13. “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it. Matthew 7:13-14
In today’s liberal-minded world, it often seems as though anything goes. But ‘anything goes’ is definitely not the way to better health and wellness. Now, on the other hand, a person does not have to discipline themselves as if they were training for an ‘Iron Man’ competition. Maintenance of good health does not have to involve endless dieting or require a discipline that is beyond the ability of most people. But better health does, however, require that you give some consideration to the ‘narrow gate’.
WHAT DO YOU MEAN BY THE ‘NARROW GATE’
Fast food has contributed to what is almost an epidemic of obesity in North America. Carrying excess weight leads to an array of health issues. Remember…you are what you eat. And just like taking control of your thought patterns requires some effort and discipline, likewise, control of your diet requires some effort and a little discipline. It is an easy thing to pack a healthy little lunch the night before and, in so doing, the next day you can avoid heading for the nearest fast-food outlet for lunch.
ALCOHOL IS NOT YOUR FRIEND
Alcohol is metabolized by several processes or pathways. The most common of these pathways involves two enzymes—alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH) and aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH). These enzymes help break apart the alcohol molecule, making it possible to eliminate it from the body. First, ADH metabolizes alcohol to acetaldehyde, a highly toxic substance and known carcinogen (1). Then, in a second step, acetaldehyde is further metabolized down to another, less active byproduct called acetate (1), which then is broken down into water and carbon dioxide for easy elimination (2). Now, I am not suggesting that you need to be a tee-totaller. A social drink once in a while is not going to kill you. However, if alcohol is part of your nightly routine, perhaps it might be wise to consider an adjustment.
CARBOHYDRATES, BLOOD SUGAR and TYPE 2 DIABETES
When people eat a food containing carbohydrates, the digestive system breaks down the digestible ones into sugar, which enters the blood.
As blood sugar levels rise, the pancreas produces insulin, a hormone that prompts cells to absorb blood sugar for energy or storage. As cells absorb blood sugar, levels in the bloodstream begin to fall. When this happens, the pancreas start making glucagon, a hormone that signals the liver to start releasing stored sugar.
Carbohydrate metabolism is important in the development of type 2 diabetes, which occurs when the body can’t make enough insulin or can’t properly use the insulin it makes. Type 2 diabetes usually develops gradually over a number of years, beginning when muscle and other cells stop responding to insulin. This condition, known as insulin resistance, causes blood sugar and insulin levels to stay high long after eating. Over time, the heavy demands made on the insulin-making cells wears them out, and insulin production eventually stops. Here’s the link to an article published by the Harvard School of Public Health for those who want to learn more about the metabolism of carbohydrates: Harvard Article
Yes the road to better health requires some effort and a little discipline. However, as we have seen over the past three years, personal attention to the state of one’s health has never been more important. Remember what Mr. Myagi said to the Karate Kid “everything in life a question of balance”. And remember too that, often, the biggest improvements are made over time by taking small steps along the way.
Grant Edward Rayner B.Comm., LL.B.