Page 27 - Scene Magazine 45-10 October 2020
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 Nutrition Scene
  just under 9%. According to the VA, nearly 75% of their nine million Veteran patients are obese – the national obesity rate sits at around 31%. Similar statistics offered by the VA all show that instances of hypertension, hyperlipidemia, and COPD are all approximately three times more prevalent in Veterans than they are in the rest of the American population. There are many studies and theories as to why Veterans face more nutritionally based illnesses than the rest of our pop- ulation – from high incidents of PTSD, to chemical exposure, to physical injury – but the end result is the unimaginable reality that many Veterans suffer from medical conditions that are drastically improvable, if not curable.
Eat lots of crunchy produce. Eat two cups of crunchy fruit a day (apples, pears, etc.) or berries (blueberries are great). And get in two and a half cups of veggies, especially the green, leafy kinds. Crunchy fruits and leafy greens also bring you tons of fiber, and fiber is good!
Of course, a few guidelines might not be enough for you to base a new lifestyle on. There are many great resources online and in our area, and many great dietitians and nutritionists who are available to guide you. In my office, we always offer free consultations to answer questions. And, through November, we are offering your first week free to any Veteran in need.
Nearly 25% of all Veterans have diabetes, according to the American Di- abetes Association. To put that statistic into perspective, the rate of diabe- tes in America is
healthy diet. So here is a quick guideline: Keep your foods natural. When you avoid things in boxes or bags (other than
Watch your portion sizes. A four to five ounce chicken breast is plenty of protein for a meal.
Nutrition Guidelines For Veterans
produce bags) you’re avoiding preser- vatives and processed food. And that’s a great start.
Be active! Get 30 minutes of activity five times a week. If that seems like too much, work up to it. I promise it will change your life.
Avoid foods with additive sugar, and NEVER drink sugar. Look at the ingredients for words like cane sugar, corn syrup, beet sugar, molasses, cane juice, carob syrup, coconut sugar, fruit juice, honey, maple syrup, or sorghum syrup, to name just a few.
As always, I’d like to send my most sincere thank you and appreciation for all of our Veterans. You are the founda- tion of everything our country stands
for, and the example of everything our country can be. God bless you for all you have given to our country.
Eat good fats like nuts, seeds, fish, and avocados.
Cut down on sodium.
 In my practice, I literally see dozens of Veterans each week – men and wom- en who often believe their prescriptions are more powerful than their choices. But, they’re not. I wrote, in a previous article, about a Vietnam Veteran who had been on diabetic medication for decades after exposure to Agent Orange. In a few months of visits, he was no longer con- sidered diabetic, and was off all of his diabetes medications. The same can be said for blood pressure meds and choles- terol meds. And, quite often, once these medications are no longer used, patients were also able to get off other medica- tions for pain, inflammation, arthritis, etc. Of course, there are many cases where medication is needed to maintain your health and save your life, but those medications can often be reduced in dos- age, at the very least, through improving your eating habits.
The biggest factor, according to research done by the Department of Vet- erans Affairs, seems to be financial dif- ficulties. Sadly, in our country, it seems cheaper to eat poorly than it is to eat a healthy diet. Coupled with that is a lack of understanding of what constitutes a
thank you
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