I was sitting in my kitchen, eating my post workout snack (Greek yogurt with organic blueberries and strawberries), when a funny question popped in my head. Should I add almonds, even though they’re not my favorite, because food is the fuel for our bodies.
Thinking of this instantly brought back a memory from high school. When I was sixteen, I worked at a little Italian family restaurant in my small hometown. One of the guys I worked with was obsessed with his car. He’d go on and on about how he only used top-of-the-line gasoline in to keep it running well—all while shoveling greasy, processed, sugary foods in his mouth. He cared so much about the fuel in his car, yet he could care less about the fuel in his body.
This memory surfaces every so often, and it’s especially thought provoking to me at this moment. What do our bodies mean to us?
Here’s another story to help illustrate my point. A friend posted a Facebook video of her husband eating a big bag of Doritos while their dog watched longingly. The caption read something to the effect of “Rey begging for food. It’s cute, but he’s not allowed to eat bad people food.”
Pause and think about that for a minute. No, dog, you cannot have this food that I’m shoveling in my mouth because it’s bad for you. Does this strike anyone else as odd? My friend’s husband is eating food that his dog isn’t allowed to eat…because the food isn’t good for the dog!?
As baffling as this story is to me, it’s not uncommon. We probably all know people who take pristine care of their pets or possessions, but they don’t think twice about taking care of their own bodies. While we’re thoughtfully choosing the fuel we put in our cars, the food we’re giving to our pets, and even the chemicals we’re cleaning our electronics with, we’re thoughtlessly stocking our fridges and cupboards with nutrition-deficient processed foods.
So again, I ask: What do our bodies mean to us?
I’ve been just as guilty of this contradiction as anyone. But the more I educate myself, the more I realize how backwards this thinking is, and how important my body is. Our bodies are the first thing that we need to take care of—before we take care of our pets, cars, electronics, and all the other priorities that we so often place above our health. It’s like the airline instructions at takeoff: when the oxygen masks fall, you must always put the mask on yourself before you try to help others. If you don’t take care of yourself first, you won’t be much help to anyone else.
When I realized that I cared more about the food I was giving to my dogs than the food I was eating myself, I was inspired to do better. When I worried about damaging my car by filling it with cheap gas, I was inspired to give my body the same regard.
If you think your body should mean at least as much to you as your car or pet, start taking action. If you don’t know where to start, start right here. Start by educating yourself as I did with these incredible resources:
Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is! by Stephanie Selene Anderson. This easy, step-by-step guide, available in print and audiobook editions, explains what to eat, why you should eat it, and where you can buy it. There’s even a shopping list you can take to the market with you. It’s a great way to get started!
SRP Self-Health Starter Kit. This thoughtfully curated kit will teach you all the basic principles of diet and health. Sounds made to order, doesn’t it? And once you’ve done that, keep going!
SRP Self-Health Nutrition Blog. Check out health tips and so much more from our amazing, insightful blogs, including Ask Chef Phyllis and Adventures of a Self-Healther.
SRP Historical Archives. With over 300 free articles, the Archives will teach you just about everything you need to know about nutrition and health.
But that’s not all. SRP offers books, MP3s, Vimeo on demand, and so much more. There’s something for everyone at SRP. The important thing is to just start, and the rest will come.
So, what do our bodies mean to us? Everything.
Image from iStock/hjalmeida