Tuesday, October 15, 2013

I Want To Live

I haven’t ridden my horse in three months. 

Not since the heart attack. 

Those of you who know me know that this is not good.  It must mean something is seriously out of whack with my life.  Yes, I have been busy with many things.  But the main reason I have not found the time to fit in a ride is that I’ve been cooking instead.  And washing dishes.  And researching nutrition.  And looking up new recipes.  And washing dishes.  And cooking.  And washing dishes. 

I’ve never enjoyed cooking.  I definitely hate washing dishes.  (I have no automatic dishwasher.) I’ve thought a few times, while washing and cooking, about being resentful or even just irritated about having to suddenly do so much of something I don’t enjoy.  I’ve definitely thought about that a few times over the last three rideless months. 

The truth is that eating healthy takes time.  Eating healthy generates a LOT of dishes.  Eating healthy is neither easy nor convenient.  I love convenient.  I love easy.  Eating healthy food is annoying to say the least.
Really, who has the time to eat healthy anymore anyway?  Life is so busy!  We’ve got appointments and meetings.  Church, school and work.  Chores, clubs, exercise and hobbies.  It’s so much easier to drive through, grab and go.  So much more convenient to open a can, box, bottle or the freezer.  Who has the time to wash, peel, cut, chop, grill, roast, bake, sauté, blend and puree?  Three times a day?  Every.  Single.  Day!?  Who even wants to do that?

Definitely not me.

Eating out is fun!  I think it is my second favorite activity next to riding!  Can’t do that anymore either.  Well, not very often.  Turns out, most restaurant food is not healthy.  Drats.

So, this need to eat healthy is ruining my life…….

Or is it?

Maybe things were out of whack before the heart attack. 

Since my husband’s heart attack, I’ve learned a few things. 

I’ve learned that nearly all the food that comes out of a box, bottle or can is not only not good for you, but actually harmful to your body. 

I’ve learned that fresh whole food made by God and the earth is not only good for you, but can actually heal your body, prevent disease, and enable you to live longer.

I’ve learned that there are few short cuts when eating fresh, whole, unprocessed, good-for-you food.

I’ve learned that heart disease, and many other diseases are almost 100% preventable through diet and exercise. 

I've learned that you can’t trust the government or the media, or even your doctors to tell you what food is and is not healthy.  You must do the research for yourself.  You will be shocked when you learn the truth about food.

I've learned that our modern American culture and lifestyle is killing us. 

I've learned that most people have an attitude of complacency and denial about nutrition and health. 

I've learned that having the right priorities can be a matter of life and death. 

I've learned that for 29 years, as a wife and mother, I did NOT have the right priorities. 

Above and beyond any other responsibilities I may have here on earth, it is first, my job to take care of my family.  One of the most important aspects of caring for them is feeding them.  It is my responsibility to feed them healthy food that nourishes their bodies.  Convenient and easy have nothing to do with it.  For way, way too long, nutrition was not a priority in my mind or life.

No more. 

Sadly, I don’t get a redo.  I can’t go back in time and feed my family healthy food or prevent my husband’s heart attack and take the stents out of his body.  It is too late for me to feed my older three kids properly.  They no longer live with me.  It is too late to feed my husband food that does not cause inflammation in his body leading to plaque buildup in his arteries.  The plaque is there. 

Don’t get me wrong.  It’s not like we ate nothing but junk for 29 years.  We ate vegetables.  We bought what we thought were healthier options. We tried to limit the “bad” stuff.   I tried.  I think my family would agree that we ate “better” than most of the people in our social circles.  But unfortunately, it turns out that most of those “healthier” or "better" foods were actually not either. It turns out that just eating some good food is not enough.  You have to keep foods that damage your body out of your body! And like I said before, and could never repeat too many times, you can’t trust the government, the media or even your doctors to tell you what those foods are.  They have motives other than your health.  You have to do the research for yourself. 

I’ve turned over a new leaf.

I’ve reset my priorities. 

Some things on my personal agenda will have to be set aside.  We may not make that 4H meeting next week.  Claireanna may have to quit a club or skip an activity.  I may not even be able to keep as many animals as I’d like anymore.  Sure, I’ll ride my horses, but I may not be able to ride as often as I’d like.  Or keep the house as clean as I used to.  (There’s a little comic relief for you, kids!)  Our other goals for the future may have to change. 

We are slowing down. 

And realizing, deep down in our gut, (and in our hearts!)  that our modern culture and lifestyle really is killing us.

And it’s up to us to reject it.

The fact is that if life is just too busy and nobody has the time to actually take care of their bodies anymore, then something really is out of whack.

So here is my challenge to you.  Learn from my mistakes.  Maybe it’s not too late for you to prevent plaque in your arteries or in those of someone you love.  It’s definitely not too late for you to realize that we should all consider our health to be a top priority.  We should all know that good nutrition is the only way to a truly healthy body.  (Good nutrition is much more important to your health than exercise.) Stop and question whether you are letting the pressures of our modern life and culture knock your priorities out of whack.  What good is all the rest of it if you lose your heath or the health of someone you love in a way that could have been prevented? What good is a spotless house today (or whatever you spend your time on), if your productivity and quality of life is diminished tomorrow by disability or death?

What good is all the rest if you lose the love of your life way too soon in a way that could have been prevented? 

So dishes I will do.  And shopping and planning and chopping and cooking and all of it.  And no resentment or irritations will be found.  

Because I want to live.

And I want my family to live.

And because I would rather have one extra day on this earth with Ted Harmon than a clean house, or a perfect image, or the envy of my neighbors, or a hundred thousand rides on a horse. 

Romans 12: 1-2
I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.  Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.