Every year it’s the same old thing. This is the year you will: lose weight, get fit, stop smoking, take care of your health, live greener, drink less (or more), be a nicer person. And every year, January comes and goes…and with it our resolve.
As a teacher of natural, whole foods cooking, I am faced with people in various degrees of commitment to wellness. From ‘I just want to get dinner on the table in 20 minutes’ to ‘how do I prevent my husband from getting a second heart attack,’ the plea is the same. People want to feel better, get fitter, reduce their risk of disease and increase their vitality and well-being. But it seems with all the information out there; all the news reports, studies and stories, they do not know exactly how to do that.
I adopted a vegan lifestyle about 25 years ago so that I could live more healthfully and compassionately. To this day, my daily goal is no more complicated than to be able to collapse into bed at the end of a long day knowing that I have done no harm…to myself or others.
What does it mean to be a healthy human? I think we have lost sight of the answer. Living with robust health is our birthright as is clean air, fresh water and wholesome food. But with so many things out of balance in our modern world, it amazes me that anyone can actually live well. It seems the cards are stacked against us at every turn.
As humans, we share some of the responsibility. We have taken ourselves so far from what is natural that we don’t know what natural is anymore. We think it’s normal to feel tired, lethargic, to have aches, pains, bumps, lumps, bulges, dots, spots and hair in places we didn’t think possible and no hair where we want it! We think it’s normal to walk with hunched shoulders, head low, guts hanging over our pants, ‘muffin tops’ spilling over our jeans, our hair as lifeless as our skin, which is as lifeless as we feel. When we look around, the majority of people we see look like this, too, so it must be normal, right? You couldn’t be more wrong.
We eat completely inappropriate food for humans and lead lives that are nothing like what Mother Nature intended…and we are paying a price for it, with tired, achy, overweight, sick, weak bodies and foggy minds.
This sad state of affairs has made me passionate about my work in this life…helping people to have a healthy relationship with food so that they can make healthier choices and live robust, vital lives.
Nothing short of a total re-thinking of what you know will change your current habits and your current state of health. And that ain’t as easy as it sounds, with all the marketing and brainwashing we face as a culture.
Not an evening goes by that I am not ranting at the television screen, fuming over some pharmaceutical ad promising us a new life, while the breathy voice reading the disclaimer tells us the possible side effects. They often sound a lot worse to me than the symptoms of the ailment. Why is no one asking these pharmaceutical companies to make safer drugs for us? Why are we willing to accept drugs with side effects that will make us sicker, but in a different way? Because we can just take another drug, that’s why! It’s all about the easy way out; it always is.
That thinking has to change for us to be a healthy nation, because the way we live now is a recipe for a national disaster much worse than anything global warming or terrorists can throw our way. We need change…now!
And I haven’t even begun to talk about marketing; the brain-numbing effects of advertising. Night after night, Papa John, Wendy, McDonald’s, The Colonel, Arby’s, Subway (eat fresh, my foot!) and a host of other villains parade across our television screens seducing us with fat, sugar and salt.
When are we going see through the veil of lies that they have pulled over our eyes and see that they have no interest in the health of your family or you…just their wallets? When are we going to say ‘enough!?’
As the holiday season shifts into high gear, think about this. Why not give yourself the gift of health this year and take care of yourself and your loved ones during this hectic time. Spend time making dinner; the deals at the mall will wait. Eat healthy foods, yes, even during this party season; you will have more energy and look great. Sleep enough and exercise regularly and encourage your family and friends to do the same; you will have serenity and patience throughout the season.
For once, let’s make the holiday season more about the quality than the quantity. Enjoy the moments rather than the wrapping paper.