“If you haven’t got your health, then haven’t got anything.” ~Count Rugen

Who remembers that quote from the pit of despair? Extra points if the memory flashed through your mind just from reading the quote.

WARNING: philosophical post with no gratuitous food photos

TIP: skip to the end for book links if you don’t want to read my blathering

A good friend from work has guilted me into getting a physical now that I’m in the 5th decade of my life. I rarely go to the doctor because I am rarely sick. This point was made clear when the office staff didn’t even have me in their system even though I have considered this doctor my primary care physician for over 15 years. I agreed to the physical per the logic that a good early baseline will aid in monitoring and early detection later in life. I didn’t get admitted to the hospital on site, so that was good. Next week will be the labs for all the blood tests: CBC/Diff to check red and white blood cells, metabolic panel for liver and kidney function, lipid panel for cholesterol, and urinalysis to check the other end of the kidney function. I also asked to add the C-Reactive Protein (CRP) test out of curiosity (more on that in a moment). So, we shall see…

In the mean time, I shall reflect on my food projects, exercise and reading over the last few years.

“Food for thought” statements for your consideration:

“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” ~Hippocrates

“Natural forces within us are the true healers of disease.” ~Hippocrates

Living food is good & dead food is bad. Do you know what living food is? Do you eat any? some? lots?

Fiber is good for you…unless it is bad for you. Who are you feeding with it?  Healthy gut bacteria or unhealthy gut bacteria? It all starts here. If you don’t ask and answer and understand this, then all of your health, diet and exercise efforts are akin to shooting in the dark. You might or might not hit the mark, but you certainly won’t be aiming. Read up and ferment something while you are at it.

Meat and fat are good for you. If you think they are bad for your heart, consider this… your heart doesn’t pump blood into your tissue so much as your movement pulls blood out of the main pipes and into your tissue. Which is better for you: movement or exercise? What’s the difference? or better yet, how long is the difference?

Dairy is bad for you. Or so they say. What if living (aka raw milk) has all the enzymes and healthy bacteria to be a balanced food? What if it is naturally fermented without chemicals and sweeteners (homemade cheese & yogurt)?

Gluten is evil. Yes, for an unhealthy gut, it very much is. Go back to the “healthy gut bacteria” paragraph and fix that first. And then ferment your grains and make homemade sourdough bread. And dip it in olive oil and balsamic vinegar which help the body regulate carbohydrate digestion. I like these examples of traditional food culture habits that are supportive of our health and are older than our scientific understanding of the why. I enjoy pasta. It goes well with fat and protein in a healthy portion. And a glass of wine. My healthy gut likes it and so do I.

Eat salad. Eat vegetables. Be a vegetarian. Be a vegan. Hug a tree. All that plant matter is good for you… after you get your gut ready for it. In the mean time ferment some of it, cook some of it, and eat some of it raw – with oil and vinegar.

Exercise. Movement. What is the difference? My simple answer… exercise is short duration, high intensity, specific (repetitive) activity. Movement is long duration, low intensity, varied activity. A two mile run on the beach in 20 minutes in exercise. Shell collecting on the beach for 4 hours is movement full of barefoot walking and squatting. A 30 minute trail ride on a bike is exercise. A 2 hour walk through the woods picking and eating wild black raspberries and taking pictures is movement. Movement is good for you. Exercise can be good for you. Variability drives overall health and specificity (repetitive exercise) drives specific adaptations for that activity leaving relative weakness in unused areas. Know anybody that can run an 18-minute 5K that threw out their back moving furniture? How could that happen?

Are you still here? Are you still reading this long blog post? I’m impressed.

My paradoxical questions… Why am I still overweight? My BMI the past few years has hovered around 29-31 straddling the line between overweight and obese. Really?! I’m obese? Yikes. Well, I can take my pulse by leaning over to tie my shoes and compress my guts with my belly and feeling my pulse pound in my head. Yep, I’m obese. Why do I have old man aches and pains (neck and shoulders… back and hips…)? My body has adapted to it’s overwhelming majority of time wearing heeled shoes, sitting at a desk on a computer or in a car driving. Ankles that don’t flex, hips that don’t extend, shoulders that don’t hold the rib cage up.

My plan… get a physical and benchmark my health per the doctor. Move more while still exercising because I enjoy it. I’ll swim in a masters swim meet or two. I’ll run in a 5K or two. I’ll walk and jog the trails in Winona (especially during raspberry season). I’ll stretch and do yoga – especially at work (I’m lucky to have an office with a door so I won’t get made fun of for stretching). I’ll ferment lots of food. I’ll turn the food pyramid upside down and eat more meat and fat than carbs. I’ll eat lots of veggies and fresh fruit. And I’ll pour my heart and soul into my cooking and eating as I always have.

It will be a journey, not a 2016 1-year dash. I hope to straddle the line between healthy and overweight (around the 200-pound mark for me) instead of the line between overweight and obese. I hope to be able to move any way I like without aches and pains (breaking the adaptation to sitting with my arms out in front and resetting to “normal”). One grandfather lived to 84 and the other to 93. I like the sound of that.


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