Advice From the Trenches

Advice from the Trenches: Food for Thought

Dear C:

My boyfriend Stan won’t listen to me, and I need some backup. He is recovering from pneumonia after having had Omicron just a month before. 

He eats too much junk food to begin with, but when he was quarantined with Omicron, he couldn’t be bothered to cook and ate nothing but processed foods. If I’m with him I bug him to eat better, but I couldn’t risk getting infected – I teach senior craft classes twice a week.

He was in a rush to catch up with his own work after getting out of quarantine, so he kept eating whatever he could grab on the run. Then – surprise! He gets pneumonia.

He finished all his antibiotics but he isn’t getting better. He keeps eating crap. His excuse is that he has no appetite and junk food at least tastes good, otherwise he wouldn’t eat at all. I think he’s being stupid. 

C says:

Well, of course he is, Carol. The majority of men are stupid about their health, I think it’s in their genes, so there’s no point in blame. Their doctors don’t help much either. A research article published in the Journal of Biomedical Education discovered that over a third of medical schools required less than 12 hours of nutrition over the course of their 4 year curriculum. No surprise that doctors just hand out a prescription instead. 

This same article made another interesting finding: “nutrition is a dominant contributor to most chronic diseases and a key determinant of poor treatment outcomes. It cannot be a realistic expectation for physicians to effectively address obesity, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, hospital malnutrition, and many other conditions as long as they are not taught during medical school how to recognize and treat the nutritional root causes.” This was not an opinion offered by alternative care supporters – it was a conclusion drawn by a group of researchers from institutions that included Harvard Medical School. Why our general medical system chooses to ignore this is a matter for another discussion. 

Next time your boyfriend scoffs at you as he is unwrapping his third Snickers bar of the day, stop him mid-snicker (pun intended) and send him to this link:

It might wake him up – or put him to sleep.

My consulting chiropractic physician in residence, Dr. Michael Zola, offers an explanation for the importance of nutrition that your boyfriend might understand: “If you were gong to build a house, you would want to get the best materials and the most skilled builders, because you want it to last. When you eat crappy food, you are building yourself with sub-par materials. The more nutrients there are, the better your system will work.”

Most men take better care of their cars than they do their bodies, so here’s another approach that might get through – compare the human body to a car. What kind of a car does Stan have? If he owns a beat up piece of junk, he might brush this tactic off too, but if he’s got a BMW, or any recent model car for that matter, he might get it: “Hey, Stan! You don’t mind if I take your car to Stop & Shop and fill the tank with Mountain Dew instead of gas, do you? It’s a lot more convenient than going to the Mobile station, and soda is on sale this week!” 

If he brushes that off too, you may want to consider brushing him off as well – unless you want to end up in a relationship with a guy who is a) on disability by the time he’s 40; or, b) needs you to play Mommy to his five year old for the rest of your life.

Stan’s diet is his choice and also the choice of the “shut up already!” crowd. However, there are men out there who, of their own free will, chose to apply the same intelligence to their own health that they do to their careers. 

Whom you chose to partner with is up to you. Choose wisely.