Wednesday 21 February 2024

Mental and Physical Health

These days I try to eat properly not just for physical health but also for mental health.

Of late, there has been articles in the media on mental health and even the Malaysian Institute of Accountants (MIA) organized webinars on this topic (accountants going bonkers?).

I attended two of these sessions simply to see what is the attitude of our local psychiatrist/nutritionist as regards the connection between metabolic and mental health.

I'm afraid our healthcare professionals are still not updated as to the current science. They even think that the ketogenic diet is next to impossible to implement.

I am not trying to be a smart ass (after all, I have no medical credentials) but I am of the opinion that we cannot leave everything to doctors.

We must take the initiative to read and find information/solutions to resolve our own health issues. Of course we still have to rely on doctors for serious disease/injuries but still, we need to be more informed.

I feel quite alarmed when people tell me that their doctors advise them to avoid meat (especially red meat) and to go more plant based. As we grow older, we need more protein to maintain and rebuild our muscle mass.

I used to wonder why the elderly tend to shrink and shrivel up and many are unable to walk unaided. Those who can walk are not steady on their feet and lose their balance easily. Most end up in wheelchairs and do not have quality of life. 

I learnt that this is due to loss of skeletal muscle mass. When you lose muscles, you are unable to support your body resulting in loss of strength and balance. That is why the aged are very prone to falls.

I do not believe that it is the effect of aging, rather the consequence of inadequate nutrition and lack of physical activity.

We can go into our 60's, 70's, 80's and even 90's and beyond without suffering the ravages of disease and decline. What we put into our mouths and how we live our life will determine the status of our health.

Don't end up like this. 

Instead aim to be like this.

If we want to live long, the life span that we seek must be accompanied by health span. There is really no point living till your 90's when the last 20 years or so is spent in a wheelchair with loss of mental cognition.

So please, eat protein and fats. Reduce/avoid sugar, carbohydrates and ultra processed foods. If you love veggies, eat your veggies.

And do some exercise in particular strength training (lifting weights). Walking is also very good. If you want to improve or maintain good robust mental and physical health, start NOW.  It is never too late.

These days, I take my strength training very seriously.

The lightest weights I work with are 2.0kg dumbells. These are for tricep curls and other movements that I can't do with heavier weights (not yet anyway).

Then I have these 3.5kg weights and the heaviest big ass ones are these 5.0kg weights. Eventually once I am stronger, I will aim for maybe 10.0 kg weights.

I would like to share two videos here. I know that these podcasts tend to be long (lasting more than an hour) but it is worth listening and learning. 

This is an interview with Dr Gabriel Lyon on the importance of skeletal muscles and it's impact as we age.

Meanwhile, this podcast with Dr Chris Palmer, I listened to two nights ago. Mental health is a subject near and dear to me because I used to suffer from severe depression and anxiety.

And I want other people who suffer from the same affliction to learn that dietary intervention can help and that there is hope.


  1. Thank you for sharing this important information about the need to maintain muscle mass when old. Keep up your meat intake and weight exercises! 💪💪💪

    1. Most welcome! I want people to know this so that they can better prepare for old age.

  2. Thanks for sharing this important piece of information. I agree that life span should also be accompanied with good health span, for a quality living.

    1. Most welcome. Long life and quality of life must go hand in hand.

  3. Like you said, we don't have medical credentials so we're not in a position to give advice as to what a person should or should not eat. Each individual's medical history or body composition is different, perhaps the doc advised the patient to avoid red meat coz they have too much protein in their system (through medical check-ups). When my FIL was suffering from cancer, he was also asked by his doc to cut down on red meat. An elderly couple (neighbours of mine) don't eat red meat (Chinese don't usually eat beef but they even dislike the taste of pork), so they're mainly on a diet of seafood & vegetables (maybe a little chicken) but seems to be thriving in their old age (with no significant chronic illnesses, better than me...hah..hah). I guess people get their protein intake from many other sources (besides meat) like seafood and even tofu (for the vegetarians).

    1. Yes, I am far from giving advice but just creating awareness. We are all physiologically different and what I posted is just a general overview and my own opinion. I also know of vegetarians who thrive and are in great shape.

  4. I know I can't be a vegetarian because I like my meat and I don't know what to cook for vegetarian meal except veggies stir fried with veggies, or veggies stir fried with mushrooms. LOL

    1. When I was younger, I contemplated going vegetarian. Like you, I love meat, so hah...hah...