How can there be anything more precious in life than life itself?
Should the love for Bak Chor Mee, Char Beehoon, Hokkien Mee, Mee Pok or any other 'tradtional' Singapore foods that we've grown up with be more precious than life itself?
Last week was a mixed week for me in my clinic (http://drchantathon.com) where I see mainly patients with chronic conditions such as diabetes, high cholesterol, hypertension etc and where I prescribe them with specific changes to their dietary habits to control their conditions.
There was this diabetic patient, who was able to follow a gradual but systematic prescribed changes to his dietary habit over a period of 2 months, and lost more than 10kg and 10cm off his waist and bringing his blood sugar and cholesterol under control in the process. We, the patient, my wife who assist me in coaching the patient in the dietary change and I, were so happy.
Then on the other hand there was this other diabetic patient who came to see me, whose blood sugar was out of control and whose kidneys and eyes were slowly but surely failing as a result, who was struggling to change her diet, especially her love for the Singapore's traditional hawker noodles dishes which she must have every morning even though she cld see it was severely affecting her blood sugar control.
Food is an integral part of our lives, not just for sustenance, but as an integral part of our traditions and culture. But should we allow ourselves to be so chained by our love of traditional foods, palate hardwired by decades of enjoying them, that we are not able to change even when facing health crisis that requires us to change how we eat.
We should move from a desire to 'Love Food, Enjoy Life' to an attitude of 'Love Life, Enjoy Food'
Nothing should be more precious in Life than Life itself, not even foods that we have grown up with, grown to love and grown to find comfort in.
We can start with being more open to challenge our palates with new foods made with better/healthier ingredients cooked in healthier ways that are not like the favourite hawker/traditional foods that we are used to or grown up with.
Many people, including good friends, think I am silly to even try to challenge and change people's palate at my restaurant The Bento People , as the way I cook in my restaurant is the same as I would cook at home for my family, as far as possible, I would 不煎，不炒，不炸 and 不用糖， 不用油，不用加工淀粉。
I do not think many would disagree with me if I say that it is easier to get people to buy something for their health than it is to get them to do something for their health.
People are in general more willing to fork out good money to buy supplements, air/water purification products or other such 'health' related products if they are touted to be health promoting. People are less willing to do much to change their habits, let alone pay for help to get them to do something for their health, such as exercise or eating better. Getting people to change their mindsets about the impact of lifestyle for health and helping them to change their ingrained bad lifestyle and unhealthy dietary habits is a very 吃力不讨好, arduous, thankless and not very materially rewarding kind of work.
Unless this changes, we cannot expect to see any slowing down of the explosive epidemic level rate of growth in chronic lifestyle-related diseases such as diabetes.
Neither knowledge or money can truly or fully give us health, only action can.
Image source: Singapore Ministry of Health >>
Click here to link to the MOH source for this
It is common knowledge that in general, women outlive men.
Statistics from Singapore Ministry of Health shows that the LIfe Expectancy at Birth in 2013 is 84.5 years for women and 80.1 years for men.
'Why do women outlive men? Is it due to to differences in genes or lifestyle ?'
This is a frequent question I get asked at talks and coaching sessions.
There are many possible explanations but nobody knows the the full answer, however my own favourite answer whenever people ask me why do women outlive men is this one,
"Women outlive men because more women do housework daily than men and housework such as vacuuming and mopping actually expends between 3-6 METs ( Metabolic Equivalents) of energy, equivalent to moderate intensity exercises. So if you want to live longer, you might want to try doing housework daily!"
Below are links to some interesting articles for those of you who are interested to read up more on what are some of the reasons that people are saying about why women outlive men,
>>"Why do women live longer than men? - BBC.com
>> 'Why women live longer' - Scientific American
>> 'Why do women outlive men? Science zeroes in on answer' - Los Angeles Times
Do you LOVE FOOD, ENJOY LIFE 0r LOVE LIFE, enjoy food. ?
Recently, as the season of 'relentless feasting' came upon us Singaporeans, starting with the 'traditional' year-end holidays, celebrations and parties and then followed closely by Chinese New Year, it got me thinking about Singaporeans' attitude towards food, health and life.
We Singaporeans are proud of our food, we are even more proud of our LOVE of FOOD.
'I LOVE FOOD, I wanna ENJOY LIFE whilst I can, YOLO, You Only Live Once, Let's Eat!' is something we all hear all too often, I know and I must confess, I used to say that too. I was and am still a foodie, Despite being a medical doctor, I used to to celebrate the love of food without an appropriate & mindful counter balance of treasuring the gift of a healthy body.
However, ever since I accidentally embarked on this journey of practising, teaching, coaching and prescribing lifestyle as medicine, I realised I have changed. Now, I tell people I enjoy food but I LOVE LIFE more, so whilst I still actively seek out good food wherever I go, whether I am in Singapore or on overseas holidays with my beloved family, I now actively look out for good food experiences that are also good for our bodies.
This 'small' but significant change in my mindset from 'LOVE FOOD, ENJOY LIFE.' to "LOVE LIFE, enjoy food.' has dramatically changed my life.
Do you callously 'LOVE FOOD, ENJOY LIFE.' or do you treasure this God-given gift of life and a healthy body by having a "LOVE LIFE, enjoy food.' approach to life instead?
Go muse over it.
Gong Xi Fa Cai!
‘If you focus on gaining Health,
you might lose some Weight as a bonus.
If you only focus on losing Weight,
you might lose your Health as a consequence.’
In my medical practice, I sometimes do get patients referred by other doctors to my lifestyle medicine clinic for weight loss to better manage their chronic conditions such as diabetes, hypertension and cholesterol problems.
And at the first consultation, I would always ask them what they think is the primary purpose of their visit and invariably almost every one of them would say, 'My doctor asked me to come see you to help me lose some weight.'. This would also invariably draw a 'philosophical' answer from me reminding them, 'Actually I think your doctor referred you to me primarily to help you gain Health through lifestyle modification, weight loss is just one of the necessary steps towards that, Because If you focus on gaining Health, you would probably lose some Weight as a bonus. But if you only focus on losing Weight, you might risk losing your Health as a consequence.’
And if I have bit more time that day, I might even share with them my personal journey of how when I focused on practising a healthy lifestyle, I accidentally gained health and lost some weight in the process (>>> you can read the story about my accidental weight loss journey on my personal blog post on this)
My musings about