We hear every day that healthy food is expensive. If you’re struggling with finance, how can you possibly improve your diet?
Our friends tell us that we’re just a product of our genetics anyway. If heart disease or cancer are in our genes, why does making an effort to eat better even matter?
The news claims scientists change their minds about what foods are good for you every week. What’s the point in even trying to keep up?
We’re often told that a calorie is a calorie: Maybe you can just eat 1200 calories of cake, and lose weight. With that in mind, why eat broccoli at all?
We only live once anyway. Shouldn’t you just treat yourself? Don’t you deserve it? Everything in moderation!
Well, we’re here to tell you that all the above is a load of garbage.
People have been coming up with reasons not to do difficult but important things since the dawn of time. It took almost 500,000 years for human beings, as a species, to advance beyond simple stone tools, and that whole time you can bet there were people trying. It didn’t take a week from the time the first agricultural corn sprouted to when the first prophets began proclaiming the end was near from overpopulation, civilization, and plague, and they haven’t stopped since. The first people to advance medical treatment beyond blood letting surely heard “everything in moderation” from their colleagues, who cheerfully sliced away at arteries just as the modern slaughterhouse worker does today, and that same trite phrase was used to defend methamphetamine consumption in the early 20th century. Progress has always been held back by the countless people who choose to conform, instead of thinking rationally for themselves.
But you don’t have to conform. In starting this lifestyle, you’re choosing to view your diet and your choices in a completely different way. You’re choosing to view them as your own, and within your control. “I am the product of my decisions,” as Steven Covey wrote, and you are too. You’re the product of them whether you’d like to be or not, so it’s worthwhile to start making good ones. You can become intentional about the food you buy and eat. You’re in control.
It can be hard to feel that way sometimes, and we’re battered daily by messages to the contrary. There’s tremendous public enthusiasm to confirm that people who “eat healthy” still die young, get fat, or live such terrible lives that there’s no point in even trying. The news media covers stories and research that shock us, and that confirm that we’re helpless. When somebody fit and healthy dies of a heart attack, the paramedics can hardly beat the film crews to the scene. T. Colin Campbell refers to these stories as “good news about bad habits.” These stories are defeatist, helping us to excuse ourselves and to settle. Although they use different words, the message is always the same: It’s not your responsibility and it’s not in your control.
Fortunately for the fit and healthy, they usually don’t die of heart attacks. Actually, they hardly ever do, which is why it’s all over the news whenever it happens. On the other hand, according to the American Diabetes Association, “cardiovascular disease (including stroke), cancer, and diabetes account for approximately two-thirds of all deaths in the U.S.” That seems like the story to me, especially when there’s so much that we can do about it. It’s a pretty shocking, counter-cultural statement to say that the majority of those deaths are preventable by dietary change, but the research implies that they just might be.
So what’s the alternative?
Don’t let your finances control you. Control your finances.
Don’t be a victim of genetics. Be the victor over your genetics.
Don’t treat yourself to a doughnut. Treat yourself to a long, healthy life.
Don’t let the news decide what you should eat. Decide for yourself, and act.
Don’t live in moderation. Live fully.
So let’s get started!