It’s mind boggling and mortifying. It seems so random and so unfair. In the past couple of weeks, different friends of mine have been dealing with the deaths of their loved ones to cancer. It’s sad to see anyone lose a battle against cancer, but it’s especially strange when it happens at such a prime age. We should be planning dinners and gatherings with our friends, not funerals. Is there anything we can do to protect ourselves and protect our families?
I googled the prevention of cancer, and the advice that came up sounded a little old wives tale’ish; eat a lot of garlic and blueberries, be active, don’t stress out, eat less sugar, eat a healthy diet, don’t smoke, use greener products, ditch your non stick cookware, don’t stand too close to a microwave while it’s on…..is there merit to any of these claims?
Who knows? The advice changes from expert to expert. Some say less protein, some say more…we are constantly bombarded with such conflicting information that it’s difficult to really know or understand what we should be doing or who we should be following. Who really knows how the choices we make today will affect our tomorrows? I don’t know what I believe anymore. But the question is, can I somehow mitigate my risks? Is it worth it to try and protect myself or is it a crapshoot?
Well, one thing for certain, we can’t rely on our bodies to always remain resilient and withstand the things we put it through. As we age, we can’t expect our bodies to bounce back, like it use to in our younger days. Turns out we’re not invincible.
Shortly after I started writing this blog, I thought I was resigning to the fact that I would never again be that same girl I was in my twenties or early thirties. I thought I was nostalgically and wistfully looking back at my prime “bounce back” days. Those easy recovery days from any ailment I inflicted upon myself; excessive partying, drinking, not sleeping enough or eating too much junk food. But today I realize that I don’t feel resigned, I feel glad to be here instead of there. I feel fortified and empowered by knowledge and self awareness. Instead of blindly living I feel justified in choosing more intentionally. What I thought was innocence back then was more of reckless ignorance. I would have assumed that being able to better see and understand the parameters of my health and physicality, (as opposed to living invincibly in every moment) would make me feel weaker, but I actually feel stronger. I’m glad age popped that bubble for me. It wasn’t until I put on weight that I started exploring and delving into my own health, and what started as a superficial look at weight and self image turned into a journey down health, wellness and wellbeing.
I’ve been reading a book, “It Starts with Food” by Dallas and Melissa Hartwig and it’s fantastic. It’s informative and very easy to read. It’s similar to Paleo principles but so much more reader friendly than I found the Paleo Diet. It basically talks about food and how it affects us psychologically, physiologically, hormonally, our immune systems and gut. It details the effects that bad foods have on our systems, and it’s eye opening! Bad foods aren’t just French fries and ice cream. It talks about the stop button that less nutritional foods lack which makes us overeat and the pathways this overeating creates in our brains which lead to food addictions. It details the way bad foods affect our hormonal levels and how they throw them out of whack. It’s very interesting how our bodies have been naturally and intricately designed to function, and how we throw all of these processes off by the processed food we eat. It especially highlights how we are naturally programmed to seek sweet, salty and fatty foods for survival, but how food manufacturers have perverted our sense of taste by exaggerating these flavors ten fold and how we’ve all fallen for it – THEY save money by making food that is cheap for them to make because it is so artificially produced and how WE spend so much of our own hard earned money ignorantly buying this crap and becoming their crack addicts, while THEY continue to profit. We become addicted to these foods while our bodies sooner or later begin to suffer the consequences – excessive hormonal imbalance? Leaky gut? We’re not invincible. We are being led a million miles away from the bodies we were designed to live in, and the health and wellness we were meant to have. There use to be a more natural order to life, our bodies and the environments we lived in. Things are so contrived nowadays though, that it’s hard to see past our “new normals”, I grew up with these manufactured goods, why would I have questioned them? But how do you weed through all this fake stuff and get back to the good stuff? How do we undo what has been done? In a way, I feel like I’ve been duped.
I was duped when I thought aspartame was a good substitute for sugar because it wouldn’t make me fat. I was duped when I smoked cigarettes without realizing the ridiculous addictive nature of them. I was duped when I use to constantly buy easy to make “just add water” dishes, or ate fast food on a daily basis…I was duped when I trusted the world around me and lived with a naïve taken for grantedness; assuming that people wouldn’t seek profit at the expense of my health and wellness. Until I took a bite of the apple and took a good look around….
I don’t know how to prevent cancer (knock on wood) or save the world from greedy food manufacturers, but I do know that I care about my body, deeper than how it looks. I care about how it feels and the way it functions. I want my vessel to be strong enough to house this strong me. I want the capacity to run good distances, think with clarity, sleep soundly and feel even keeled and in control day to day. That’s where I choose to start mitigating my risks. I may not be able to control the future, but intentionally choosing to stop taking my body for granted is something I can do in my present. Health is a privilege that we ought to cherish and maintain. Certain food manufacturers may not care, but I certainly do.