Loving Your Dad

...or your kid's dad, or your husband, or your brother, or any other man in your life

You know the big picture of the statistics. Women tend to outlive men. In fact, in 14 of the 15 leading causes of death, men "lead" women. The only cause more prevalent in women is Alzheimer's disease (many men don't live long enough to get it!). Men tend to die 5 years earlier than their wives.

I know, it's a real upper on this Father's Day weekend. I'm not trying to "shock you" or create a sense of fear and panic. I'm trying to show you how absolutely ridiculous and preventable it is.

In 2010, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) released the top causes of death:

  1. Heart Disease
  2. Cancer
  3. Chronic Lower Respiratory Diseases
  4. Stroke
  5. Unintentional Injuries
  6. Alzheimer's Disease
  7. Diabetes
  8. Kidney Disease
  9. Flu and Pneumonia
  10. Suicide
  11. Sepsis
  12. Chronic Liver Disease
  13. Hypertension
  14. Parkinson's Disease
  15. Aspiration Pneumonia

Eight of the top 15 (and 6 of the top 8) leading causes of death are related to diet, exercise and lifestyle (tobacco, alcohol, drug use, stress, sedentary lifestyle, etc).

Compare this to 1900, when the top causes of death were infectious disease.

We know that none of us will live forever, but why are we choosing to live in such a way that shortens our lives, and - maybe even worse - reduces the quality of the years we have?

Now women aren't immune to these things, but we do tend to manage our health better. Probably due tot he fact that we are more likely to seek medical management, and not just "tough it up" management of ailments.

So my plea? Love a man.

Love a man by encouraging him to go to the doctor - even if it's "not that bad". Encourage him to get his annual physical. Encourage good habits from infancy to old age. Encourage him that a way that he can show he loves YOU is to take care of himself.

Love a man by not letting him make excuses for himself or his health. Don't let him get away with "eating like a man" (i.e. steak and potatoes only). Don't let him believe the lie that ignorance is bliss when it comes to health screening.

When you make plans for Father's Day this weekend, consider loving a man by making the healthy choice the easy (and tasty!) choice. 

Choose leaner cuts of meat

Consider fish or skinless poultry. Consider tuna or salmon as a hearty option.

For ground meats, look for 90/10. That means it is 90% lean meat/protein by weight and 10% fat. (85/15 is fattier, and 95/5 is leaner.) This is a good middle ground of a lean meat that retains flavor and moisture.

When you're picking out red meat and pork, choose "loin" and "round" cuts. These will be leaner. And of course you can always trim fat off when you get home. 

Choose smaller cuts of meat

No one needs a piece of meat the size of their head. In fact, think about the size of a women's palm. You can still enjoy the meat you love, just enjoy a smaller portion of it.

Bring in the color

Don't forget to add in colorful sides. Grilled or roasted veggies make a great side to any meat. Asparagus, bell peppers, onions, and zucchini all do great on the grill. Or choose a cold vegetable like cucumber or tomato to match.

Don't forget dessert

You can still use the grill! Pineapple, peaches, nectarines, watermelon, cantaloupe, even bananas will all make for a wonderfully sweet ending to your meal. Sprinkle with a little cinnamon and sugar, top with a dollop of sweetened yogurt or whipped cream. Amazing.

And finally, to the men reading this... When you see that a woman is taking your health into consideration, don't get upset. Don't think she is trying to change you, manipulate you, make you suffer, or otherwise ruin your life. She is trying to love you.

Let her.

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Katie Goldberg

Katie Goldberg, MCN, RDN, LDN, has been a registered dietitian since 2013, but has always had a passion for good food and a healthy lifestyle. Katie earned her Master’s of Clinical Nutrition from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center and has worked in private practice, higher education, in a clinical setting, and as an in-house dietitian for a food company. Whether it's at through large groups or one-on-one, Katie enjoys connecting people with easy and practical solutions for better health.