Saturday, May 9, 2015

Merging "Eating to Live with Living to Eat"

Nearly every day I have clients coming into my office saying that they want to eat "healthier".  They may be struggling with an eating disorder, high cholesterol, weight issues or diabetes.  I ask them "why?" As you might guess, I get a variety of answers.  Everything from "to live longer" to "weight loss".  Pursuit of health and fitness is an admirable and worthwhile endeavor.  Some, however, chase those goals with such a vengeance that they lose out on quality of life.  I really believe you find peace in the middle ground when you merge the two seemingly incompatible concepts of "eating to live and living to eat". Kind of fits with my favorite oxymoron of "structured-flexibility".

For all of the emphasis on healthy eating, exercise and weight management that we have heard touted over the last several decades, did you know our life expectancy is only a few years longer than it was in the 1970s?  Most of that is due to a decrease in infant mortality.  We ate Cheetos, drank real cokes and ate more fat and less fiber back then.  I grew up with a canister of bacon grease on my parent's stove and that lard was added to nearly everything.  My parents still lived to be 77 years old (dad) and 81 years old (mom).  Despite the increase in official dieting and dietary restriction in general, obesity rates are higher now than 40 years ago.

The idea for this blog came from an article by southern author, Rick Bragg.  His elderly mother requested genuine lard for her birthday.  Throughout the years he purchased big screen TVs for her that she never watched, new washing machines that she disdained ... so he just asked her what she really wanted.  Lard.  Good old pork fat.  His comment was: "Grease is good.  It has shortened many lives, probably my own, but is a life of rice cakes really life, or just passing time?"  Then I recalled the quote, "Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away."  It is perfectly normal to look forward to visiting a phenomenal restaurant on your vacation.  It just doesn't need to be the only thing about the vacation you are focused on.  Sometimes there will be meals that you consume as mere fuel for your body.  You are hungry and you eat what is available.  That is merging the concepts mentioned in the title of this blog.  Life is short.  Food and eating is a part of enjoying life.  Eat with thoughtfulness and not obsession.  Make peace.

This blog is written by a woman who 39 years ago did not share the eating of her wedding cake with her husband.  I was trying to be "healthy".  That moment in time is gone and will never be again.