Practice What You Preach

I have a long running interest in health and nutrition. I work in a hospital and have done for a number of years; I've often been shocked, and even appalled at the food that patients are fed. When my daughter was a patient, one of her doctors once marched down to the kitchen and gave them heck, and made them prepare a good “kid” meal for her. I've been taking nutrition courses since last August. I know a lot about vitamins, minerals, carbs, proteins, fat. I know a lot about the various effects certain toxins, including alcohol and cigarettes have on the body. I read a lot of articles about food. I google a lot of stuff about food. I collect recipe books.

I rarely use my recipe books. I frequently come home from work and eat a bowl of cereal, or my all time favourite – a bowl of chips and salsa. I'll just pick at food. I'm tired, I've worked all day, I've prepared food for my family and it really seems like just too much effort to make myself something nutritious. I'm the only vegan in my house, and the only one who will eat the meals I eat – OK that's not entirely true, but my kids sure won't eat what I would. So I make them food (or if I'm really tired I don't) and then out comes the cereal bowl.

The other day I was reading something about how if we treated ourselves as well as we treat others we'd be a lot further ahead. I wouldn't ever pour my daughter a bowl of cereal for supper – or tell her to have chips and salsa. I encourage her to eat and I try to find her foods that she likes (hard with teenagers – they have a small food repertoire!). I treat myself more poorly than I do anyone else in my life. I talk the talk, but I don't walk the walk. When I'm really tired I'll stuff myself full of as much sugar as I can get my hands on and then sit and feel horrible for hours. It's very easy to make poor food choices when one isn't prepared.

I have no excuses. I own a kitchen, and in that kitchen there is a food processor, a crock pot, an InstandPot, and various other tools to help me make a good, nutritious meal. I spend a lot of time looking at my cook books (I sure love the pretty pictures) and thinking about all the nutritious meals I could (should) be making. And then every so often I'll go buy a bunch of groceries and actually make something. And it's good! And I'm so proud of myself! Then, when it's gone I go back to my cereal.

Really, what it comes down to is how important am I to me? Am I willing to expend the energy and the time to look after myself? And if I'm not, then why is that? Why do I put all of life's other challenges first? Why do I think that it's OK to not look after my own needs (says every mother ever!). But I don't have the excuse of motherhood – not really; my kids are twenty-one and seventeen, so I don't have any toddlers to run after all day. It's a vicious circle really. I'm tired, so I don't eat properly, but when I do eat properly I feel so much better. It ain't rocket science people!

I'm going to get out my cookbooks this weekend and see what I can do. I'm always in awe of those people who cook from scratch and make wholesome meals most of the time. I don't really enjoy cooking, so that's probably part of it, but everything is so much better when you eat well. A well nourished body can handle the physical and the mental stuff with strength and clarity. The meals don't have to be involved or difficult; healthy food can be easily prepared. Cereal doesn't cut it (at least not most of the time).

So look after yourselves people! You're of no use to anyone, particularly yourself, if you're run down and eating poorly. Treat yourself the way you would treat somebody you love – somebody who is important to you. Treat yourself like you're the most important person in your life; because you are.



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