The information presented in the pages of The Foodie Medic is offered for educational and informational purposes only, and should not be construed as personal medical advice.
There is no end of websites, magazine articles, books and TV shows that give advice on losing weight and getting fit. For the most part, they will tell you much of the same thing; eat less, move more. You cannot deny that advice as the simple truth. I am not a fitness or diet expert. What I am is a woman who has life experience of staying fit and strong enough to do a demanding job and deal with the very real issue of weight fluctuations that come with hormone changes, child bearing, stress, and life changes. There are so few individuals in this world that are blessed with staying fabulous, just by rolling out of bed in the morning. I actually think these people are an alien race but maybe it's just some freaky great genes. The rest of us poor humans have to work out the imbalances in our life and how they translate to the effects on our bodies. Please never under- estimate the “cause and effect” that food, stress, sadness , happiness, movement, lack of movement, seasons, change, sameness, blah, blah, blah…..can and does have on our bodies. The body is an immensely complex, self “leveling” organism, which communicates with you all of the time. Think of it in the terms explained by a quote we all know well. Quote - “Energy cannot be created or destroyed, it can only be changed from one form to another.” ― Albert Einstein. Food is energy, thoughts are energy, and emotions are energy. They are all forms of energy that are looking for transformation. Your body’s “computer” is constantly reading and adjusting to all of these constant interpretations of energy transformations and reporting the results to you. Are you listening? Do you know what your backache or stomachache is trying to tell you. Do you know why some days, you feel soooo tired you can barely drag yourself out of bed? Moreover, do you take the time to do a little internal “check” with yourself and think about the cause before you reach for the pill bottle to treat the effect? I am not here to medically advice you. What I can do is share anecdotal accounts of how people I know and I have discovered an internal voice and how it has guided them to better health. In addition, I will share the things in this world that I believe help keep me healthy and active. This is an “iceberg” of a subject and it will be up to you to learn how to interpret your body and seek out what changes are beneficial for you. If you are open to the information all around you and discover how to sift that information through your own intuition, you will find your best path. What is right for me may not be right for you. You might try something new, only to discover your body quickly rebels and you can cross that one off your list. Then, just for fun, what was great in your twenties might make you feel wretched in your (pick a decade). Sorry to get cliché, but it’s a long and winding road.
Commune with Nature
Okay – You would think that on a page dedicated to healthy living, I would be admonishing you to get outdoors to run, walk, or hike. Well yes, you should do one of those activities. Before we get to that, let us just talk about nature. I mean really, you do not have to go outside to get a cardio work out. Not every healthy activity has to do with exercise and eating. Being in nature and being in observance of nature is a form of meditation. There is so much stimuli outside of us that competes for our attention, that the wise little voice inside of us has a hard time being heard. Mind you, I am not talking about that worried little voice inside you that nags you to do the laundry, pay the bills, or loose twenty pounds. I am talking about the little voice that reminds you of your dreams and nudges you with a sudden “brain storm” that moves you to that next step. Right now, I am not even suggesting you wander around outside waiting for that brainstorm. I am suggesting that you wander around outside and marvel at the amazing awesomeness that is all around us, but we sometimes fail to see.
For one to observe nature there is no need to log the seven- minute mile and rock out to your Ipod. This is about resting your mind and feeding your soul. Now, here is where I will admit to you that I am especially blessed. I just happen to live in one of the most beautiful parts of the world. For me, finding nature is as close as stepping out my door. However, I am going to challenge even all of my city bound friends to observe nature right where they live. Whether you live in the city, a town, or the country, take a few minutes now and again and begin to observe whatever little bit of wildness that is around you. Maybe the interesting weed that has sprouting through a crack in the sidewalk. Allow your mind to block out the man-made noise and listen to the overhead bird conversation . Look up as you walk down the sidewalk and observe what kind of amazing trees and flowers are crawling over the neighborhood fences and are waving about overhead. The last time I visited my son, I went for a morning stroll to get a coffee. It was a Sunday morning and the neighborhood was quiet. I was marveling at all the exotic (to me) shrubs and trees that were poking out of every crevice of fence and wall. Just around the corner of the apartment building entrance there was a lime tree with a fruit-laden branch that jutted over the sidewalk. Very tall people might even had to duck under some of the fruit. I stopped and gazed in complete amazement before reaching up and picking two limes. I rubbed them and the bright essence of lime filled my nose. I squeezed them and they were fully ripe. Wow! How many people on that block went to the store to buy limes? Now I admit, I was a little unsure of the legality and ethics of picking someone else’s limes. However, to the best of my knowledge, if it over a public street or sidewalk it is fair game. Then, not even twenty steps further down the sidewalk and dripping right over my son’s truck, hung beautiful clusters of pink peppercorns. Again, wow! Okay, I am from the Pacific Northwest where such things do not grow, so for me it was exotic. The funny thing was the surprised faces when I showed off my prices to my family. They had never noticed.
When I am taking a quiet walk in nature, I love to pay attention to the canopy above me. Have you ever noticed how massively huge so many trees are? I think how ancient they are and what has transpired in the world since they were little saplings. Observe the entire tree. Take Big Leaf Maples for example. Massively tall with branches that envelope a huge amount of real estate. An entire city of critters can live in a single tree. At least in our area, the trunk resembles a green bear with a thick wooly coat of moss. In the winter, the bare branches are a beautiful sculpture against the winter skies. How many people notice the delicate and almost exotic pale green and yellow flowers that herald spring and scent the air with faint honey perfume. They always remind me of a long necked woman wearing long dangly earrings. In summer, the broad overlapping leaves provide a cool canopy that filters the sunlight and provides cover for the birdy choir. Of course, the maple is in absolute glory when the leaves reveal their dozens of underlying reds, oranges, and yellows. If you stand quietly, you can hear the sound a leaf makes as it separates from the tree and floats softly to the ground, where it will eventually melt in to the forest floor to nurse future generations.
The maple tree is an example of some of the many macrocosms around us. I am equally fascinated by the microcosms that are everywhere. Have you every studied moss? Look closely at moss and you can almost see the world where they filmed the movie “Avatar”. One of my all-time favorite microcosms is coral. My favorite snorkeling beach on the island of Kauai is Tunnels beach. There are beautiful blue “holes” where you can float and watch dozens of brightly colored fish of all sizes. But, the fascinating life that is found lying in just a few inches of water is incredible. I’m sure some people wonder what that crazy lady is doing, bent over, attempting to balance on the couple of spots that will not crush coral, with facemask plastered to the water. I can just sit and stare at the tiny little city of creatures and plants that inhabit the delicate reef.
Our world is filled with patterns, colors, shapes, scents, and sounds that we as humans barely even notice. I am not guaranteeing you will have a mind warping epiphany by taking an observant walk, but you might just find out that there are far more varieties of tree bark than you had previously imagined. Oh and guess what, a lot of it isn't even brown. Even if you “just” achieve a little bit of peace and calm for thirty minutes; is that not just… priceless?