The Art of War is a series of essays written over 2,400 years ago by Chinese military strategist Sun Tzu. It has been referenced as a guide for how many now conduct themselves in business, sports or any competitive endeavor, and tucked within its pages on military strategy are gems for managing health risks, including this one:
“It is a doctrine of war not to assume the enemy will not come, but rather to rely on one’s readiness to meet him; not to presume he will not attack, but rather to make oneself invincible.”
While we can’t necessarily make ourselves “invincible” against disease or injury, we can go a long way toward lowering our risks.
Nutrition is a major lifestyle characteristic that determines how we age. Unfortunately, in our culture, the word “diet” usually refers to a manipulation of our food intake in order to achieve weight loss rather than to take into consideration the entirety of what we eat and the fuel we are providing our bodies. This wasn’t always the case. In fact, the original word “diet” comes from a Greek word that means, “manner of living.”
So, what manner of living is best at lowering our risks and making us warriors against disease? Once again, we look back at the foods our ancestors ate: fruits, wild vegetables, nuts, fish and small amounts of meat. These foods had less available energy (calories) per gram and more vitamins, minerals, amino acids and fiber than foods we eat today. Sugar, other than what naturally occurred in the foods they foraged, did not exist.
One idea to help getting a change started, schedule two days to pay careful attention to your eating: what you eat, when you eat, how much you eat, what you are feeling or thinking when you eat. Take a few notes. Is there one small change to your diet that you could make this week to support eating in a better way?