Eating in the name of…
Dammit, CBo. I don’t want to hear you talk about food.
Trust me, I get it. It’s not a topic I want to talk about, but it’s something I need to. They say preachers’ topics often imitate what they’re going through personally, so this post goes into that bucket. Except I’m not speaking from the pulpit on this one. I’m just one of you guys.
Let me start by saying this – I’m extremely sensitive to food. Need to pack on a few pounds? No problem…in fact, I can throw on 10lbs of fat with ease. Muscle/bulking comes pretty easy as well, though, so I’m not gonna argue with that. I’ve been this way for a long time. Hell, even as an athlete and the son of the self proclaimed “fruit lady”, I had high cholesterol at the age of 14…for which I was given an egg substitute low in dietary cholesterol (don’t get me started). I could provide more examples, but the long-and-short of it is that my body has been throwing up red flag ailments for a while, but I wasn’t able to identify it as such. I wasn’t able to make the connection between what I was eating and the wackiness with my body – inside and out.
Like I said, I was clueless about these symptoms for a long time. I grew up wondering why I wasn’t really skinny like most of my friends even though I was heavily involved in athletics. I was always exercising…so what the eff? I became very self-conscious, and felt like my body was somewhat of a curse. I didn’t understand it at all. Why can’t I eat like the rest of my friends? I’d try to exercise more, but only marginal gains were made. I was never fat, but I was definitely frustrated. Learning more about the implications of diet, specifically through Paleo/Primal eating habits, was a silver bullet for the majority of my aesthetic woes, and subsequently many of my other physical ailments. Good Lord, I wish I would’ve had Robb Wolf or Mark Sisson in my early teenage years…
The older I get, the more I believe my body’s food sensitivities to be a blessing, rather than a curse. You see, I am my mother’s son – we look very similar, our personalities are almost the same and I’ve inherited many of her talents. A while back, she was dealing with some skin, mouth and eye related issues that we identified as Autoimmune Diseases, so after various failures of prescriptive pills, potions or lotions, we FINALLY convinced “the fruit lady” to go on the Autoimmune Protocol. 4-6 months later, symptoms had cleared. She could produce tears for her eyes, taste food again and the skin rashes had cleared up. There are many similar stories …in fact, an easy query will unearth many accounts where much more serious AI diseases have been managed, including: Multiple Sclerosis, Hashimoto’s, Ulcerative Colitis, Lupus or Addison’s disease (the list goes on). BACK TO MY STORY! Fast forward 4 years, and I have Autoimmune issues of my own. Much less serious issues, but they’re awfully pesky, painful, and inhibit training/many of the activities I enjoy. It’s not a joke, but comparatively speaking it could be considered as such. After a few failed doctor visits, a few months of AIP and my symptoms are very manageable and have dramatically softened. Still some ground to be made and some fine tuning, but back to training and enjoying life! NICE.
I tell you this because – if you don’t know me well – I’m a leap before you look kind of guy. I didn’t grow up paying attention to the granularity of life. I like the big picture, and for a long time I only took care of the fires that burned around me at any given moment. For many years, my big picture (as it related to eating/health) was to look like a stud…and if I was able to eat whatever I wanted and look studly, I’m pretty sure I would’ve imposed some serious damage upon myself. Irreversible damage? Not sure. I’m not a doctor or medical expert. But as contemporary research continues to overturn longstanding beliefs about dietary needs/restrictions and the long-term effects of processed/GMO/poorly raised food, I’m very happy these ailments created a fire around me crying for attention. Plus, I’m not an idiot – try to burn a Kraft Single cheese slice with a lighter. It doesn’t melt/burn…because it’s plastic (seriously, find this on Youtube). I’m pretty sure that eating these kinds of fake/plastic foods for decades will cause permanent damage when paired with other poor/uneducated food choices, and that is what terrifies me about contemporary food offerings. We live in a time where it’s so much easier to make terrible decisions than good ones. It’s not even easy to make an informed decision once you know what to look for! It’s overwhelming at times. Hopefully labeling and FDA policy will turn the corner (with your support!) and provide further clarity around the quality of food and processing in the future. Sorry, I’m ranting. All of that is for another post…back to my main point.
It all rolls up into this. The way I look at, think about and choose food over the last 4-7 years has progressively shifted because the implications have become so much greater for me, my family and ultimately all those who I care about. It really concerns me to think that the food choices made right now in my early 30’s could impact my mental and physical well being in the future. I hate to even entertain the idea that my mental capacity is limited when I’m older and my wife has to make sacrifices to take care of me…not to even mention that I can’t spend quality time with her in my golden years. More and more research is suggesting Autoimmunity contributes to certain types of (progressive) Dementia. I want to hang out with my family when I’m old and have meaningful conversations. I’d much rather travel the world and create/share those memories with loved ones – all while wearing a fanny pack – than require assistance just to get through my day. No whoopee cushion underneath Dani’s Rascal? I don’t like the sounds of that. And I don’t have kids yet, but if/when that happens – I don’t want to burden them either. Also, I just want to play! If you’re at CrossFit Ktown/Farragut, I’d be willing to bet that you enjoy being active. Who says we can’t do that in some form or fashion late into life?
Don’t get me wrong, I believe food should be celebrated and enjoyed, but everyone should have a collective goal when choosing what goes on their plate. So I’ll ask you in closing – what are you “eating in the name of”? Health (mental and/or physical), performance (mental and/or physical), sleep, overall health/wellness, attitude, loved ones and/or future family? There are an infinite number of reasons to make a better choice when eating once the ramifications of these choices are realized.
Although it hasn’t been fun, I’m thankful for all these forced restrictions because I’m better off for it in the long run. I’ve been given the gift of foresight through these problems I’ve had to deal with. I only hope my perspective will help some of you with lesser sensitivities to reflect on how your food choices may be compounding.
No matter what you put into your mouth/body, do so with collective intention.
Eat “in the name” of something.