Sunday, February 19, 2012

Oh, The Times They Are A Changing

I have lived half a century.  Half of 100 years and with any luck, I will be able to say that at this point, I had only lived half my life.  I've been thinking lately of just how much the world as I see it has changed.

In every direction, life has changed and while I know that should I look back into history, I would see that perhaps this is repetitive change.  We have probably been here before, racing towards progress only to eventually find ourselves throwing rocks at our potential dinner.

Being a child of the 1950s, I recall a world without a lot of television, cell phones and most advanced modern technologies.  If I wanted to write to my Uncle Bill, I had to actually get a pencil or pen, find some writing paper, actually write the letter with my hand, address an envelop, fold up the letter, put the letter in an envelop, lick the envelop to seal, go to the Post Office, buy a stamp (which was 10 cents), lick the stamp, attach the stamp to the envelop and finally place the letter in the Outgoing slot, just to tell Uncle Bill I loved him.  Back then calling long distance was a luxury we simply couldn't afford.

As kids, we spent all our time outside.  Rain, shine, hot or cold, we were outside.  We played football, baseball, kickball, we rode our bikes all over the neighborhoods, walked on hot streets in the summer, drank tons of water and enjoyed nickle candies.  Daddy worked the huge garden that supplied our dinner table with delicious bounty and Mom transformed a second hand dress into a dress for me for a special occasion.  Both tasks done with patience and by hand.

I learned to sew on an old Singer sewing machine with a foot pedal that made the whole thing work. I learned to type on a manual typewriter that more often than not, found me pulling my fingers out from between the keys.  It seemed we did more and knew less.  If we didn't know how to do something, we either had to find someone with the experience and time to teach us or we had to go to a library and check out a book on the topic.  We may not have had as much and maybe we didn't have the world at our fingertips, but we had a most carefree existence.  We ate food that was nutritious and made our Barbie dollhouses out of cardboard boxes and scraps of carpet.  Nothing was instant and nothing was easy.  And yet, in many ways, that life had great value.  It was a time of conquering our wants and needs with what God gave us, two hands, two eyes and a creative brain.  We used the daylight to finish what had to be done and slept well thanks to the fatigue of being busy and active all day.

Its as if I blinked my eyes and now my birthday cakes require more candles than it has room.  I have become my parents except, life is different.  We have so much and except for what is most important, we have want for nothing.  We all have cell phones and I do mean all of us, yet we can't make enough money to save for college for our children.  We have a dependable car but not enough money to go anywhere other than to work and school.  We have health insurance but not enough for the deductible that takes us to our Primary for care.  We have all the food we could want but the food does little to provide nutrition for our bodies.  Some of these are priority choices, others are facts of life. 

Today, social media has turned our lives into open books.  Privacy is minimized and while you might not participate in social medias, everyone else does so whatever they know is spread exponentially.  Social media is nothing more than fancy wildfire gossiping for which I have no need at all.  Truly, I prefer to mind my own business.

Today, we are one with our technology.  There is no doubt, these advances have made our world more productive, more convenient and in some cases, more enjoyable.  I don't think I could do a fair comparison of the two worlds I have known in my life.  I know there is value in each and for very different reasons.

Could I say which I prefer most?  No.  Could I quickly adapt to the world I knew as a child?  Most definitely.  We must have experienced something in order to feel comfortable with it when it comes round again.  Perhaps this is why I feel so compelled to talk to my son about the way the world used to be and how things used to be done.  Should the patterns repeat themselves in the form of our ways of life, he might just have that taste of familiarity and feel more at ease. 

Nothing lasts forever, not people, not technology, not privacy, not freedom.  What does last forever are our comfort zones and if you have enough of them, you can ease through all the changes that life brings.

Ebb and flow, ebb and flow.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

You Are What You Eat

After a respectful time acknowledging the personal losses of January, I'm back to discuss my passion which happens to be nutrition.

If you had told me, at fifty something years of age, my life path would be dedicated to keeping myself nutritionally fit and sound, I most certainly would have laughed at you.  I was like so many people who select what they eat based either on their pocketbook or their taste buds.  It wasn't because I didn't care about how I felt or the way I looked or even how I would be as I entered the second half century of life.  I most certainly did.  I simply wasn't educated in the area of nutrition. Very few of us are, so don't even feel badly.  What I do want you to feel is curious.

Having had a run in with high blood pressure about 5 yrs ago, having been overweight and feeling as if I was slowing down in my life, I began the quest  to find out the connection between what I ate and how I felt.  Trust me, it did not take long to learn what I needed to know.  It take a bit longer to learn all I needed to know and as quickly as the prices change at  your local grocery store, the information about what is available to us in the forms of food changes.

My initial "eye opening" experience came after seeing the online video "Food Inc.".  There I learned how the food I saw in the grocery stores was mass produced.  I learned how many chemicals and preservatives were being added to those "shelf foods" and those cuts of meats in order to either ensure "quality" or shelf life.  As I learned about these facts, it became abundantly clear that the food we eat every day was not the food we were created to eat.  Our illusion of food has been manufactured right along with the food they sell us.

Another online video that changed the way I saw food was "Food Matters".  Then I viewed "King Corn" and once again, I found myself appalled at the manner in which our diets had been altered without knowledge or consent on the part of the consumer.  Don't get me wrong, I'm not one of those radical food people that hates big business or the magic of marketing.  I understand its a way of life and will never really go away.  What I do not like is that people are getting sick, getting fat and are surely dying because of their personal choices and sadly because they simply don't know any better.  I can say that because not very long ago, I was one of them.

With ever sharpening clarity, I began to see a better way to live and eat.  It all came down to my choices.  When I walked into the grocery store, I had two choices.  I could eat what tasted good (and ultimately would hurt me) or I could choose healthy foods that might cost a bit more but would be more in line with my body's nutritional needs.  The choice was life or die.  I had to pick.

In an effort to learn more of the foods available to me, I began using the Sparkpeople site to manage not only calories, carbs, proteins, fats and sodium but also a long list of vitamins and nutrients.  I was determined to get my weight down and what my body needed through food and not supplements.  I figured way way back when the body was made, we  had no processed foods, no supplements and no fast food.  At its beginning the body was sustained on what the Earth provided.  I wanted to see if I could achieve daily goals by making smart food choices.  It worked.  With the quick aide of the Sparkpeople site, I lost weight.  Alot of weight.  And I'm still losing weight and more importantly, I feel great. 

Just before the holidays, I happened upon a video on called "Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead". When I finished that video, I knew what was next for me in my quest not only to improve my health but to offer that option to my family.  I began juicing.

I must admit, prior to the video, the mere thought of juicing was not appealing at all.  I mean, who can drink all that stuff.  Well I can and its not bad at all.  I invested a modest amount of money in a juicer and got my first taste and loved it.  As a bonus, I could see my vitamin and nutrient values soar on the Sparkpeople site where I charted my foods.  Sadly, my cheap juicer died.  You get what you pay for indeed.  But it had given me a chance to see if this was something I really wanted to do.  Had I not liked it, I would have not felt badly about the little money lost.  Now, I had to secure a better juicer, one that could go the distance with me.

I shopped around and decided that I would go with the brand from the "Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead" video.  I purchased my Breville Juice Fountain and off I went.  What I have found simply amazing is that when I talk about my juicing, people are interested, they want to try it.  I have referred this video to many people and it has taken them from the fear to the feast of nutrition.  I am honored to have been the guide on their journey.

What is quickly realized when one starts juicing is when your produce is on the counter ready to be converted to liquid is exactly how much food you would have to ingest in order to get the nutritional values we need.  Its a huge amount of food and an amount I could never take in during the course of a day.  But refine it down to juice and its more than doable.  Another thing I noticed is how much the body loves the juice.  By the third day of not juicing, my body begins to crave it.  It knows what it needs. 

I encourage each of my readers to at least view one of the videos I've mentioned in this blog.  Become hungry for knowledge not for food.  Learn.... then eat.  Be assured that those that stand to make money from either your current food cravings or from the illnesses that are sure to follow as a result of mindless eating, care not about your health.  You must be a champion for you.  You must be selfish in that department and once you have gotten your life on track, you must let others know there is a better way to live.

I wish each of you love and good health in this new year.  Remember, every new day is a new change waiting to be created.

Be well....