Food. Foooood. F-oooo-dah. As you read that word, what comes to your mind? As you let it settle, even marinate, what do you see?
Do you see a juicy burger (two or three) with crisp lettuce, a shiny red tomato slice, and golden fluffy buns maybe with sesame seeds scattered across the top?
Maybe, your mind cooks up some fried chicken with that satisfying crunch filling your ears as the savory flavors overwhelm your taste buds and your teeth cut into the melt-in-your-mouth meat.
What about pizza? Cheesy, stuffed crust, at least four types of meat, ain’t-no-veggies-on-this-pie, mother-lovin’ pizza.
At this point, you might be thinking about all three, and which one you currently have the easiest access to get and fill your face. And let’s face it, all three of these are available at our fingertips these days with order and delivery apps on our phones.
I know because I love food too, so much food. I could make a list, but they already call it a cookbook. The problem, for me, is that I don’t love the right foods. And, I don’t mean “right” in a cynical way, like “oh, the proverbial ‘they’ say to eat this and not that.” I’m talking scientifically, objectively what is healthy and what is not. I honestly mean that I just don’t eat enough healthy food. Period.
Sure, I justify my eating habits to myself. People who are health-conscious and workout consistently will provide themselves with a “cheat day,” a day where they allow themselves to eat what ever they want in whatever quantity they want. I do the opposite. I go on health benders, eating vast amounts of healthy foods. Sometimes I’ll even do it for a few days. I might think, “this isn’t so bad.” Then, the next time I’m out somewhere, I’ll “treat” myself to a doughnut or ice cream for all my hard work of eating healthy. I blink, and I’m off the wagon, consoling myself and licking my wounds by finding more “comfort foods.” as I reclaim my natural habitat, sinking further into my recliner, my feet raised, my head tilted back. Really, I’m just in a more convenient position to eat mindlessly as I stare at the television, watching someone else’s story, real or fictional.
But, as with any good story, there has to be some conflict, some inciting incident which causes the main character to go on some sort of journey. The best stories have a mixture of external and internal conflicts. My own call to adventure was two-fold.
First, and foremost, my internal conflicts center between my love of food, my complacency, and my age. I’ve always been conscious about my weight, but I always told myself, “you have plenty of time to work out and get healthy.” I saw my friends do it. A friend I worked with, who’s about four years older than me, used to be quite heavyset, a full double-chin and a gut that hung over his belt and pant. Then one day he decided to make a change. I witnessed his transformation. He easily lost at least 100 lbs. Watching him do that, I always thought, “I’ve got time.”
Another friend, who always lived life to the excess, always joked, always played sports, basketball, tennis, golf, and yet always negated any healthy activity with unhealthy amounts of food and alcohol. The he died. Even after I went to his funeral, I still thought, “I will get to it.” I promised myself.
Well, now I am 27 years old. I’m two-and-a-half years away from 30. I am the same age as my co-worker was when he started losing weight and changing his lifestyle. And I am about five years away from being the same age as my friend who died of a heart attack.
And now to my second conflict, my external conflict, good ol’ society. Our “fast food nation” propagates the idea that healthy living is for the rich, healthy food is just too expensive for the average Dick and Jane, and healthy foods are not cool or sexy. Have you seen a Hardee’s commercial? What a ruse they have concocted that we, the smartest, most well-informed people living in human history, absolutely know better than to eat all that junk, yet we Americans are the fattest, most unhealthy people living in human history. My students and I were just discussion the importance of staying educated as a well-informed member of society. It’s time I not only utilize that knowledge but spread it too.
So, how do I intend to answer this call to adventure? I’ve got a few different methods. The first is this blog. I want to keep myself accountable. But I am also asking you, dear reader, to help me stay accountable on this journey. I plan to write updates multiple times a week, and, to stay motivated, a community of supporters can only help.
I, also, would like to start a weekly podcast talking about food and health, opening up about my past struggling with my addiction to food, which is what this really boils down to, as much as a part of me or my closest friends and family members may deny it.
My first goal is to complete a 10-day juice fast. Amanda and I juiced when we first got married, but, after watching a Netflix doc, “Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead” I’ve been sold on trying it again. This time, ten days of no solid foods, just green juices morning, noon, and evening. Joe Cross, the “fat, sick, and nearly dead” guy, went on a 60-day juice fast. I’d like to think I can commit to that. But, I think smaller goals are the way to go at this point.
I’m calling today, September 14th, 2017, “Day Zero.” I will gather all my required materials, and begin juicing tomorrow. Please, join me as the time that I kept putting off year after year has finally arrived. I’m not dieting. This is not temporary. It’s going to take time, and it’s going to evolve into something I have no vision of yet. But I hope we can realize this metamorphosis together.