Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Just Makes Sense

I’ve been listening to Susan Powter online since she recently started her new radio in Taos, New Mexico. What a dynamic, fascinating person...she continues to transform. (One thing hasn't changed, though...she’s still - thank goodness - radical.) Now, instead of selling her workout programs and famous, philosophical books, she’s making art and giving fitness away. For real. If you order something gorgeous from her Etsy site, she will send you DVDs as well.

What a novel concept. She is giving away valuable information. Instead of selling it, she is sharing it. Wow. That is how much she believes in her message.

She’s over the top, yes. Fired up? Yes. Intense? Yes. But if you listen to her and hear what she has to say, whatever level of it you wish to accept or apply to your own life, it’s kind of amazing.

A few things that have really resonated with me and I cannot ignore. The most significant?
There isn’t an obesity gene. We’re spending millions of dollars as a country looking for the obesity gene and trying to explain why people are getting fatter and fatter. But in most cases, it’s not genetic. It’s all about what we’re putting into our bodies. We need, instead, to buy whole, quality food – less processed, fewer chemicals – and start moving around more. That simple.

You know how John and Yoko said, “War is over – if you want it”? Well…same, simple concept: “You don’t have to be unhealthy – if you’ll quit poisoning your body.” DUH, people! How could we be so naive?!

And other things have occurred to me – OF COURSE the exercise people and the heart people and the disease people are all telling us outrageous things like, you have to have an hour or more of intense cardio and strength training every single day in order to maintain. To maintain your current weight. Not to lose weight. If you wanna do that, you have to do MORE. I don't know about you, but I'm not even a Mom and I don't know how I'd find an hour or more every day to exercise.

Oh, but I believe that statement is true…with a caveat: IF you are going to eat the typical, American, processed-food diet. Yes. If you are going to eat fast food, packaged food, additives and synthetically forced produce, your body is probably going to require a lot of intense work to process and digest it.

Susan gently points out certain spokespeople for diet programs who fail, not as a criticism, but as a wake up call to stop wasting money on "programs" that are temporary and change our lifestyles instead. When I think about it, it’s not that Kirstie Alley is a failure. It’s that she stopped the program she was on. I fully believe that the Jennifer Hudsons, Valerie Bertinellis and Marie Osmonds of the world who got thin on a food program are still thin because they are still on the payroll and still eating the prescribed food. I have a beautiful friend here at work who is at a fine, healthy weight and fitness level, but periodically goes back on her diet program, and pays a financial penalty for being "over her goal weight"…financially penalized and goes back to saying things like, “I did bad this week,” if she hits a plateau. (She is not "doing bad." She is not bad. We really have to stop beating ourselves up.)

Of course each time these folks stop eating this prescribed, pre-packaged food, they gain weight. They gain because they’re continuing to eat the typical, American, processed-food diet, without watching their portions and you can’t eat very much of that kind of food without getting bigger. Those programs are still a modified version of the very lifestyle from which we should apparently go running away from into the darkness, screaming in horror while escaping.

My friend J has been teaching her adorable children about label reading for some time. They know the more ingredients in something, the worse it is for you. What an incredibly important lesson to teach a child. You should see them counting the number of items on their food packages when we have lunch together…they’re so far ahead of the curve already. J has taken the time to research ingredients (now that is parenting) and found that some of the things in our food are also poisonous or have completely non-nutritive purposes and we both wonder why, oh why, is that ingredient in there? Huh.

Last night, I made calzones, mostly from scratch. I used unbleached, organic flour, yeast, a bit of organic sugar and salt for the thin, simple crust. I cheated and used a little high-quality jarred sauce (no artificial stuff! I didn’t have any of our homemade sauce on hand), and sautéed some portabellas in a touch of olive oil and balsamic. I hand-grated just a little imported Parmesan and sliced six, small medallions of fresh mozzarella cheese (the kind without preservatives, in whey). Guess what? It’s insane but when you use fresh cheese, you don’t need as much. Of course not…fresh has flavor! I folded the calzones over, crimped the edges with a fork and baked them until they were golden brown.

I made a huge salad with organic lettuce, peppers, cucumbers and carrots. (I also added green olives, but they weren’t organic.) And while the produce wasn’t bulging with the size and color of the non-organic produce, I noticed that when I cut the pepper open, it smelled like a pepper. When I peeled the cucumber and had a bite of it, it tasted like Spring.

I have been feeding Steinvic and I the genetically modified, chemical crap for too long. (I'm sorry, Steinvic.)

Despite the length of this post, I’m not a fanatic. Really. But the light switch has come on and I don’t think I can go back. This simple message makes sense and has reached my chemically burdened brain: Any place I reasonably can, I’m upgrading our food.

The funniest thing? When we finished our meal, we were satisfied, but we didn’t feel “stuffed” or bloated. I think when your body doesn’t have to wade through all the chemicals to begin using the food you give it, it’s satisfied faster and you eat less. Just a thought…

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