THE BLOG
11/27/2012 03:48 pm ET Updated Jan 27, 2013

Four Corners of Heart Disease in My Hood -- Take It Easy This Holiday Season!

So I am walking home, and right around the corner from where I live I had to stop and pause. On all four corners in my neighborhood I saw slow death food that you shouldn't order without a side of angioplasty. I had to take my camera phone and snap some shots so you all could see what I saw.

On corner number one you had Crown Fried Chicken. Corner number two you had Kennedy Fried Chicken. Corner number three... Popeyes Chicken and Biscuits. Finally, corner number four offered a little bit of diversity outside of chicken through a mobile street vendor who obviously wanted to capitalize on the local demand for those who were tired of fried chicken; he offered hot dogs, fried onion rings, Philly cheesesteak sandwiches, and gyros, all of which could block an artery or two with each bite.

Yes, my neighborhood is predominately black, and I quite frankly am tired of hearing stories of people in the inner city neighborhoods who have to get limbs removed due to diabetes and a poor diet. It is hard for me to blame the restaurants for setting up their establishments in places where the demand is so high to eat this crappy food! Check out some of the stats below...

• "3.7 million, or 14.7 percent of all African Americans aged 20 years or older have diabetes."

• African Americans have a 51 percent higher prevalence of obesity compared with whites.

• African-American men were found to be nearly twice at risk of prostate cancer compared with white men.

• "In 2009, African Americans were 30 percent more likely to die from heart disease as compared to non-Hispanic white men."

I talk mostly about finance, but what good is wealth is you have no health? Below is some information taken from my latest book, Living in the Village,that gives some basic tips to follow on living a more healthy life.

[I]n 2007 more than 60 percent of all bankruptcies were caused by medical bills, and most of these individuals (75 percent) had health insurance. No matter how you feel about health reform, the most important reform to change the horrific stats seen above should start with you. Below are a few tips that can help lead you to being physically prosperous:

Exercise!

We should be working out at least three days per week. If you are the type filled with excuses as to why you can't join the gym, then try to develop a workout regimen at home. Jog/run with the dog, chase the kids around the house, join a salsa class with your spouse, or do something that just makes you move!

Cut the crap!

I can't lie... there is nothing more tasty to me than a Double Whopper with cheese and a couple of slabs of bacon, fries on the side, and a strawberry shake! However, years ago I had to cut that out because I felt as if I had to order a side of angioplasty, it was so heavy. I am not saying that you can't have the fried foods, burgers, and other fatty meats (e.g., pork, ham, ribs, sausage, etc.), but for the sake of our kids who want us to be here for many more years and our pocket books we must eat them only in moderation. Dairy products... try to eat them in the low-fat or fat-free versions. To all of my bacon, bratwurst, and smothered steak love brethren and sisters in America, I know... someone played a cruel trick on us, because with the deliverance of fat was the flavor. Just as we learned to like them, we can learn to like the healthier meals!

Chill out!

Stress has consumed our society, and it only gets worse with the 24-hour media cycles that continuously tell us how bad it is. Turn off the television and pick up a good book from time to time. Every single day you should spend at least 30-60 minutes doing something that you love to do. It doesn't have to be the same thing every day, but each day you should do something like playing at the park with your dog, reading a great book, watch a movie or television show, get a massage, or walk along the beach.

Just say no!

Are you still one of the few who smokes? Why? This has got to be one of the stupidest habits ever created. It is mostly psychological, and most smokers admit that it doesn't even give them a buzz like it did when they first started. So you are essentially killing yourself because you have gotten accustomed to the feeling of tar going into your lungs, shortening your life span. If you really need to have something in your hands, how about grabbing a Tootsie Pop instead?

Another slow death drug is excessive drinking. Moderate consumption of red wine can help prevent heart disease (notice they don't say an entire bottle). More than that and the damage you are doing to your liver and kidneys can be irreparable.

Don't worry... be happy!

Optimism is a crucial component to every person's health plan. Try to see the good in every person and situation. It is hard for someone to feel down if you are smiling, singing a happy song, or eating a tasty ice cream cone. So grab a cone on the way home from a long day at work to make you feel better! Better yet, make it a fat free scoop.

This holiday season, we sit down for dinner wherever we are at and give thanks. Realize that of all the things we give thanks for, one of the most important is good health. So give thanks that you have your health, but don't immediately stuff your face to put that good health in jeopardy. Few enjoy eating as much as I do, but if I am going to get rid of these extra pounds that are putting my heart at risk I need to make sure I use the lost holiday art of moderation... join me won't you?

For more by Ryan Mack, click here.

For more on personal health, click here.

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