Excerpt from Better Food for a Better You by Peter Klarman

The need for proper digestion and the absorption of nutrients is vital to our existence. Presently, chronic diseases, namely, digestive disorders are growing at an alarming rate. In the past 20 years, the rates of childhood obesity and diabetes have skyrocketed and the top three causes of chronic disease and death (heart disease, cancer, and stroke) have increased or remained constant in the United States. The combination of all of these diseases is causing a significant strain on our nation’s health and economy and we don’t seem to be making much progress in prevention. Now more than ever there are many valid scientific studies that have clearly demonstrated how improving one’s diet, lowering stress, and regular exercise can benefit the health of the people of this nation and the world. If you search the internet for recent world health rankings, you may be surprised at what you learn about the quality of health in America. According to recent statistics, our country ranks 37th (in the world) in healthcare and number one in how much we spend on it. It’s time for us to make better, more informed choices about what we put into our bodies and to take better care of ourselves. However, despite having good intentions, the best technology and diagnostic techniques that modern medicine currently provides, and all the most wonderful New Year’s resolutions, somehow  life gets  in the way and many people are still dealing with the same health challenges a few months or even years later. Why? It must be understood that dis-ease and health are both processes that are related to our daily food choices. The more we are aware of the effects of those choices, the faster we can start the step-by-step process of awareness, changing thoughts, attitudes and beliefs and, finally, actions and habits. Modern day stresses are always going to be there. The better the quality of your daily diet, or rather food lifestyle, the better you will be at handling stress, the more balanced you will be physically, mentally, spiritually, and the better you will be able to respond to the challenges in life.

An unfortunate thing in this society is that many people wait until the quality of their health is so compromised  before they do something  about it. In many cases,  this  may  mean  ending  up  in  an  emergency  room  for costly  tests, expensive   prescriptions,   and  huge   medical   bills.   As  noted   yogi  Bikram Choudhury has said, “Your body is your responsibility, you choose!” When you begin to take more responsibility for your own health, you will indeed begin to enjoy the true benefits of a better quality of life and lower medical expenses. It is the goal of this recipe book/food lifestyle transition to help you start or get back on a path to making better food choices and improving the quality of your life. How far you go with it is up to you.

Here are a few questions to ask. How healthy can you be? Have you ever wondered about it or is it something that you never imagined? What’s at that end of the scale  on the spectrum  of health?  I believe  it’s possible  to live more happily, energetically, and experience more optimal health. As Chef Shelley Redford Young has said, “nothing tastes as good as good health feels”. Vibrant health or chronic disease is not something that you reach one day and just stay there.  Each  is  a  result  of  past  and  present  decisions  or  actions  that  are intimately related to daily food choices; choices that are directly under your control. Ultimately, you are the chief caretaker of your mind, body, and spirit on a journey toward health or disease. As humans, the natural state of the body is to be healthy and in balance. However, life and the pressures that come with it seem to get the better of us and results in many of the chronic diseases our society is afflicted with today.

If you wish to dig a little deeper and ask yourself a few more questions, you will find some important clues about the quality of your health. How often do you get sick each year? Do you have any chronic allergies? Do you have any recurring aches and pains? Are you excessively tired every day? Are you addicted to fast food  restaurants  and  junk  food  each  day?  Do  you  smoke  or  drink  alcohol regularly, consume processed packaged foods, and sugary soft drinks? What other chronic stress are you under? How are your relationships with others or yourself? These are just a few important questions to consider.

In order to have a deeper understanding of what good health means it requires you to have more self-knowledge. It’s not always easy to understand your own actions and, more importantly, be honest, and open about them. Many of us may have had poor dietary habits, unhealthy lifestyles, suffered from unusually high stress levels, unhealthy relationships, been exposed to countless environmental pollutants, experienced chronic fatigue, aches and pains, and chronic, and acute disease, etc. What lies on the opposite side of living this way? No matter what your current level of health is or why you ended up there, it’s time to look more closely at improving the quality of your life. At some point or another in life, you or someone you care about will have to come to terms with a health problem(s) and face the challenge of being responsible for taking care of it.

This is where tires hit the road on your journey to better health. It’s a new year and a new time to go forward by making better daily food choices that enhance your well-being and create a better you.

Cheers to your new found passion for better food and a better you.

All the best!

Chef Peter

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