Eat To Live

The other night I was flipping through the channels and caught a segment of a lecture by Dr. Joel Fuhrman. I’d heard of Dr. Fuhruman before, as he’s a proponent of a plant-based diet, but I had not yet heard him speak or read any of his writings. I was immediately captivated. After fifteen minutes, I purchased his book Eat To Live on my iPad.

I’m only a couple chapters in, but the basic premise is that we need to fuel our bodies with nutrients rather than squelch hunger and feed addictions with processed, fried, and sugary foods. He asks the reader to study the book in its entirety and then commit to doing his diet for six weeks to lose weight, feel great, and reverse and prevent diseases.

Dr. Fuhrman mentions the importance of eating the right foods as kids. That passage made me flash back to my senior year of high school, where my eating habits took a nose dive and stayed that way for about twelve years. Here’s a snapshot of a normal day’s food when I was seventeen:

  • Breakfast: One to two Egg McMuffins with a medium coke from the McDonald’s down the street from my high school.
  • Lunch: Chocolate Eclair ice cream bar and bag of Fritos from the cafeteria vending machines.
  • After school snack: Snickers Bar and a Coke just before dance team and golf team practices.
  • Dinner: Some kind of chicken usually with a salad and some Green Giant veggies, made by my mom.
  • Dessert: Usually a large ice cream sundae made my moi.

Did I drink water? I’m looking at this and figuring at some point I must have grabbed water from the fountains at school or on the golf course, but I can’t actually remember water.

My eating habits remained pathetic through college (pizzas, huge bags of Publix popcorn, BBQ ribs, burgers, take out, fast food, and more take out) and continued (massive quantities of TV dinners) through to when Tom and I moved to Washington, DC. Neither of us knew how to cook, and we were both working full time, so we hired a personal chef to put home cooked dinners in our fridge and freezer twice a month. A personal chef sounds like a pretty hoity-toity thing to do, but we actually saved money. It was cheaper than our previous habit of buying food in the grocery store, which would rot uneaten in our fridge while we paid to eat restaurant food instead.

A couple years later I left my job because I had become too weak to work with that elusive tumor on my pancreas, and so we parted ways with our personal chef. I soon discovered the book A Year in a Vegetarian Kitchen and spent every night with Jack Bishop teaching me to cook recipe by recipe. The rest is history.

I wonder what kind of an impact those horrid food years had on my health, but I guess it doesn’t matter now. I now “eat to live,” and I’ve never felt better. If I had had kids, they would have eaten like crap when I did, and they’d fuel their bodies with delicious nutrient-dense foods now. And I’d teach them how to make smart food choices and cook for themselves, so that they’d be prepared when they were ready to leave the nest. I’m not teaching the younger generation, but my mom actually comes to me now with questions on cooking vegetables and grains. So my healthy habits are influencing someone.

The lifestyle choices we make not only affect ourselves, but also our family. Just some food for thought.

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