It kills me whenever I hear people say how the road to healthy living is just a few minor lifestyle changes away. They make it sound as though you’ll barely notice the hours spent at the grocery store, in the kitchen and at the gym, which name just a few of the time eaters that go into taking care of yourself.
Being healthy is not “quick and easy.” Not in this country anyway where nothing about our systems is set up for healthy living. Our culture of “5 Quick Steps,” and “3 Easy Ways,” does no one any good save for giving folks false expectations about what it really takes to nourish and sustain their bodies.
First, on the food front. When it comes to finding healthy food, I dare say we’ve entered a new age of hunting and gathering. Procuring food that is not likely to cause cancer and other illness is a full-time job. The food that is easy to find, accessible and affordable is laden with chemicals, pesticides, antibiotics, hormones and GMOs. Then, in the organic, raw and alternative space, you have to watch out for BPA lining in cans, PPO on almonds (even when they are sold as “raw”), carrageenan in coconut, soy and almond milks (and turkey slices!), and the list goes on and on and on. Even water has become a concern because municipalities have started adding chloramine (chlorine and ammonia) to their filtration systems. You have to be a veritable detective (and a damn good one) to get the truth behind the labels and then find products that aren’t sneaking harmful chemicals into (and onto) your body. When we learn that a chemical used in yoga mat rubber and sneakers is also found in our bread and noodles, it’s time to seriously question the food production in this country. It doesn’t matter how organic, raw, fresh, natural, safe or alternative they claim to be. When you hear of these types of practices, common sense says the majority of our food is no such thing.
Then, we have to contend with our medical system, which does everything but work with the body’s natural processes. Opting out of the prescription med frenzy is more tedious, laborious and time consuming a choice than putting a pill down your throat, for sure. But there is no way around it. Caring for and feeding your body means nourishing your body, and pills do no such thing. Nourishment is a daily practice wherein your body slowly and incrementally responds to getting what it requires. Add to that your body’s other needs. Exercise. Sex. Rest. Put in massage for your muscles, acupuncture for your energy, visits to the sauna to sweat out toxins, and you’re looking at a lot of time – time that no one talks about when “selling” better health.
I came to understand all this myself after becoming very sick a few years ago. Surgery and medication made me sicker. Food made me better. I had to learn a lot about what’s really in our food (and water and beauty products and household cleaners), in addition to how it is prepared and packaged. I also had to accept that my priorities would need to shift in order to make the necessary time available.
Today, my life is unrecognizable from what it was back when I told myself I was too busy to go to the grocery store and cook. I never ate poorly, mind you. But I did eat what was convenient. Restaurants. Microwaves. Packaged. Prepared. And processed.
My point is in no way to suggest that being healthy is too much work. But rather, it is to say that in today’s world, managing a healthy lifestyle is in no way convenient. What you have to decide for yourself is if your body and your health are worth the trouble.
Happy New Year Everyone!!
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