Thursday, July 19, 2012

Making Changes

I went to a new doctor on Tuesday for an annual check up, the kind that only women get. It's interesting meeting new doctors and trying to tell them the important things about your body and your past health. It was a really good experience overall and it got me thinking about some stuff. First, my health stats are looking good. I'm right where I want to be with weight and blood pressure. When the doctor listened to my heart she asked if I was a runner because my heart beat was slow and steady. Then she listened to my lungs and complimented me on them as well. She was very supportive about my plant based diet, and is going to run extra checks on my blood work to make sure my nutrients are solid.

This is so vastly different than experiences I had in the past when I was overweight and struggling. Healthy habits are encouraged when you're already doing them, but usually mentioned more in passing when you're not. I read about this phenomenon in the Veganist and Crazy Sexy Diet books I read, where traditional American medicine completely ignores diet and activity level as a root cause of health issues. This was especially poignant for me when I was filling out paperwork. I had to fill out my personal and family health history including diet based diseases like diabetes and high cholesterol. I had to divulge my smoking habits. I did not have to disclose anything about my diet!

The doctor made a big deal about my quitting smoking and conviction to never start again. She made a comment about how incredibly difficult it is to stop smoking. I almost laughed because giving up cigarettes is a breeze compared to shifting your diet to a more healthy, sustainable, and holistic one. There's a negative connotation to smoking in our society, and there aren't many cultural or family rituals tied to smoking. Food, on the other hand, is completely enmeshed with our lives. Thanksgiving means turkey, stuffing & gravy. Restaurants serve meals that are grossly out of proportion, full of fat and sodium, and never get challenged for it. We see food commercials and advertisements constantly. I'm not trying to take anything away from those of us who quit smoking or who still struggle with that. It's hard. But making a permanent shift in your eating habits is about a million times harder.

I wish that we lived in a society that was more supportive of people who don't want the SAD (Standard American Diet) for themselves and who choose to go a different route. I applaud anyone who is eschewing the norm and trying to make changes.

In other news, I went on a great hike after work yesterday. The weather was great, although it was a bit hot and hazy at the top. I'm so blessed to be able to drive by an awesome mountain on my way home every day. I'm looking forward to the weather cooling off a bit so that I can be outdoors more. We're trying to plan some type of outdoor activity for this weekend. It's looking like a visit to the local botanical gardens and a picnic.

Last night's dinner was a creative use of leftovers suggested by my lovely partner. We had two (big) servings of veggie chili saved in the freezer, so she suggested that I put mine on top of baked sweet potato and she'd have hers with mac & cheese for some chili mac. It was delicious. I don't know if there are many foods I enjoy more than sweet potatoes!


Today is my late day at work. I did my favorite yoga/pilates workout this morning, it's a great way to start my day. I have to work by myself tonight (I usually have at least one other person with me to watch the desk), so I made an almond butter and jelly sandwich for dinner later. I'm actually looking forward to it! I have to remind myself that every meal doesn't have to be fancy or take a lot of effort to prepare.

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