Being thin is not the same thing as being healthy.
It is rather obvious but it’s taken me years to realize this. I’ll admit to you that when Brendan and I were first married, I would sometimes (ok, lots of times) have a bowl of ice cream for dinner but somehow managed to keep my weight in check!
Brendan says the Andersons (that’s my family of course) all have a worm that allows us to eat whatever we want and not gain weight. (Except when I’m pregnant of course and then I balloon up!)
What has also taken me years to realize is the healthy, natural, and at-times organic (gasp!) way of life that my parents lived by and subjected my brother and I to was one of the reasons that my metabolism works well. That, and I was very active as a child and teenager as well. Again, this was something my parents really encouraged. I remember one time in high school discussing food with my friends and I was telling them how my Dad used to bring home a small one-serving cheesecake for me every now and then when I was a kid. They looked at me and laughed and told me I must have been a chubby child. I laughed back and said, “No, I was active.” It was actually a running joke for quite awhile.
So, now I look back at my childhood, and at the time I thought I was deprived because we didn’t go out to eat often not because we couldn’t but because it just wasn’t what my parents chose to do. My mom made pasta/real cheese for our Mac and Cheese lunches and we loved it; we were offered healthy snacks such as apples and maple syrup (very yummy). My BFF can attest to the fact that carrot sticks were staples in the Anderson refrigerator. My parents bought local from fish markets, veggies and fruits from farm stands in town, and often shopped at the natural food store. They still do all of the things. Oh, and my Dad refuses to eat beef, but I think this is from his fear of contracting Mad Cow Disease rather than an aversion to the stuff. That is one of his conspiracy theories that are a story for another day. (Don't get me wrong here- making cookies with my Mom is still one of my loveliest memories and trips down to the "little store" for candy with my friends was a frequentoccurance , so I did get my share of sugar.)
So, as I get older I realize the choices my parents made were of course the right ones (when it came food anyway…ha-ha), and I have to start thinking of my own health as I chug along into my 30s. Most importantly I have the responsibility to provide healthy options for my children to give them the same good start my parents gave me.
I had the opportunity today to attend a Lunch and Learn seminar at work, “Preventing Degenerative Disease through Nutrition”. A physician from a Boston area hospital gave the presentation. Do you know that 72% of deaths in 2006 in America were from such chronic conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer? Do you also know that 90% of these cases were preventable? Additionally, children born 2000 or later have a 1 in 3 chance of developing Type II diabetes, that is to say, diabetes caused by lifestyle habits.
Also another piece of information I found interesting, during WW2, the US produced a product called NPK which was used to build bombs. After the war ended scientists found a way to use this product as a fertilizer and it depleted the earth of essential nutrients such as selenium, copper, and others- which we would normally have on our food and which we need in our body for cellular growth and support. This is just one reason he stressed the importance of eating organic local food. There are other reasons of course. For Brendan and I, sometimes we choose to eat organic and sometimes not. More often, we are just trying to eat healthy.
I took like 4 pages of notes as he was talking and maybe I’ll write more about it later. The bottom line is that our bodies are designed for health but are blind to degenerative disease. Meaning, there are no warning signs. We cannot "feel" these symptoms. We can do our part by avoiding disease by being fit and eating healthy, getting rest, and reducing our stress. Since the beginning of the year, I’ve tried to take steps to increase the healthy eating habits in our family; as the weather turns warmer we are turning to increasing our activity levels (mine and Brendan’s, Cole doesn’t have a problem with this!).
I want to be one of those women that are active and loving life at 90 and I’m going to do everything I can to ensure that! Thanks Mom and Dad for setting me on the right path!