Wednesday, February 22, 2012
It's not always all about the Food....
As I close out my 10th day of juice feasting, I received some sad news: an acquaintance of mine died suddenly of a heart attack in their late 50's. They were married for 30 years and had 3 grown children.
As I remember their personality, I remember that they were definitely what you would consider Type A. I also remember reading somewhere that being prematurely grey is an early indicator of heart disease. They were prematurely grey. So were a lot of other acquantances who were what I would consider type A personalities.
I also remember the dietary habits of the whole family. They had a family recipe for cheesecake that was so good that they were able to sell it to a local restaurant...
But mostly, I reflect on the high-stress, rat race lifestyle of the area that they live in....the same area has produced a death from a friend who was 50 from breast cancer, leaving behind grown children and a spouse of many years....Another man in his 40's who died suddenly in his sleep. I remember his "go, go, go" personality and we used to joke about it. He was like a streak he was constantly moving so fast.
Then there was another man died in his 60's from a heart attack....and yet another woman who died in her late 50's from a brain tumor..just after seeing her daughter get married. She was a Go, go, go, person right up until her passing. She could not relax and rest. She had to be doing something all the time.
I am humbled as I reflect back on all of this becaue I realize that while I eat healthy, I don't always manage stress well and often am a "go, go, go" person, too. AND THIS NEEDS TO CHANGE.
The Okinawans in Japan have one of the greatest longevity records of centenarians in the world and while their diets play a large part (they eat very little animal foods and grow a lot of their own foods in their own gardens), they do not live slavishly by the clock and have great social networks to support one another.
I am also reading a book written by Norman Cousins, who used laughter therapy to heal himself from a very serious connective tissue disease. In it, he talks about psychoneuroimmunology--the mind/body connection of how our feelings affect our health. He presents very powerful evidence in that book on how our brains release chemicals into our bodies based on our emotions that powerfully affect our immune, nervous and hormonal systems.
I think there are some very calm people who eat junk all their lives but due to good stress management manage to live long lives and defy all the health food rules.
Then there are athletes who burn out at an early age due to burning both cylinders at both ends despite being very fit.
And finally, there are those who meticulously watch their diets but are angry, panicky, worrisome and stressed out and don't get the health results they want.
We need JOY and CALM in our lives and we need LOVE.
These are equally as important as what we eat. Vitamin J (joy) , Vitamin M (mellow) and Vitamin H (hugs) should be added to our daily recommended nutrients that we take in each day.
However, food does play a role and how we manage our emotions plays a part in which foods we are drawn too. If we are calm, we usually reach for more healthy foods, while when we are stressed, we go for refined carbohydrates, alcohol, sugar and chocolate to calm ourselves down. And those who already have even-tempers DO need to watch what they eat--they are not immune to eating a animal food based diet and junk food. Norman Cousins, while he survived, did get a heart attack while in his 70's.
So a good diet with a good inner attitude is a winning combination for JOY, longevity and good health.
While I keep juicing, I am going to focus on my thoughts during the day, letting go of worry, not letting hassles get to me, and being kinder to myself and others. I will stretch more, breath more, slow down more, criticize myself less and just let go more.
All of this is in memory of you, friend. Rest in peace until we meet again.Thank you for this gift in helping me to see myself in you and having the time to change...