You Are What You Eat (Mouths Wide Shut)

It’s literally true – you are what you eat.  It’s a shame that so much of what we eat is garbage.

This is an area of great fascination to me.  Eating healthy isn’t very difficult to understand, although it can be difficult to carry out.  Here’s how to eat healthy, from the words of Michael Pollan – “Eat food.  Not too much.  Mostly plants.”

That’s it.  That’s all there is.

“Eat food” is the part that’s a little tricky.  This is not delivery pizza, ramen noodles, or marshmallow fluff.  Food is just that – food.  If you leave a McDonalds vanilla shake outside, nothing will eat it – not bugs nor birds (although your dog might try it).  If nothing in nature will eat it, you shouldn’t either.  If you read the ingredients list and there’s something on there you cannot pronounce or that requires a scientist to explain, it’s not food, don’t eat it.  If it should spoil or rot and never does, it’s not food, don’t eat it.

It’s sad to me that in America there are so many choices, yet so many of them are bad.  Walking through the grocery store is like walking through a minefield for me these days.  I do try to live this way, and it is a lot more complicated than it was back when I just threw whatever I wanted into my cart.  Now I’m the person reading the labels on the back of every jar of barbecue sauce, trying to find one that doesn’t have an ingredient list with high fructose corn syrup or five different preservatives in it.

Is this difficult?  Compared to not doing it, yes, especially in our “hurry up” society.  Are there benefits?  Yes, a lot of them.  You’ll feel better, get sick less often, look better (really!), and research indicates you’ll have lower risk of cancers and other types of disease.  And those are just the selfish reasons.  A whole food plant-based diet is better for the planet, too, using less water and promoting less greenhouse gas production that a processed food or meat-heavy diet.

If you’re like me and want a little more detail, I strongly suggest reading The China Study.  This book should be required reading for everyone, in my opinion.  Every high school should have their students studying this book. Other good books on this topic: Whole, the sequel to The China Study, The Food Revolution, and In Defense of Food.

 

Thanks again to The Daily Post for the prompt.

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Spoiled (No Excess)

“Perhaps too much of everything is as bad as too little.” – Edna Ferber

Or perhaps too much of anything is bad, period.  Too much food, too much comfort, too much adoration, too much money…the list is basically endless.  Moderation has always been the goal.  But I think most people know that.  The real trick is living it.

I’m just as guilty as any other American – I want to eat what I want when I want.  I want to live where I want and be safe there.  I want to be appreciated and accepted by people.  I want to have enough money to do the things I want to do and buy the things I want to buy.  Reality imposes limits on all of those things, but I still believe that American culture is, by and large, spoiled.

I have a good friend who takes mission trips to Haiti, and she calls fashion faux pas or complaints about the type of food available “First-World problems.”  We work together, and a large part of our job involves helping people get health insurance coverage.  Part of this job involves getting yelled at a lot.  After getting chewed out one day, she told me a story about a man in Haiti.

The man was working in a field harvesting.  While working, he cut his leg – badly.  He was bleeding, but the nearest medical treatment was about six miles away.  So he bandaged his leg up as well as he could and proceeded to hobble six miles to the medical center.  He then waited for an hour before he could be seen, because so many other people were there needing help too.  Finally, one of the volunteers at the center cleaned up his leg, stitched it up, and gave him eight Tylenol for the pain.  He then hobbled six miles back, because he had to work the next day or his family wouldn’t be able to eat.

It’s become an endless refrain, to the point where is doesn’t seem to mean anything, but it’s still true – we are so spoiled.  We have too much of everything, and so many others have next to nothing.

 

Thanks, as usual, to The Daily Post for the prompt.

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Care Enough to Criticize (Handle with Care)

I work in a profession which requires me to daily review and critique my colleague’s work for a variety of reasons.  My coworkers review my work as well.  Since I deal with this issue every single day, I’ve had to consider how I handle both the giving and receiving of criticism.  I had people put on kid gloves, I’ve had people tell it like it is, and I’ve had people who take a sort of sick pleasure in finding mistakes.  All in all, I prefer that people be honest.

I think one of the big issues we have today is that we are all so obsessed with appearances and being liked.  No one really likes being criticized, but that’s how we grow.  You aren’t going to improve much if you can’t accept a critique, and if you’re unwilling to critique someone they won’t be able to grow. Caring about people requires a certain level of honest criticism, and when presented correctly and with kindness, honest criticism can be the best thing you can give another person.

Tell it like you see it, but be willing to be wrong yourself.  Be honest while being respectful.  Care about the other person or the team enough to say what needs to be said, to collaborate, and to grow.  Just remember that you’re both human and one day you’ll make a mistake, too.  The Golden Rule applies – treat them the way you want them to treat you when that day comes.

Maybe the world would be a better place if we all cared about each other enough to provide honest, caring criticism, and we were all open enough to accept such criticisms.

 

Thanks again to The Daily Post for the prompt.

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Winter’s Prequel (Autumn Leaves)

I love autumn, actually.  The weather’s cooler but not cold so you can still have the windows open.  The farmer’s market is full of fresh food including a few favorites, like apples and pumpkin.  School is back in session, so I can go to the mall without running into a thousand rampaging children at any hour of the day.  Activities like bible study and small group meetings are back in swing.

What I really don’t like about autumn is what it heralds.  My 60-hour work weeks will begin soon.  All my lovely outdoor plants will either die off or have to come inside within the next month or so.  But worst of all, autumn is the herald of winter.  If winter this year is anything like winter last year, I’m going to cry.

So if we could go from fall to spring this year, I would appreciate it.

 

Thanks again to “The Daily Post” for the writing prompt.

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I Talk Too Much (Brevity Pulls)

There’s a lot to be said for keeping it brief.  It’s a shame that’s never been my style.  Get me taking about something I’m passionate about, and I’ll talk your ear off until you beg me to stop.  And then I may keep going for another few minutes anyway, just to tie up the last bits.  It’s the way I am.  The less I say, the less I care.

My family would attest to this unfortunate truth.  As a fan of a fair amount of sci-fi and fantasy books and video games, I tend to blather on about the most recent Zombies, Run mission or how excited I am about the next Dragon Age game.  Get me going about food, and I’ll discuss the dangers of the current farming system and the benefits of a plant-based diet until I’m blue in the face.  Get me talking about my job and not only will I bore you to tears, but I’ll also drive you crazy with my repetitive complaints.

Brevity is a good thing most of the time, and I’m working on it.  More words equal more words, not more worth.  Saying something more times doesn’t make it more true.  Being clear, concise, and true to the point is often the single best way to get a point across.  Something else to work on, I suppose.  It’s always good to have yet another personal self-growth goal.

 

Thanks to “The Daily Post” for the prompt. 🙂

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