Deprived? Not Me

- Feb• 27•12

Anytime you want follow a change to your diet in pursuit of better health, everybody around you assumes that you are depriving yourself of the fun they are having by eating whatever they want. This widely prevalent attitude, especially from your own friends and family, can be more difficult to overcome than any food changes.

I am sure you will relate to this story that my seventh-grade language teacher told us one day. He used to share interesting stories to keep us engaged and entertained. Most were humorous social commentaries that we could connect to. This timeless story, which probably plays out over and over in every culture, still brings a smile to my face.

It goes somewhat like this: Let’s say you are visiting a family friend and you really want to have a cup of tea. The best way to make sure that you will get that cup of tea is to announce as soon as you arrive, “I quit drinking tea”. Then it becomes your host’s moral duty to make sure you get a cup of tea no matter what. You repeatedly decline somewhat half-heartedly, until you finally concede. “Okay, this one time,” you say, and then proceed to happily enjoy the tea to the delight of your hosts.

Everybody wins.


What about if you end up having to give up something you really love to eat because of health reasons? You think the situation changes? Not really. Remember that your so-called friends assume you are being DEPRIVED of something enjoyable. So they will still pretty much force you to eat what you’ve renounced  “just this once.”

Let’s say you are trying hard to give up something to which you have developed an addiction, say smoking. Unfortunately, the same behavior seems to apply.

Consider the following actual event:

I was driving to work one day, when the car in front of me stopped at a green light (not a red light) for no apparent reason. There was a homeless lady at the crosswalk with her cart. My first thought was, “This nice guy has stopped to help the lady cross the road. Or at least he is going to give her the meal he just bought from the drive-thru.”

No, none of that happened. This guy in front of me stopped his car and ran over to the side of the walkway to give her, get this, a lighted cigarette. I almost wanted to get out the car myself and smack him silly. No doubt he feels good about his actions because he thinks this poor lady was, of all the things, DEPRIVED of the fun of smoking.

When it comes to this mindset, the level of education doesn’t seem to matter one bit. People are not considerate of the health needs of others regarding these types of issues. I recently ran into a longtime friend of mine at a wedding. It was sad see him in failing health, but after many years of smoking he was now trying very hard to quit. I happened to walk out of the wedding hall to take a phone call. To my horror, I found this guy surrounded by his other so-called friends who were feeding him cigarettes. These guys didn’t want their buddy to be deprived of the fun they were having, his health and life be dammed. Not to mention that they were making it even harder for him to quit smoking instead of helping him to overcome this addiction.

Following healthy habits of any kind will frequently cause you to become an outcast, especially if you are pursuing them on a preventive basis. That is a given in the present social climate. So what? You should be following healthy dietary habits so you don’t end up with preventable diseases such as cholesterol build-up in your arteries. You don’t want to wind up in the hands of heart surgeons like me and have to suffer through all that we do.

When eating healthily, you are not depriving yourself of all the acquired artificial tastes of damaging foods. Instead you are sparing yourself the painful and costly consequences of careless eating habits. So be firm in your conviction. Stand your ground and tell yourself, “Deprived? Not me.”

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  1. Vasavi Ramachandran says:

    I realize the value of Dr. Neravetla's advice. Everyone around me has some form of ailment that he descibes and I for one have made a lot of changes in the way I cook for the family. We have been healthy in body and mind!

  2. Rhonda L. Knox says:

    Dr Neravetla, Not only did I thoroughly enjoy your book,  your short stories about, "Deprieved? Not me", were awesome! These are the types of stories that people need to carry and hand out to their friends when they begin their trip to healthier living, to give to those, ' well meaning friends'.  Thanks for the education and ideas for following through. Rhonda L. Knox

  3. Heather Davis says:

    Our family is a family of 6, it comes down to pre planning meals and having raw fruits and veggies on hand ALL of the time for meeting your busy  family's needs.  When your children go to the cupboards and the processed "salt" filled foods are gone, 9 times out of 10, they will partake of the fresh foods without fussing!  Dr. Neravetla calls upon the subtleties in our salt ridden culture.  Epidemic.  I can appreciate Dr. Neravetla's alikening smoking to salt.  You would never even consider this habit in your child's life SO lets get educated and stand up for what we know to be true despite the regulatory bodies that definately do not have "consumption safety" on forefront of their agendas!  Thank you for your time and advocacy on this ill reported topic.

  4. larry tyler says:

    almost ate a pickel today but  didn't and i don't feel deprived

  5. Ian Tracy says:

    Terrific read!  Thank you for the information and thank you for your devotion to your patients health.  I am carrying the Salt Kills Flag to my entire family!  Please keep the info coming on the blog.

  6. Kelly Parker says:

    Thank you, Dr. Neravetla, for writing this book. I'm working to retrain my tastebuds because YOU said it is possible. All of this important information means nothing if I continue to consume the salt I think my food needs to taste good. All this time I thought I was doing well because I've never been a smoker and I only drink alcohol occasionally. I had no idea what salt is doing to my body and my familys bodies. Keep up the "salt patrol" in th OR!

  7. Kelly McIntosh says:

    I agree with you Dr. Neravetla, salt does more damage than people realize. My husband and I have decided that salt was the cause of his migraine headaches. In the past year he had several severe migraines, and I was concerned he was having a stroke. Long story short, after several trips to the doctor and prescription medications for migraines, he decided he didn't want to live his life this way. We kept a food diary, took his blood pressure 3 times a day (which was fine) for two weeks. During that time we realized he would have a migraine after a salty meal (i.e. pizza). Since then, we have reduced the salt intake, exercised more, and added more fruits and vegetables. So far so good!  Keep up the good work!

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