WILDWOOD — In a nutshell, healthy living is based on a lifestyle of delayed gratification.
That’s the word that Wildwood President Vaughan Sparrow says comes from a reading of scripture and years of personal observation from the medical world.
“Every meal can be a blessing and a benefit or a taxation on our bodies,” he says from his office at the Wildwood complex. “Some foods build our bodies and others tear it down.”
Sparrow traces many of the nation’s health concerns to the Standard American Diet, an official designation with the unfortunate acronym of SAD. Many of the factors that increase the risk of cancer, heart disease, stroke, and intestinal disorders are found in the American diet which is:
- High in animal fats;
- High in unhealthy fats such as saturated and hydrogenated;
- Low in fiber;
- High in processed foods;
- Low in complex carbohydrates;
- Low in plant-based foods.
What is striking is that cultures with just the opposite of the American diet have a far lower incidence of cancer and coronary artery disease. Studies show that the U.S. spends more funds on cancer research than any nation in the world, yet the SAD lifestyle contributes to the very diseases the money is spent to prevent.
As Americans come to grip with their poor health decisions, they look to lifestyle centers to help them return to better eating habits that reverse or eliminate chronic disease.
Body should heal itself daily
“The body’s job is to heal itself every day. If it didn’t repair itself we would never make it to adulthood. If we abuse that healing nature by making poor meal choices or adopt a sedentary lifestyle, how could we expect anything but disease,” Sparrow asks.
In 2005 the prestigious medical journal The Lancet stated that lifestyle is the cornerstone for both treatment and prevention of chronic disease. That premise is why lifestyle centers are showing such success to restoring individuals to health.
“In medical school we are taught that it takes three-to-six months of lifestyle change to lower blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar levels. It didn’t happen overnight and can’t be solved overnight,” he adds.
Lifestyle centers equip guests with the tools to make the necessary changes and implement them when they return home. As is frequently said, knowledge is power.
“Many individuals don’t even try three months because it is so difficult to live in a population that does not practice discipline and self denial,” he admits.
“By and large were are emotional, physical, and spiritual beings. When a guest says their blood sugar levels are high they don’t always make the connection that they ate something they shouldn’t due to stress or unhappiness. It’s all inter-related.”
Behavior modification is key
Behavior modification is the key and why lifestyle centers show good results.
Regular fasting is one of the best ways to cultivate good health, Sparrow maintains, because it does a good job of clearing the mind.
“Fasting and praying draws you closer to God but eating sweets and comfort foods releases hormones such as dopamine that cloud the mind. That hormone gives a feeling of euphoria and makes judgment more difficult.
“Such hormones are good but we abuse them when we eat to receive pleasure.”
National studies have shown that plant-based lifestyles such as that taught and modeled at Wildwood results in a greatly reduced rate of chronic disease.