Thursday, November 3, 2011

Risk

Over the next few posts I would like to talk about what we eat - and what impact what we eat can have on our lives. Which is why this post is on risk: What we eat has an impact on the risk of our being unhealthy.

Risk then. When I first started driving I believed that people stopped at stop signs. And stop lights. Simple things those. But, as I saw more and more of how people drove I saw lots of examples of people not really stopping. Or not stopping at all. But I still drove as if people would in fact stop.

I think I understood that people might run a red light and run into someone, but I just didn’t believe that someone would be me.

Or, I was convinced that if someone ran a red light and hit my car that it would turn out all right - because I was the one who was legally crossing the intersection - I was in the right.

This all came into focus when Kelly and I got a scooter and attended a two day motorcycle safety course. The instructor told us (several times) that there were 4 things that killed the most motorcyclists - one of which was people running into cyclists because they didn’t see them. OK - in truth it wasn’t even the class time when this message began to penetrate my brain - it was coming home and seeing in a Saturday newspaper that 6 people had died in motorcycle-related accidents, and all 6 died of the causes presented in the class (I still have to shake my head, one of the four is running into a stationary object - like a parked car, and another is losing control in a corner).

Since that time I have found myself really looking to see if there is a car approaching an intersection and responding defensively if it looked like there was a chance of a problem. Or, better example, making sure people know I am coming - if I am on the other side of a truck and know the people who might pull out can not see me - I slow down and try to get out of a potentially really dangerous situation.

But, the thing about risk is that it is only a measure of the chance that something will happen. In my world I think in terms of increasing or decreasing risk. Looking both ways before starting up when the light turns green reduces the risk that I will become a hood ornament. This is a good thing in as much as I don’t want to be a hood ornament.

Does it absolutely prevent my making friends with the front of a car? NO. But it reduces the risk.

The other thing that I have done is install a kit that continuously flashes the headlight as we ride during the daylight hours. I can safely say it significantly reduced the number of times that I have been almost hit - I figure it is because drivers think we am on a police motorcycle.

The point I am trying to make is that I believe there are things that we eat that increase the risk that we will have health problems. For some, eating rich red meat every day of their life may well not increase the chance of heart disease. This discussion, and the topics covered in the next several posts are for those who are not willing to bet their life that they are genetically protected from the various illnesses that are related to diet. My goal is to give these folk some ideas that can reduce their risk of the diseases that seem to plague Americans.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Steve. I see you are headed toward diet and nutrition. I have been very impressed with the writings of Gary Taubes - Good Calories Bad Calories, and Why We Get Fat. GCBC came first, and people complained that it was too big and too difficult to get through, so he wrote WWGF as a simpler condensed version. What I like about Taubes is that he studies the research, and critiques it, and examines the basis for various nutritional guidelines and recommendations. Outstanding books!

    Warning--- I don't know what your dietary/nutritional practices are, but if you read them, you may be headed for some cognitive dissonance.

    ReplyDelete