It’s What You’re Not Eating That Counts

Good morning! I hope your day is starting off nicely.

By this weekend, most of the nation will be once again open for business. Of course, “open” doesn’t mean what it did a few months ago, and there will be varying levels of engagement for the time being. Like, instead of sitting on top of one another waiting for a table at the restaurant, you have to wait in your car. At least McDonalds has a drive-thru.

Most people appreciate the fact that they’re able to get back to some semblance of a normal lifestyle. You know, working, shopping, getting a haircut, and lining up at customer service to complain because the store is out of Cheetos. I’m kidding. They have plenty of Cheetos. They even have paper towels to clean your hands after you eat them. But now they’re out of meat.

I read an article a few days ago about food shortages and rising meat prices, and the health benefits of cutting back on the meat. Especially red meat. They don’t like that one much at all. Naturally, that’s the one I like best. Why did broccoli have to be so healthy? I think it was God’s way of keeping us from eating too much. Boy, we tricked him on that one.

But, as I read the article, I realized I could probably get by with a lot less meat in my diet. I can say that now, because we have health insurance again and if my wife has a stroke reading this, we’re covered. Yes, I love meat. To me, a meal without meat is like a bathroom without toilet paper. Sure, it’ll fill your basic biological needs. But you certainly wouldn’t look forward to it.

That said, my tastes have changed over the years. I like a good steak, but I prefer seafood. In fact, the last several times we went to a steak house, I ordered salmon. I like chicken, but I prefer small slices in a hearty salad. And if I had to go a whole year without eating pizza, I don’t think I’d miss it. But I love fried Spam. Still, that’s not technically meat. I’m not sure what it is.

Tastes are a part of our culture. We generally tend to crave the foods we ate as children, no matter what they were. And, depending on where you were born, those foods may be very different. I see people in documentaries grinning from ear to ear as they eat fried cockroaches. That’s one way to lose weight. Not by eating them … by watching someone else do it.

That said, I think I may be ready to make some changes. In many cultures, meat is more of a garnish than a main course. Seafood is a big part of the diet, and so are fruits, vegetables, and those things they call “legumes.” I’m not sure what they are, but it doesn’t sound very appetizing. Maybe if they came up with a better name, like bourbon-glazed steak beans.

I’ve always appreciated a good salad, but my wife complains about the way I make mine. I like all the goodies – fresh spinach, romaine lettuce, blueberries, dried cranberries, eggs, meat, cheese, nuts, and loads of bleu cheese dressing. Yes, I know how much cholesterol is in that. It’s still a lot healthier than a Big Mac. Besides, that’s not technically meat, either.

But, as the article pointed out, when we reduce our intake of meat, we need to replace those nutrients somehow. As bad as meat can be for your heart, it’s also one of the best sources of vital nutrients. Iron and protein are at the top of the list, followed closely by vitamin B12. All three are important, especially if you like being able to get out of bed and function.

And, wouldn’t you know, vitamin B12 is only available through animal sources. Well, that and “fortified” breakfast cereal. So, if you just replace your steak with Cheerios, you’re good to go. Otherwise, it may be time to supplement. Besides, Cheerios don’t go well with a baked potato and sautéed mushrooms. I’m just saying.

I’ve been taking plant-based vitamins for several years. When you get to this age, you think about all those poor choices over the years and start looking for ways to ward off the evil spirits. I never really thought I’d make it to retirement. Now that I’m this close, I’d kinda like to enjoy it. And being sick all the time isn’t my idea of fun.

We all love certain foods, whether they’re good for us or not. And most of us will live to a ripe old age, regardless of the foods we eat. But aging and living aren’t the same. Living means to enjoy an active, vibrant, and healthy life. And that all begins with nutrition. Give your body what it needs, and it’ll return the favor. Besides, you’re gonna be with it the rest of your life.

That’s all for now. Have an awesome day!

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Good Health Doesn’t Just Happen – You Have To Want It

Good morning! I hope your day is off to a nice start.

For the first day in a week, I woke up relatively free of back pain. That’s “relatively” in the sense that my first car was relatively free of dents. You know, after I hit the open tailgate of a parked pickup truck. Most of the car was fine, but that one headlight pointed to the stars. It didn’t hurt the truck a bit. Naturally.

I’ve got a condition doctors refer to as degenerative disc disease. I don’t think it’s a disease as much as the fact that the discs in my lower back are trashed. And every now and then one slips to the side enough to let my spine sit directly on a nerve. They say the Latin term is hurtus alotus maximus. I’m not so sure about that, but I do have some pretty juicy French terms for it.

I’m told it’s just part of aging. You know, in the sense that I packed on a bunch of extra weight and it’s been sitting on my spine for the better part of thirty years. It’s like driving around with sacks of concrete in the trunk of your car. Sooner or later, you’re gonna wear out the tires. Come to think of it, I need to check them. They’ve been carrying this weight a while, too.

Lose some weight, you say? Well, thanks! Why didn’t I think of that? I’ll just get right on it. By this time next week I should be in good shape. Maybe after that I’ll go run a marathon. Oh, how I wish it were that easy. Not the marathon. I don’t run unless somebody is chasing me with a snake. Then I could outrun Jesse Owens. Only until I find a stick big enough to knock them out.

Extra body weight is a problem in this country, and in most of the world. If you don’t believe me, take a look around. Just don’t stare. Fat people don’t like that, especially if you’re skinny. If you’re fat, too, they just think you’re flirting. And fat people don’t like that. Okay, we do. We just don’t say it out loud.

The problem with body weight is that it builds slowly, giving us time to adjust. We barely notice when we need pants that are one size larger. We just blame it on the brand. “These pants must run a little small.” No, your butt runs a little big. We can say it. You’d think by the time we’re six sizes larger we’d get the hint. But no. Even then it’s only one size larger than before.

The same thing happens with our general health. We don’t really notice when we find ourselves running a little slower or waking up more tired each day. “It’s just a normal part of aging.” Well, maybe. But I think we accept that excuse a little too easily. We compare ourselves to people who are much older and decide this is normal. “We’re all headed that way.”

Well, sure. We are all headed that way. But that doesn’t mean we have to accept it without a fight. Losing weight is harder as we get older. The same is true of maintaining our health. The difference is, one comes from how much we eat and the other comes from how much we don’t eat. Sure, the gas tank is full. But if it’s full of sugar, you won’t be going very far.

Doctors tell us to eat a balanced diet with all the right nutrients. Well, guess what? In order to get all the nutrients your body needs, you’d have to eat several pounds of the right foods every day. And that’s if you could even find those foods. Most of what we can buy in the supermarket is seriously lacking in nutrients. Even fresh produce. Ever heard of soil depletion?

That’s not to say we can’t make better choices, but even a strict vegetarian has vitamin deficiencies. On the other hand, vegetarians are more likely to use supplements, because they’ve done the research and they know. As a result, most of them stay reasonably healthy later in life than the rest of us.

Our bodies were designed to convert nutrients from a broad variety of foods into the chemicals we need to thrive. Not survive – thrive. And the longer we cheat ourselves of those nutrients, the sooner we’ll feel the effects of age. Meanwhile, we’ll probably get some bigger pants to go along with it. Kinda like that hidden surprise in your cereal.

It’s all about choices, compounded over time. And right now, I can imagine there are a lot of people wishing they’d done a little more to maintain good health. There is no vitamin or supplement that’ll keep you from getting sick. But starting off healthy can make a world of difference in your recovery.

We can’t lose weight overnight, and we can’t get healthy in a day. Choices compounded over time. The sooner we start making the right choices, the longer we’ll be able to enjoy a reasonably healthy life.

That’s all for now. Have an awesome day!

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved