It’s not just about living LONGER. It’s also about living BETTER.
Hello and welcome to my website. My name is Andrew Chuma. I am a practicing Otolaryngologist/Head and Neck Surgeon in Chester County, Pennsylvania. I have created this site to provide my patients and anyone else who is interested with information about how to get healthier, improve their lives as well as the lives of those around them while supporting and respecting the environment, the animals and the world we live in. I am not a nutritionist or “lifestyle coach” but over the last few years, I have learned a lot about how improving our nutrition and implementing other wellness strategies can improve our lives without just taking a pill. I have also learned to appreciate that all we do, including most importantly what we eat, impacts greatly on our health, our environment as well as the lives of the animals we share this planet with. However, to get healthy and to clean up our world, there are no shortcuts. There is no “hack“. You can and will get healthier and happier, but it takes work. Everything on the site is free for you to look at and download. I have no professional or financial relationships with anything or anyone mentioned on the site. Anything blue and/or highlighted is usually a link to more detailed information on specific topics. If you have a topic you would like me to address or clarify, please email me and I’ll do some research and add it to the site.
For more about me and my own health and wellness journey, please click on the Bio icon below. Be well.
You get OUT of your health exactly what you put into it.
Health and Wellness start with PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY.
Before the agricultural revolution 10,000 years ago, humanity evolved over 200,000 generations. 6 million years. We moved our bodies constantly. We lived in small groups, relying on each other to survive. We lived based on the rhythms of the sun and the planet. During that time, humans subsisted on whatever they could find or hunt. And we were not very good hunters so the majority of what we ate was plants. We ate some animals, but they grazed on their native, natural foods like grasses and shrubs. We didn’t tend to eat carnivorous animals since they killed us before we could kill them. We ate seasonally since refrigeration or transportation did not exist. We ate food not contaminated with chemicals or altered genetically. We ate foods local to our environment, primarily in the African continent, the cradle of Humanity. Our bodies evolved over those millions of years to survive and thrive on that diet. Since the agricultural revolution, there have only been 600 generations, not much time to evolve. As we left Africa and spread around the world, we adapted to our local environments, but adapting is different from evolving. The human body is very adaptable. The next big change in how we ate was during the Industrial revolution, when we developed refrigeration, transportation, the ability to mass produce processed foods, and raise animals in massive numbers. Since the industrial revolution, we have only had 10 generations, an inconsequential time from an evolutionary standpoint. This is why hyper processed foods as well as animals raised on unnatural foods for them, are extremely unnatural for humans to consume and cause such deleterious health effects. We have lost not just our nutritional way, but our social and physical activity ways as well. It’s only by returning to those patterns of eating, interacting and behaving that true health can be achieved.
Although you might guess that military spending is the greatest expenditure in the US (and we do spend the most on the military by a significant margin), healthcare expenditures are at least 4x more, 90% of that going to treat chronic, reversible diseases. Our entire economy, the largest in the world, is based and propped up by people being sick. Despite spending the most on healthcare (over $3.5 trillion a year, almost double of the next closest country which has socialized medicine), the US ranks a pathetic 37th in infant mortality. We rank an even more pathetic 50th in life expectancy and since we started tracking such figures, life expectancy has steadily been declining since 2016 at which time, we were ranked 42nd. In addition, we are 48th with respect to lowest rates of chronic disease. The average American spends the last 9 years of their lives physically debilitated and the last 20 struggling with at least 1 significant chronic disease. Something is not right! In the 1960’s, the US population overall had a chronic disease rate of only 4%. As of 2015, 46% of children were diagnosed with a chronic disease and 60% of adults with 46% having 2 or more chronic diseases. Sadly, we are 1st in obesity with 42% of Americans being obese, up from only 15% in 1980 and only 3% in 1960. Of people under 20, 22% are obese, including 10% of 5 year-olds. Another 34% are overweight. And another 20% are “skinny fat”, meaning that they may have a normal body mass index, but they have too much unhealthy visceral fat (intra-abdominal), organ fat (like a fatty liver) or even intra-cellular fat (in the muscles). That’s 96% of Americans having unhealthy amounts of fat!
It’s estimated that only 2.4% of Americans are a healthy weight because of healthy lifestyle choices.
We spend 86% of our healthcare costs treating chronic, reversible diseases and each year we increase that spending by 6-8%. Sadly, only 2.6% of US health expenditures go towards prevention and healthy lifestyle education. In fact, 47% of US hospitals have long-term contracts with fast food franchises like McDonalds which are prominently located in their lobbies. Fortunately, the vast majority of the chronic conditions plaguing people are related to our lifestyle, especially our diet, and most are treatable if not reversible but you must act NOW. Your body WANTS to heal. You generate 25 million new cells every second. The stomach lining regenerates 2-3 times a day. Brand new stem cells can be found in the brain tissue of even 90 year old’s. Hair continues to grow even after you are dead! You are NEVER too young, too old or too sick to take steps to improve your health. The oldest Toronto Marathon finisher was 104 years old and he didn’t start running until he was 89! Even in advancing years, lifestyle changes like improving your diet, managing stress, sleeping better and starting an exercise regimen will improve your health, quality of life and longevity. In fact, Dr. Dean Ornish, the father of lifestyle medicine who has been doing clinical studies on the impact of positive lifestyle changes on reversing chronic disease for over 40 years, has shown that at any age and with any severity of illness, improvements in lifestyle habits reverse disease including reducing coronary artery narrowing. Even heart transplant patients who started his program while they were waiting for available hearts improved so much that by the time their turns came up, they were healthy enough that they no longer needed the transplant! The more you change, the better your results, irrespective of your age or disease state. Chronic “adult” diseases start early in life. 19% of teens and kids are now obese and diabetes and even heart disease rates are on the rise, identified in kids as young as 3 years old! Significant cognitive changes are now being seen as early as 40. So the earlier in life you start, the better. In only 2 weeks of making positive changes, you WILL improve your cholesterol and blood sugar levels, blood pressure and even mood. You can lose weight, get rid of medications and improve your health but you must put in the effort. Medications aren’t a cure. They’re a Band-Aid and don’t fix the underlying causes of disease. Medications like those prescribed for diabetes, elevated cholesterol and hypertension only decrease risks of adverse complications by at most 30%. Lifestyle changes however decrease risks by 80-90%!
Although small changes over time lead to big gains in the long run, the more you improve your diet and lifestyle, the greater and faster your improvement will be. Whatever your approach, change at any age or any stage of disease is possible so just keep improving.
Dealing with all aspects of veganism; ethics, nutrition and environment, this is a great pocket list.
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