Interview With Author Getty Ambau About Health in America
Booksandmocha.com is pleased and proud to interview Getty Ambau,
author of Four Pillars for Your Health, Good Looks and Longevity –
an important work about the sweet science of safeguarding your
health through proper diet. Get ready to be inspired!Questions are in boldface and the author’s answers are unbolded.
“Let’s say you’re the head of the FDA and as such you have lots of power to influence the direction that your agency will take. What would be the first thing you would do to get America . . . as well as the world?. . . healthy? Would the axe fall on any current businesses or practices within the food and drug industries?”
“The first thing I would do would be to institute nutrition education from Kindergarten to twelfth grade. I’m sure it won’t be as simple as it sounds. It will probably involve the Department of Education, Congress and even the president to introduce these changes. I would also require the food processing industry to stop removing the skin from grains, stop treating dough to high temperature/pressure and then extruding it to make breakfast flakes. These processes destroy the naturally occurring vitamins, essential oils and other nutrients.”
Nutrition should be taught at the primary level
“O.K. . . Fast food . . . what’s your professional take on it? Is it always bad all the time? Is an occasional burger or some such at one of your (comparatively) better fast food places ok or is it all strictly taboo?”
“Some fast-food outlets are getting better or at least becoming more sensitive to offering choices for those who wish to eat healthy. If you order salads and other non-greasy, non-fried foods, you will be okay. But these are not the foods most people go to eat at fast-food outlets. It’s the cheese burgers, hamburgers, French fries—all of which are filled with fat, salt and sweets. Consuming these foods once or twice a month probably wouldn’t lead to high health risks. However, these spare foods can still impact the body in the long run if the person is not eating healthy at home.”
Can health food become as popular as fast food?
“Do you foresee the possibility of health food chains with drive through lanes and the fast service offered by McDonald’s and that ilk so that health-conscious people on the go can eat healthy and still save time and money?”
“I think that is a possibility. More people are conscious of what they eat now. The baby boomers were largely the driving force behind the growth of fast-food chains in the 50’s, 60s and 70s. They are getting older and they want to live healthy as long as they can. Smart entrepreneurs who watch these trends will probably create a fast food chain that offers foods based on their nutritional/health merits instead of just for their taste and convenience.”
“Did you grow up with a thing for cooking and cuisine? Did you learn your way around a kitchen when you were still just a kid?”
“No. The kitchen is off-limit for boys in Ethiopia. It’s not a manly thing to do. My friends would have laughed at and ridiculed me if I did something like that. How I arrived at the idea of nourishing the body properly is partly intuitive and partly from what I know about how the body uses and process foods we eat.”
“Your interest in health and nutrition…has it always been there?”
A serious student and practitioner of healthy eating
“My interest in health and nutrition evolved over the years. I had a weight problem a while back— not too bad but bad enough to cause me to change my diet. Then, about 20 years ago, I joined a company that manufactured and sold nutritional supplements. It was then that I read extensively about nutrition and discovered that many of the diseases that afflict people in this country are diet-related and can be minimized or eliminated if one watches what he or she eats. I wrote two books based on my findings.”
“Give us your report on healthcare and nutrition in America. What are the 3 or 4 or biggest threats to the health of most Americans and what needs to be done about it?”
Healthcare in America commercialized
“My overall impression of healthcare in America is that it’s too confused, too commercialized and too reactive. The healthcare policy makers say one thing while the public does something else—often influenced by the news, fads or trends. That is what I mean by “confused”. The drug companies, doctors, and all those establishments which provide services to the sick and the needy stand to gain when someone is not well. This is probably why fundamental changes on a nutritional level still have not been made.”
Interview With Author Getty Ambau About Health in America
“Continued indulgence in sweets, fatty/salty foods; over consumption of foods and the lack of exercise. These three areas are the causes of the growing phenomena of weight gain and obesity in this country. Type II Diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular diseases, cancer and other serious health problems have often been linked to a person’s excess body fat. It’s a simple fact of life: if you eat more than your body can use, the excess food (calories) will be converted into and stored as fat. And most Americans consume way more than their body needs in order to meet its energy demands.
“If you don’t burn off calories through physical exertion, they get processed to add to your poundage. Some people consume more calories than necessary with the belief that by doing so they can increase their consumption of essential nutrients (vitamins and minerals). They can achieve this without consuming more than they need. How can this be done? It can be done by choosing nutrient-dense foods: fruits, vegetables, herbs and even spices. For example, those who use The Four Pillars drinks described in my book The Four Pillars for Your Health, Good Looks and Longevity, can reduce their caloric intake substantially by using these drinks as the source of their essential nutrients.
“Another big health issue for Americans is the continued reliance on prescription and non-prescription drugs. I take Hippocrates literallywhen he says “Make food thy medicine; they medicine thy food.” I think if we give nature a chance—by availing our bodies/selves ofall the essential nutrients in sufficient quantities and drinking or eating foods made from fruits, vegetables, herbs and spices, then our bodies can do what they are designed to do: repair, build, protect and heal themselves when they get sick. Synthetic drugs are foreign to our bodies. They can accumulate in the tissues, becoming toxic or causing unhealthy side effects. Their benefit is largely a band aid; a temporary fix of a problem and not the solution.”
“There is also a lack of education in the field of health and nutrition on a fundamental level—in elementary and high schools. Whatever we learn during these formative years often lasts a lifetime. Good primary education that teaches the value of good nutrition can be empowering. People can make healthy choices if they know enough about what bad foods can do to their health and well-being. I think if we don’t adopt this idea soon, Americans’ health will only get worse.”
“I also worry about pollution. I think progress is being made in this area by shifting to non-polluting, alternative energy sources, by having more stringent pollution-control measures and by raising the public’s awareness of the dangers of pollution.”
“Is there some kind of crossover/meeting point between the scientist in you and your interest in things related to the kitchen? Did you ever daydream about making your favorite dish(es) at home while sitting through a particularly slow-going microbiology lecture?”
“As I mentioned earlier, cooking or spending time in the kitchen, preparing food or helping my mother, was never a part of my upbringing. However, over the years, I learned how to cook and even invented dishes to meet my healthy lifestyle.”
“Make our mouths water . . . !! Can you describe one of your favorite Ethiopian dishes with a commentary on the health benefits /nutrients contained therein?”
“There are many dishes I like. Doro Wot (chicken stew), with punctured boiled eggs soaking in the sauce, used to be one of my favorites when I used to eat meat. The chicken parts are thoroughly cleaned and they are free of fat, ligaments and tendons. This meat is largely protein and relatively healthy. Most Ethiopians use light oil or butter for cooking. Re vegetarian foods, I like all the legume-based ones as well as collard greens and salads. I prefer them prepared with just lemon, vinegar and certain spices. I have no one particular dish that is my absolute favorite. And they are all healthy.”
“How did your studies in the sciences mesh with your concern with proper eating?”
“My studying biochemistry helped me understand how the body process and uses the food I consume. This knowledge, in turn, has made me appreciate and respect the food I put in my body. And I make my choices based on what value or benefit the food will have on my feeling after I eat it as well as the impact it will have on my long-term health.”
“What’s next, now that The Four Pillars for Your Health, Good Looks and Longevity is successfully launched? Are you going to pay more attention to Desta from here on? If you do that, will you still continue to promote awareness of proper nutrition to people? Do tell!”
“Yes, The Four Pillars is launched to the extent that it’s published and is available for people to purchase and read. As you may know, that’s only half the story in book writing and publishing, which brings me to your other two questions. Yes, I’ll be paying attention more to Desta from here on. In fact I have already written a few rough chapters of the 4th volume. However, like Desta, the main protagonist in the series, I will be pursuing dual missions.
He is on a journey trying to find the Second Coin of Magic and Fortune and at the same time earn a modern education. I’ll be writing the next volumes of the series and also continue to make people aware about the importance of eating and living healthy. Our path to wellness should come primarily from the quality foods and drinks we consume and not from drugs and other medicines, which we, unfortunately, have come to view as the panacea of all our ills.”
“Any concluding remarks?”
Take charge of your health!
“Despite what we may think or have been brought to believe, our lives are in our own hands. God gave us intelligence to know enough and make wiser choices in the foods we put in our bodies. God also gave intelligence to every cell, every molecule and atom in our bodies to work harmoniously to sustain the life they are meant to support for as long as it’s genetically destined to exist.
All these matters are a part of the processes that need the essential nutrients to function properly and resourcefully. Therefore, it’s our responsibility one, to know enough about the kinds of foods or nutrients that will be good for our body and avail them daily. Two, avoid consuming or ingesting substances (such as drugs, cigarettes, consume excessive alcohol, etc.,) that would interfere with those processes. If we don’t, we’ll be setting our bodies up to diseases or even cause them to cease if any of the processes come to a halt.
“Good nutritional knowledge and proper food choices give us power to control our day-to-day wellness as our long-term health and well-being. My Four Pillars book can start people on all key areas of good health. They can build on this knowledge by reading more books and articles on health and nutrition. When one is armed with knowledge, she or he will have fun eating and leading a healthy life.”