Era of Decadence

EDBH

To begin, if I were to choose a book to start my journey on a path of wellness, this would be the book I would read first.  Dr. Willett does an excellent job elucidating the facts and research behind proper nutrition and why the current food guide pyramid is beset with failings largely due to government trepidation to upset lobbyists and special interest groups who offer sizable and frequent campaign contributions.

Proper nutrition and exercise may seem passe, but I have found that a basic understanding of both has made a tremendous difference in my own life and the life of my family in terms of improved physical, spiritual, and mental health.

My results may not be typical.  Yet, I cannot deny the fact that greater knowledge of nutrition and exercise has improved my mood, improved the quality of my sleep, given me greater energy and ability to fulfill my responsibilities, and enlivened my soul.

So, if you would like to begin seeing meaningful and substantial results, start by reading this book.  More on this later.

Actor-Observer Bias

I have been reading a fascinating book on constructive criticism and am amazed how relevant the information is to daily life. When it comes to our health and the subjective health of others, many are guilty of Actor-Observer Bias.

In essence, our acts are defined in large part by our situations.  We choose not to exercise because we do not have time, the gym is too expensive or too far, or we’re too busy or too tired.

Our observation of others who choose not to exercise neglects the contribution of their situation and instead focuses on the individual’s character.  Others choose not to exercise because they are lazy, insolent, or careless.

Irrespective of the root cause, the end result is that individuals do not exercise.  

Over a year ago, I did not exercise.  I didn’t want to expend the time or effort.  I knew something would have to give for me to be able to fit it into my schedule.  I wasn’t willing to give up sleep to exercise in the mornings or watching TV with my spouse at night.  

Then, as would be expected to the observer, but somewhat unexpected (undesired?) to me, were the unintended consequences of weight gain, a spare tire, elevated lipids, ill-fitting clothes, and an inability to play with the children or the dog without feeling like I needed an inhaler.

I knew something had to change.  I finally decided I would need to do something to change my situation.  It all began with the personal decision to purge the past, prune the excuses, and start anew.  That was August 1st, 2012.  That’s when my personal journey towards better health and nutrition, education, and increased physical activity began.

 

The parable of the Aspen

Rebirth

Rebirth

I love aspen trees.  They remind me of cool, dry mountain air, clear blue skies and warm autumn sun.  Their brilliant fall hues and rustling leaves engender joy.  This aspen was utilized for landscaping near my work.  As you can see, it began to grow a bifid trunk much to early to sustain large linear or transverse growth and was thus pruned quite extensively.  One might think such extensive pruning would ensure certain death.  However, if you look closely, you will see a resilent little sprig growing out of the bifurcation.  Sometimes our habits and behaviors need similar pruning.  Nevertheless, we, too, can demonstrate resilience and growth in the proper direction if we allow ourselves to be subject to the Master Gardener.

Fatalism & Determinism

In  my own experience, there are usually two trains of thought with regards to mortality.  On the one hand, the fatalists hold that no course of action we take will change the outcome of events to come.  Therefore, whether we exhibit an effort to care for and maintain the health of our physical bodies or take no thought to the care or maintenance of our physical bodies will not change the eventual outcome, death.

When death occurs, it will not matter what we did or did not do to hasten or delay its occurrence.  It is merely an event we are subject to.

On the other hand, the determinists contend that our actions can affect or shape the future.   Although some events are inescapable, determinists believe these events are due to causality.  Therefore, our actions to prolong or shorten life will directly affect the overall outcome, the  timing of death.

In using these terms, I am not ascribing to their formal philosophical and previously debated definitions.  I am merely using these terms loosely to express my thoughts.

So what do you ascribe to?

Personally, I believe we do not change the timing of death.  Although we may hasten it by suicide, when we die is predetermined.  However, I also believe the choices we make can directly affect the outcome of how we live, even if they do not affect the outcome of when we die.  Label it how you may, they are my own beliefs and will color how I discuss the importance of health in future posts.

In the beginning…

Lord, what is man, that thou takest knowledge of him! or the son of man, that thou makest account of him!

Psalms 144:3

The psalmist’s question is one asked by countless millions of earth’s inhabitants at one time or another over the millennia.  Morphologically, we are bipedal mammals with opposable thumbs and a four-chambered heart.  We have 206 osseous structures that comprise an endoskeleton and are warm-blooded.  We have an ecephalization quotient between 7 and 8, the second greatest in the animal kingdom.

But, does this answer the question, “what is man?”

What deference do we give the scriptural passage, “…God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them,” (Genesis 1:27)?

Are we simply shards of pottery created and discarded to rot and decay, crumbling back to the dust from whence we came?  Or are we precious vessels crafted carefully and meticulously, the magnum opus of a Divine being?

Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?

1 Corinthians 3:16

My Story

A year ago, I had what was thought to be a simple outpatient procedure. Eight long weeks later, I was finally recovering from what seem an arduous ordeal. Little did I know that this experience would be instrumental in my search for vitality and health. I wish to share what knowledge I have gained in hopes of improving the lives of others. Please join me on this journey.