Good morning. I thought I'd sit down and write a bit while sipping my Medifast hot cocoa. The kids are gone to school/college and the dogs are napping in the sun, so I am taking advantage of a little alone time to relax before school is out for the summer.
I have been looking at my food a little differently since the suspicious mass was found on my first mammogram earlier this month. I tend to get a bit emotional and panicky about that kind of thing because I watched my mother die from ovarian cancer less than two weeks after she was diagnosed, and that affected me deeply. And whenever I have an iffy test result in those departments... be it a mammogram spot or a bad pap or a fibroid... I suddenly "remember" how important it is to take care of myself. I think it is easy to relax and get complacent about our health when we are healthy; people tend to take things for granted until there is a risk that thing could be taken away. So every time there is a health issue I tighten up my eating, cut out more unhealthy things, and bump up the exercise and other good habits. Usually, at least *some* of those improvements stick long-term, so the cumulative result is an overall healthier lifestyle.
This time, I did a lot of reading about the effects of food (and the chemicals in food) on our bodies. It's caused me to look at every thing I put in my mouth as *medicine.* Or, at least it makes me think, "what will this food do for my body?" I try to assess every food item as it comes into my home so I do not have to reassess every time I eat. Shopping at the farmer's market makes that easier! All the veggies and fruits come in, get washed and prepped, and are ready to eat. I do believe that food is more than just fuel, though. It is pleasure, it can be comfort, and I personally believe there is nothing wrong with that *in moderation* and in the setting of emotional health. It is one thing to live the lifestyle I had when I was binge eating lots of junk to numb emotions I didn't want to feel... to shovel down candy and cakes and pizzas as if they were drugs, as a means of coping. It is entirely another to sit on the couch with a blanket, a book, and a cup of hot coffee or to sit on the deck in the sun with a bowl of berries and cream and just relax and enjoy that quiet moment enhanced by a food or drink. It is a good thing, I think, to sit with friends and enjoy a healthy meal together. It is okay to eat things that have lots of flavors and textures and make you feel happy. Endorphins are good! That is very different from sitting in the car alone scarfing down a box of Oreos and a Dairy Queen Blizzard and calling that 'enjoyment.' It never is; it never really was. It felt sad and desperate and painful, even as it covered other pains. It was just displacing one pain with another.
Today is going to be a salad day for me. I need to finish off the bowl of greens I have in the fridge, along with some cucumbers and steamed asparagus (which is great in salad!) With the mindset I mentioned above, I've looked at my bottles of salad dressing and thought, "if and when I want some dressing with my salad, I want it to have a health benefit... not just be a useless (although tasty) condiment." I've been looking up some new recipes for homemade dressings that involve things like olive oil, lemon juice, cider vinegar, shallots, garlic, and fresh herbs. I don't always want dressing with my salad, but when I need some fat with my meal (like when I have salad and fish) I will use a dressing. I am washing my old salad dressing bottles and using those for the new, homemade dressings. I like feeling that every bite is benefiting me in some way.
I hope you are finding ways to improve your health, too. Don't wait for a crisis to make the changes!
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