Monday, December 14, 2009

Cultivating a Healthy Life

Many of you know that my grandfather had triple bi-pass surgery a few weeks ago. Heart disease, obesity, and Alzheimer disease, among other health problems runs on both sides of my family. These are not things I want to ever deal with in my life, and I am determined to break the chains and create my own destiny. (I honestly believe that healthy living has the power to do this!)

I'm sure you have heard the saying, "You are what you eat". I really believe this is a statement of truth and that you can change your own health by dedicating yourself to major lifestyle changes. It's not something that is easy to adjust to (especially in the American culture.) but it is definitely worth the effort. Over the past few months my diet has changed drastically and I am continuing to make adjustments. Since arriving in New Zealand our access to fresh produce and organic food has been totally amazing. I am so grateful for this change. (Access to fresh fruits and vegetables in the remote areas of Alaska is virtually unheard of. - unless, of course, you have a green house in the few short summer months.)

The reason I bring up this topic is because of how different I feel. Today as I was walking home from the gym I was amazed by just how great I felt. It's hard to put into words, but my body feels "whole" In comparison to what I felt before. I do not know exactly what to attribute this to (Not sure if it's a certain food I have given up, or a combination of things), but I am here to say that eating healthy is definitely life changing.

I have been reading a lot of books lately on our toxic environment and cancer and health related issues. I am shocked, really, by the things that we willingly consume and surround ourselves with on a daily basis that we KNOW are killing us! How often do we eat something because it's so good in the here and now; but deep down we know that we will suffer from it later? I know I have done this many times in my past - never again! - For example, I am lactose sensitive and I KNOW that drinking milk, eating ice cream, eating a lot of cheesy food etc. is bad for me. I KNOW what it makes me feel like. Yet, somehow I eat it anyway - what is up with that? At what point do we wake up and realize that our long-term health is so much more important than our short-term pleasure?

After saying all of that, I also make note of the fact that once you kick the habit of something (which I have heard takes 40 consecutive days) you seriously do not crave it in the same way that you used to. I was so addicted to coffee that when I was in highschool I had a coffee pot in my room! No joke....I would drink tons of coffee all day long, every day! Kicking that habit was really hard, but gradually I did and I cannot tell you how much better I feel! The same thing goes for Dt. Coke - wow, what a difference this one made! - Giving up meat also helped me in turn to give up sugar. (When I eat meat it tends to trigger some kind of need for sugary desserts.) These are just a few examples. They were hard adjustments at first, but now I don't crave them or notice their absence at all.

These are just some observations that I have made in my own life this week. I am determined to carry these healthy lifestyle changes with me throughout my life and I hope that you will make some changes in your own diet as well. It will change your life forever! Cancer and disease are so prominent in our culture that it sometimes feels like people have given up the fight and are just willing to accept that it is just part of life - I am NOT willing to accept this for my future and I want to take whatever preventative measures that I can NOW. Hope you feel the same and will make the needed adjustments in your own lives. It's time we took responsibility for our own health and our future! No one can make these changes for us.



foodfitnessfreshair said...

I too believe "you are what you eat". And yes, eating healthy makes such a difference in how you feel! I went on a kick for awhile of drinking green smoothies every morning for breakfast, and it was great for my body. I try not to eat cheese too much, and I notice that every time I don't have it for awhile, I much less congested. I think it's good for everyone to cut back on cheese. Just make it a brie and crackers, one of my favorite occasional indulgences.

Travis and Teniah said...

Thanks for your comments, I agree and actually feel that way about all dairy. I think we eat way too much dairy in our diets based on our actual need for it. Not just dairy, but protein as well. Everything in moderation.