Between blogging, teaching, e-newsletters, shooting new tv shows, baking cookies for Christina’s Cookies, writing magazine articles, working out…and cooking and cleaning, I can barely think straight.
As I sat down to write this editorial, I was feeling completely stressed out and overwhelmed by what needed to be done. What would I write when all I wanted was to turn off my computer and sit in the garden in the sun?
And then it hit me.
Was I seriously stressing over missing a blog deadline? Was I freaking out over baking cookies, one of my favorite things? I took a deep breath and realized that I don’t split the atom every day. I teach cooking, help people discover a healthier way to live, bake cookies and manage my business with my husband, the love of my life. I have worked to assemble a great team of support around me and have the luxury of having my office in my house. Seriously? Stressed? It made me think about living more in the moment and appreciating the way I have structured my life and my work. For the most part, my husband and I live exactly as we choose: working hard, playing just as hard and surrounding ourselves with people we love in our life and business.
But it ain’t all roses in life as we know too well. I look around at the challenges we face collectively and realize that one of the reasons we struggle so much is that our food doesn’t serve the purpose of our lives. Instead it robs us of our health and vitality. Each and every day, advertising works to get us to buy, eat and compromise more…all in the name of profit.
I am incensed over how advertising is robbing America of its health and vitality. Look, I work in television, so I know the game, but seriously, if we don’t wake up and smell the toast…really soon…we’re headed for trouble we can’t even imagine. To allow these health-robbing pirates to steal your future is criminal. We are all entitled to live the life we choose…not the existence of illness and slavery to consumerism (yes, slavery…) they have planned for us.
We need to take care of our health instead of squandering it and then hoping and praying some procedure or pharmaceutical will give it back to us.
It’s high time that we grew up and let go of our childish obsessions with eating food we know all too well does not serve our well-being. I am loathe to believe that there is one human being in America that believes for one second that Kentucky Grilled Chicken is healthy for them…healthier than fried, yes, but overall healthy? But we tell ourselves that it is because it’s what we want. We want to eat fast food, junk, candy, cookies, cakes, burgers, fries, fried chicken, cheese-stuffed pizza; we want to drink silly coffee drinks with funny names and soda by the gallon. So when we see ads for things like grilled chicken from the place that gave us dinner in a bucket, well, we just go mad with joy over it.
Here’s a clue for you: The Colonel, Papa John, Wendy, Dr. Pepper, Ronald McDonald, Aunt Jemima, Frank Perdue, Sara Lee and Betty Crocker don’t give a whit about your health. In case you’re not sure, they aren’t real people and they sure aren’t your friends. They’re big corporate conglomerates who want your business and your money…and advertising has manipulated you into believing that they want you happy and well-fed (fat is more like it…)…just like your Mama would want. It’s time to stop believing in fairy tales and take responsibility for your health.
Think of how many ads you see in the course of one evening of television viewing. Cialis, Viagra, Nexium, Lipitor, Byetta, Glucophage, Zoloft, Celebrex…all drugs to treat heart disease, acid reflux, type 2 diabetes, depression and erectile dysfunction. Not to mention all the drugs out there for frequent urination and enlarged prostates in men. Disease has become an industry all on its own with more than 8% of our population struggling with Type 2 diabetes alone.
In the name of marketing, all the diseases that plague us have been given the warm and fuzzy moniker of ‘lifestyle diseases.’ I guess that makes them sound less deadly or painful or life-interrupting.
On the other hand, calling them lifestyle diseases gives you incredible power. In the attempt to comfort you in your discomfort, this little name has told you what to do…instead of swallowing their marketing and pills. If a disease is the result of your lifestyle, wouldn’t it stand to reason that a change in said lifestyle will yield a different result?
We hear it every day. We are advised ad nauseum to eat more fruits and vegetables. But do we? No, we eat the cole slaw or macaroni and cheese on the side of our grilled chicken in a bucket and convince ourselves that we had veggies that day. We look at the little sprig of parsley next to the slab of meat on our platters and tell ourselves that it counts as a serving of vegetables (even though we don’t eat it…). We drink fruit juice, juice drinks, smoothies and tell ourselves it’s the same as fruit, when in fact, these are more like baby foods than real nutrition from real food. And then when we get sick or fat or lethargic, we think fate has visited a plague on us…we refuse to acknowledge that with our lifestyle choices, we have created lifestyle diseases.
Come on, dudes, let’s get it together and stop bankrupting our health. Warm summer weather is the perfect time to get fit and vital. Dust off your bike and take ride; pop on your never-used running shoes and take a tour of the neighborhood on foot; work in the garden; hit the gym. And then head to the local farm market and load up on freshly-picked, succulent veggies and fruits. Cook; grill; make a salad. Spend the summer months taking care of your health and creating the life you want and by autumn, you will be living your life on your terms.
Wouldn’t that be nice?