Excerpt from Let Food Be Thy Gift
Health Is Not In A Shake Or A Burpee
We live in the wild wild west of diet, fitness, health and wellness. In this chaotic and confusing world of overwhelming information, nonsense food talk and the most insane workouts, we have been easily controlled by the loudest talking heads and by the most extreme products and programs promising the fastest results humanly possible.
Case in point, I recently set up a health table at a local elementary’s health and wellness fair. I had not finished setting up my table before I heard the words “macro and micro nutrients.” Truthfully, in a country that eats hardly any fruit and vegetables, this kind of talk makes my skin crawl, the hair on the back of my neck stand up and forces my blood pressure to rise rapidly.
Seriously, as adults, we don’t even try to get the RDA of the most basic things like fruits, vegetables, fiber, sleep, water, fiber, sunshine and movement. Yet, our answer to this problem is not to address it but to produce some ultra processed unnatural drink and market the hell out it. And while I understand why we market this nonsense to adults, I do not understand why we would allow someone to pimp protein shakes to a group of 5 to 10 year olds. But then again why not, when just across the gym from me there was a “certified personal trainer” timing kids doing burpees and the other tables were signing kids up to participate in organized sports (and we all know organized sports are not free and not just for fun). My head was literally about to explode, until the local nonprofit gym brought out hula hoops and jump ropes.
Side note: I am all about sports but these are elementary kids and they deserve to have a chance to enjoy exercise and be encouraged to play. Seriously, give them a freaking chance to develop naturally and learn to just play a sport for fun and enjoy exercise. But, I digress.
Here we had a perfect opportunity to differentiate health and wellness from sports and to introduce kids to a different way to think about and “do” health and wellness but well intentioned adults subjected kids to the same fragmented diet and exercise formula that has failed at least 74% of them (74% of adults are overweight and/or obese). Instead of setting kids free to practice health at the most basic level, ignorant adults squandered an opportunity to teach curious minds and open hearts, and they chose to push products and programs. Once again, adults allowed health and wellness to be reduced to results, shakes, competition, heavily processed “health” foods, technology and sports.
I am not going to say I was surprised by the scene. Well, maybe the protein shakes surprised me. Yet, I was ready with a $137.00 worth of health cards to plant seeds of free health truths. Over the course of two hours, I spoke to about 50-60 kids. Honestly, it was super fun and the kids were sweet and attentive. Still, here is a public school that serves a middle to upper middle class community and these kids have plenty of access to fruits, vegetables and healthy foods BUT… only 2 kids knew what foods had fiber, at least 10 wore fitbits and none knew a basic health practice that included the synergistic effect of sleep, sun, play, water, laughter, fiber, and walking.
Einstein said, “We cannot solve our problems with the same level of thinking that created them.”
What I witnessed at the elementary’s health and wellness event is the same thinking that has produced epidemics of diet-related disease and sickness in both adults and kids. The only thing that would have been different if the event had been put on for adults is there would have been fitness gyms, not sports teams, signing up adults.
So here’s my question to you… “What is it going to take?”
What is it going to take to get you to realize that to change the current epidemics of obesity and diet-related disease and sickness in adults and children, we will have to think a different way.
I believe it will require us to resurrect and remember basic truths to set us free to trust how we are designed and to create new opportunities to practice routines and exercises that honor and respect our whole person. I believe both kids and adults deserve a fighting chance to experience a health process that understands the importance of being known and accepted, instead of being scored and timed. Futhermore, I don’t think that either kids or adults will be capable of strengthening, changing or sustaining their health, unless they are surrounded by a community of people committed to the remembering of who they are and how they are naturally designed to be healthy, whole, holy and human through the practice of giving and receiving of truth and love through personal relationships and living examples.
Think about it.
-What if our schools were filled with adults practicing basic health truths that encouraged an understanding of health that included the spirit, heart, mind and body as a whole?
-What if we taught kids that health is not a program but a daily practice of nourishment?
-What if a child’s daily experience was a healthy community filled with healthy people who knew rest, love, peace, emotional awareness, truth, art, music, passion and imagination?
-What if we (adults) stopped talking about workouts and diets, and we just started practicing healthy routines that organically taught kids how and why practicing nourishment gives us results that cannot be measured or calculated?
Remember, we are never going to out-exercise, out-diet our out-burpee diet-related sickness and disease with the same programs, formulas and understanding that have produced the epidemic results that we are currently experiencing.
Remember, it is not too late. We can start over by moving to restore a common sense approach to health. We can address a missing foundation of truth that has produced a fragmented approach to health and wellness. We can stop reducing people to results and health to a diet, and exercise to a program.
We don’t have to squeeze ourselves or our kids into a one size fits all fragmented weight loss formula ANY LONGER. We can bring common sense and basic understanding back to health and set people free to be healthy by practicing the most basic exercises that nourish our spirits, hearts, minds, bodies and relationships with the nutrients that we need to live. Together, we can create a community that sets kids and adults free to be healthy… Fitbits, burpees and protein shakes not needed or required.