managing smoking and alcohol addiction, is the first courageous milestone to improving your life.

If you really care about yourself, and loved ones including your parents, siblings, children, partner, relatives, pets, friends and anyone else out there who you love, you should consider adopting a healthier lifestyle, so you can spend more beautiful years with them. Not only would a healthy lifestyle improve yourself, but it will also benefit the people who you love dearly and cannot fathom what life would be like without your presence.


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