It is a common adage that death starts in the colon. As a Harvard trained gastroenterologist with thousands of clinical encounters and procedures under my belt, I can assure you that life begins with a healthy gut which absorbs and digests effectively.

Vegetables and fruit, with their complement of healthy vitamins and essential minerals, are nutritious for every organ and every cell in your body, and the colon is no exception. With their high fiber and water content, fruit and vegetables help bulk up the waste, and leave your colon healthier, and less prone to disease.

Unfortunately, we live in a culture of dietary pitfalls. Dangers beckon to us on every front in garish colors and shiny packaging, their quick gratification a devil’s bargain that can cost us way more than they are worth. Make no mistake, there is a war on for your health. The enemy uses all the sneaky tools of seduction, and spends billions on Madison Avenue ad campaigns to convince you to consume their poison.

My patients make a daily choice between the cheap taste sensation of processed junk food, with its increased risk of obesity, hypertension, high blood pressure and cancer, or of the exuberant health, good mood, abundant energy and radiant skin associated with delicious whole food meals, rich in vegetarian choices.

Processed foods, preservatives and chemical additives pose a danger to the health of your colon. If a patient tells me they eat red meat, bacon and hot dogs, I feel my heart sink, because I know they are at a statistically greater risk for colorectal cancer.

Beef and pork products, because they are comprised of such dense animal proteins and saturated fats, pose a serious risk to the colon. The nitrates in processed meats have long been considered carcinogens. There is a clear link between a high saturated fat, low fiber diet and colorectal polyps and cancer.

While a vegan diet may not be appropriate for everyone at all stages of life, there is no need whatsoever for the processed meat products so cheaply available in our culture, and so unsustainable to the body in the long term.

If you want to claim your own radiant health and live a long, exuberant life with the ones you love, avoid processed meats, and choose a diet rich in vegetables and fiber; Avocados, grapefruit, coconut oil, delicious citrus fruits, and vibrant greens and yellows of nature are good examples of such diet. Your body will thank you, and your GI doc will too.

Let the processed food merchants go and find honest work. You don’t want to line their pockets, while lining your colon with artificial ingredients, chemicals, preservatives, undigested meat and saturated fats.

Hopefully, one day we will have a culture in which people care for their bodies so much this is no longer an issue. Informed patients have better outcomes, all across the board. The fact is, good health starts with you and the choices you make every day. Believe me, you and your family are worth it.

Dr. Yousif A-Rahim, M.D. Ph. D.

Chief Medical Officer: Covenant Surgical Partners

Dr. A-Rahim works with our Medical Advisory Boards, our Medical Directors, and our quality assurance programs to oversee improvement of clinical outcomes for our patients. He also organizes and leads Company efforts to measure and improve clinical outcomes for all centers and the Company as a whole. Dr. A-Rahim earned his medical and doctorate degrees from the Pennsylvania State University and completed a residency in Internal Medicine and fellowship in Gastroenterology at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School. As a physician, he is known for his expertise in interventional endoscopy and minimally invasive treatments for gastrointestinal disease. He has authored several articles published in medical journals and has delivered presentations to fellow physicians around the country, including at his alma mater, Harvard Medical School.

Dr. A-Rahim is currently a Lecturer in Medicine at Harvard Medical School and practices gastroenterology at the VA Boston Healthcare System West Roxbury Campus in Massachusetts, and at Pacific Endoscopy Center, an ASC he co-founded in 2008 in Pearl City, Hawaii.

Dr Yousif A-Rahim – “ASC Leader to Know” Covenant Surgical Partners Chief Medical Officer

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