Have you ever gotten in the way of yourself when trying to make changes in your life? So desperate for everything to be great, right now, that you’d try almost anything? I have. You see, I have a tendency to get a tad overzealous about new ideas. When I decide my family needs to make some food and lifestyle changes in order to be our absolute, most healthy selves, I jump in with wild abandon. I always come to my senses, eventually, but until then, I put on quite a show for those around me. Trust me, I can provide you with a sizable list of people who will back this up. Until I get that list together, here are just a few examples my family can fondly look back on and say, “Remember that time when you got hooked on…”
- The “as seen on TV” ab exercise machine. Being the mom of three boys, my abdominal muscles aren’t quite as compact as they once were. This simple, yet powerful, “ab wheel” would surely improve them. Whoever discovered mine at the local thrift store a few months later must have been thrilled!
- The exotic, super-secret herbal extract that would melt away my body fat—and all I had to do was fill the water glass and swallow the capsule. It would work even if I stayed on the couch all day reading the latest David Sedaris book. Shockingly, the only thing I got out of that herbal extract was a surprise on my next credit card statement—which wouldn’t have been a surprise at all if I’d read the extremely fine print on my initial purchase. It only took me five phone calls to get that all straightened out.
- And last but not least, the green smoothie revelation. Did you know that green smoothies are the answer to virtually any health concern you may have? While it’s true that they can be a wonderful addition to a healthy diet, I’m the kind of person who needs to chew my food to feel like I’ve truly had a meal. A couple days into the green smoothie revelation I was feeling so deprived that I found myself sitting down to a big steak, a baked sweet potato, and an actual salad. Finally, food I could eat. I went back for seconds. Okay, maybe even thirds.
After each of these less-than-transformative experiences, I would say to myself, “Okay, what next?” Inevitably, something would grab my attention, until the day the clouds in my head finally parted and I thought: “It isn’t like eating is a new concept. Human beings have been doing it for, well, forever. So why are so many people trying to find new ways to go about it? And why am I wasting my time, money, and health seeking out every new fad?”
Shaking my head, I returned all twelve books on nutrition that I’d checked out from the library—or all of them but one. There was something about Nourishing Traditions, by Sally Fallon, that made me think I should hold onto it just a little longer. Maybe it was the subtitle: The Cookbook that Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats. For me, those words were the answer to a question I didn’t even know I had.
With every page I read I was taken back to my childhood growing up on my family’s dairy farm in Wisconsin. We drank raw milk right out of the bulk tank. The meat in our freezer came from the animals that grazed in our own pastures. Under protest, we ate it all, including the liver, heart, and tongue. I can count on one hand the number of times we got anything from a drive-thru. In reminiscing about this time, I realized it was the healthiest and most energetic period of my life. Sure, it had a lot to do with the simple fact of youth, but I think there was more to it than that. A few years after leaving the farm and making my own “convenient” food choices, things started to change. Nagging health issues that I wouldn’t even recognize until further down the road were beginning to build up.
Nourishing Traditions led me to my senses. It gave me the answers I’d been looking for. Fallon’s traditional recipes for making your own loaf of beautiful sourdough bread and slow cooking your meats to retain their nutritional value struck a chord. Her methods were so familiar, not to mention obvious. Rather than a new way of looking at food and nutrition, here was a reminder that our parents and grandparents had it right all along. These were ideas I could sink my teeth into, literally. And with them I was able to get out of my own way and introduce positive changes into my family’s nutrition routine. I love it when that happens.
If you’re just getting started with your own self-health journey, or know someone who is, let me spare you some trouble. The SRP Self-Health Starter Kit as a fantastic first step. It includes books to educate yourself, as well as resources for improving your shopping choices. There are even some audio clips from Dr. Royal Lee himself.
In the meantime, check out these online resources for some instant gratification:
- Weston A. Price Foundation, which focuses on food choices and preparation techniques from back in the day—before a wide range of chronic diseases became a regular part of modern life.
- The similarity between the above resource and my more recent discovery, Dr. Royal Lee and the articles and resources here at Selene River Press, is uncanny.
I chuckle at myself when I put it all into perspective. Have you ever gotten in the way of your own health?
Photo from iStock/tBoyan