“Fitness is 20% exercise and 80% nutrition. You can’t outrun your fork.” ~Anonymous
A friend asked me the other day how my book writing is coming along. And I was forced to tell her the sad truth. It’s not. I really haven’t done anything substantive toward completing a book since I stopped the daily writing on my blog back in January. It was hard for me to admit that to my friend, but what’s harder still is resisting the urge to make elaborate excuses for my written inactivity. So rather than lying to you about some monumental personal obstacles I’ve encountered that have restricted me from writing, I am simply going to tell you the embarrassing truth. Like a dog that stops everything when it notices a squirrel running across the top of the fence, I got distracted by something. That something is food.
In January, after months of knowing it was the right thing to do and yet ignoring my better judgment, I finally decided it was time to jettison the artificial sweeteners in my diet. No more skinny lattes containing sugar-free syrups and no more diet sodas laden with aspartame. I switched to water. Round about that same time, curious about the Paleo diet some of my friends swear by, I decided to do some more research into what I should be eating. Over the years I would occasionally try a diet to lose a few pounds I had packed on. This time I was looking for a lifestyle change diet, something I could live with and maintain. My Type A personality went into high gear and I began reading, watching documentaries and Ted presentations, and doing my research. Then I officially went off the deep end head first. I tossed out everything in my house that was hiding MSG (and all of its pseudonyms). I cleared the refrigerator of food dyes. I decided against Frankenfood and set about a mass reduction in the amount of GM foods we eat. I tossed out packages of foods whose ingredients read like a foreign language. I bought a freaking juicer. And I decided to get downright personal with our food.
Along the way, we had many family discussions before mutually agreeing we would work toward a whole food, plant-based diet. We cut way back on meat. I reduced the portion of dairy in my diet from approximately 30% to 5%. We cancelled our milk delivery. We started buying more organic produce. We decided that it matters to us what the cows and chickens we include in our diet consume. We stopped eating out as often. We greatly reduced our consumption of sugar, caffeine, and processed foods. We started making fresh juices and vitamin-laden smoothies to get more fruits and vegetables in our diet. We decided to stick to heart-healthy oils and plant-based fats. I began work on my gluten-free baking. Our unbelievably picky eater, Luke, willingly began experimenting with new foods. Our dinners are now comprised of ingredients that we can pronounce. And we feel better. We sleep better. Our skin and nails are healthier. Our immunity seems to have improved. We don’t count calories. We just eat food that makes sense, food that we understand. And we eat as much of it as we want.
I didn’t truly intend to spend much time walking down this path. It began as a curiosity and morphed into something much larger. Each day I take another few steps away from what I thought was important toward what I now believe truly is. The more I’ve learned about the complexity of our food (gained through years of industrialization, scientific research and experimentation, and a lack of appropriate governmental oversight), the more I know that this is where I need to be focusing my energy right now. This is what I am being called to. Who knows? Maybe somewhere along this journey I will find my raison d’être? Maybe in the midst of all of this I will find my book? Maybe not.
I know there is the whole eat-right-and-exercise-and-die-anyway philosophy. I think about that sometimes and wonder if I’m diverting my energy into something that in the end won’t really matter. Then I read another article linking some health issue to our food supply and I remember that I’ve never been the type to sit back and wait to see what happens. My mother taught me that if you aren’t happy with something, you should fix it. So that’s where I’m headed…to improve my health and the health of the ones I love. Perhaps something will stop me in my tracks early and I won’t live to be the vibrant 90 year old I know I’m capable of becoming. I only know one thing. I want to live as many of my days here on this earth free of pain, feeling good in my skin, and knowing that I’m doing the best I can for my family, myself, and this blue planet. So, for now, I have to keep walking this road to see where it leads. I’m pretty sure that it leads somewhere good.
I don’t think there’s a sad truth in admitting you’re not working on “that” book. I still think there’s a story in what you’re focused on now. People and their personal attachments to the foods they eat could be a fascinating read! 🙂 Keep up your good work!
One of my daughters is a family doctor and she says if people drank water and walked, her practice would be cut in half
The more I’ve thought about it, the more good food seems like the best medicine. You really are what you eat. Thanks for the comment!
Well, things take time to complete… like writing a book! Wow, that’s a great undertaking. Congrats! As for food and health thing, I think about that stuff all the time too. I’m far from perfect at following through on new “good” information on health, but being dialed into it does help. With that said, I’m sure you’re doing just fine, because you think on good things.
The funny thing about the non-gmo food thing and eating healthier and making better choices is… IT IS TIME CONSUMING! A normal trip to the grocery store now takes 3x as long because I am reading labels constantly and trying to make good decisions. I have been on the path to better consumption for a while and it is a job in itself. It started with my dog getting cancer and switching his diet and then reading about all the toxicity around everyday life… and it has rubbed off onto everything I do and consume.
So don’t feel the least bit guilty about taking your time with your book… it will come when it is ready and in the meantime you are getting yourself ready for it by taking your health into your own hands. Good for you!
Thanks! The food thing is finally getting a bit easier now that I’ve stopped focusing on EVERYTHING and concentrated my attention on purchasing as much non-packaged, organic foods as I can. However, now I am spending a lot more time cooking. 😉
That is the fun creative part. I hate grocery shopping and here in Florida I have to make the rounds of three different ones to get what I need… Farmer’s Market (suspect too… some stuff is the same as any chain grocery), Whole Foods (or Whole Wallet as I like to call it) and a regular old chain. I love to cook though so it is worth the effort…