Three Steps To Good Health
I sat late one evening under the bright spread of a large white tent, glowing Japanese lanterns and well aimed spot lights made the atmosphere magical. The music flowed and everyone was festive and happy. Mounds of food were piled at each corner of the tent.
Doggone it, I thought as I eyed the sumptuous feast. Chocolate truffles, small cakes, pies, and finger sandwiches of all kinds surround mountains of deep-fried goodies- heart attacks on a plate-which beckoned to me with their aromas. I wish I could say I stood strong, but the heartburn I suffered that night was as unforgettable as the food. What price is worth the temporary happiness death on a stick affords?
As I have struggled, having decided that healthful living far outweighs the consequence of indulged appetite, with my attempts at temperance, I have come up with 3 steps—I suppose I should insert the word easy before steps except that is not always true—to follow toward the new healthy you.
The benefits of health are really never appreciated until you've lost them. No one dreams as a kid of "Strolling" down Main Street in a brand new bright cherry-red, fully automated, electric wheelchair pimped out with oxygen tank and that special transparent hose running from your nose to God knows where while wearing those cushy hospital slippers, portable heart monitor, and that flashy help-I've-fallen-and-I-can't-get-up, one of a kind, push button pendant.
On your emancipated limb dangles that beautiful, golden, medical bracelet that is set off so wonderfully by your thin, pale-blue skin and purple blood vessels and in your right hand is clutched the ever-present Dixie cup in the light blue floral pattern into which, after your body is racked with coughing and hacking spasms, you quietly deposit substances that horrified strangers can only guess at.
The sad part is that sometimes this scenario is unavoidable, and no fault of the sufferer's, but it is also entirely possible by your choices to end up somewhere along the continuum toward such a condition.
My Health History
Because of such nightmarish visions, and growing up in a community which emphasized healthful living almost to the extremes of religious fervor, I have studied health-related topics all my life.
It can be very confusing sometimes and greatly dismaying to the "baser passions" that love the pleasure of indulgence and it isn't really central to the thinking of the young, whose bodies can absorb all types of brutal culinary torture and spring back like a willow sapling.
But as the Good Book says, "Time and chance happens to all ..." It is particularly the time part that brings health into sharp focus and places it as one of our central concerns. Once the old body begins to surrender to our hedonistic appetites, and gluttonous delights, and startles us with unpleasant consequences—gadzooks, what is wrong with my stomach, I only ate 17 pieces of pizza—that suddenly our subscription to Vibrant Life begins to show up dog's-eared, smudged and well read.
As I moved from the study-because-you-have-to phase on the topic of health into the help-what-is-going-on approach, I have condensed everything I've learned into three principles which I call My Three Steps To Health.
They deal with the the three most important ingredients to health, food, exercise and the mind. They are designed as an easy guide to health without all of the formulas or tables that generally scare us right back to our Big Macs.
Eat the food that is as close to its natural state as possible. The closer your food is to its raw, freshly picked, origins the better it is for you. I draw the line with meat and dairy products—I don't want mooing coming from my burger; however, I will choose a garden or veggie burger over a meat one if possible. Now I don't expect you to go out and start rooting around in someone's garden, trying to explain your health principles to them with dirty, radish breath.
There are several stages between right-out-of-the-earth and vegetable puree. Think of the steps and move toward the natural as much as a you're comfortable. Perhaps you could have your onions sautéed rather than deep fried in beer batter—OK, those of you that are smirking you can get your minds out of the gutter, because were talking vegetables here.
You could have your broccoli steamed with a bit of cheese melted over it rather than just a bit of broccli lost in a cheese sea. You get the idea.
Think creatively and experiment. If you're like me overtime you learn to like foods prepared in ways that you're not use to and does much more for your health. Just keep these things in mind. With carbohydrates always eat complex ones like brown rice and whole wheat and avoid simple ones such as refined white sugar and white flower. With proteins eat as many plant based ones such as beans and legumes rather than animal based ones such as a Quarter Pounder—think of that wheelchair! If you are eating meat avoid the red and eat the white. As far as what to drink, make it as close to water as your will power will allow you.
Exercise—groan—should be something we enjoy and want to do. The trick is to find that thing and not attempt an exercise program that bores the snot out of you. An hour on a treadmill watching Lou Dobbs is enough to send us straight to our cherry, red wheelchair—no offense to Lou; I am sure without the treadmill you are delightful.
After much searching I have found two things I love to do, golf and racquetball. The former I do without a cart and it helps with my weight control and the latter gets my cardiovascular system all in a lather.
There are many options such as walking, jogging, swimming and such. Just keep searching until you find it. By the way, most good exercise does not involve buying truckloads of useless gadgets from very fit looking celebrities, or spending copious amounts of time lying on your living room carpet with your neck strained backwards trying to view the latest exercise moves that your video host is demonstrating—By the way, someone should tell these hosts not to tell jokes or make witty comments; hearing them for the twenty-third time makes me reach for the Twinkies. It does involve something that you find enjoyable and recreational.
Many studies have found that stress is can impact our health more than nutrition or exercise. So all of your grunting and sweating, you're choking down of raw vegetables may be brought to naught by the stress. That is why a healthy mind is important to your well being. In a nut shell—no pun intended—I find the most success in spirituality.
There's something about the universal moral values and consistency found in spiritual pursuits that brings peace of mind. I started my pursuit by studying established major religions because I didn't want to end up in some eastern Oregon cult standing in airports and handing out daisies—my apologies to those who find peace of mind doing this.
I personally believe that Truth with a capital T in its principles is absolute, even though we mere mortals only have a relative knowledge of it, and the pursuit of that Truth will reward us in ever increasing abundance with a greater and greater peace of mind. So those are my three steps to better health and now I must go, like St. George, and slay the doughnut.