Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Wednesday Neurotic Health Watch

I live amongst a family of health experts--people who work and have vast knowledge in the health field. I, myself, taught P.E. and have read extensively, and taken a lot of classes in health and fitness. And I read a literal (or literary) ton of books and magazines in this area (and own stacks of them.) This area has been my specialty as a book reviewer, as well. Just last month I reviewed several books on health that I cannot share with you until they are published.

So, now that you know why I have Neurotic Health Watch Wednesdays, let's get to it. I could probably write a whole book on this topic, so this will be more difficult for me than for you. (Endeavor to persevere.)

Yesterday I received my copy of the fitness magazine,Shape. Some of it can be real fluff because it is obviously aimed at women. But women really do "feel better" if they "look" better. Lose 20 pounds--you go out and buy new clothes, get a new haircut and makeover your makeup. You look better and this makes you feel better. I have no beef with that.

The cover of this month's magazine has a gorgeous woman in a skimpy outfit and she looks the picture of health. However, she is not exactly the poster child for having lived a "healthy" lifestyle. This really aggravates me, I want you to know. Having watched my own health over many years, practicing good habits and doing what is right, almost religiously at times, I have to tell you that it is just not fair. It is not fair when someone does a couple weeks of working out or cuts out a Coke (or crystal meth and drinking alcohol) and suddenly is the spokesperson preaching at me for No Donuts at the Office Day and walk more.

Cover girl this month is Fergie, a singer with the music group, Black-Eyed Peas. Her lifestyle has included a crystal meth addiction, clubbing (that would be going into smoke-filled bars to drink to intoxication and staying up all night.) She probably wasn't eating the healthy value meal at McDonald's, either. This does not encourage me at all. Show me the after picture of someone like Ann Wilson of the sister rock duo Heart, who after healthy lattes and moderate exercise lost 100 pounds and probably is living 10 years longer. Fergie is wearing a cashmere top in her cover photo. Ok, tell me--raise your hands--do you workout in a cashmere top? No? Well, why not???

Anyway, I'm looking at her favorite things now: an Annie video, her hairstylist (yeah, like I'm lucky if my hairstylist--me--can get the knot out of the back without tearing a huge hole in the back,) Givenchy Amarige Eau de Toilette, the music she listens to on the treadmill(sheesh,) and Glenny's Soy Crisps. Oh, yeah, she read this book called The Power of Your Subconscious Mind by Joseph Murphy because she is a self-help "book fanatic." Kill me. I cannot relate.(Give me a week or two of her workout, and maybe I will have my own list to post on Neurotic Health Watch Wednesdays.)

Have you ever tasted a soy crisp? This is not a potato chip. It is not a substitute for chips--it is a whole new world. Everyone should eat a bag of soy crisps at least once in your life. They come flavored now. Try it. (Gag.)

Anyway, I am not inspired because even my after picture does not look as good as Fergie's before photo. This just makes me depressed. I do everything I can right, and drat it, someone else just breathes and does everything wrong and lands on the cover of a HEALTH magazine because she changed from crystal meth to soy chips. She's 30. That's another thing....

I had visions of giving you examples of things to try and do to help you to live a healthy life. I mean, we currently are being alerted that Americans are completely unhealthy. We weigh too much, eat too many fatty foods, drink too much alcohol, smoke despite 40 years of warnings and don't exercise but sit on the sofa watching TV and playing video games. We are the worst of the worst in the world, according to most health reports.(Don't believe it.)

Well, I'm telling you, I don't think our habits really help all that much. We are living longer than ever in our history. Our country is the one everyone comes to be "saved" in some miracle (every day miracles!) surgery. I personally think it's our genes. We might get a year or two extra, might look better (if we have healthy genes and a great makeover,) if we choose green tea instead of a Coke. (By the way green tea is now thought to prevent strokes--NOT CANCER. They didn't even get that health benefit right. Go figure. I still like green tea and drink it everyday.)

Ok, if I go by the gene calculator, I'll be dead by 65. Both my parents were dead by that age. If I go by my Grandmother and her siblings on my dad's side, I could live into my 90s. (And if you let my grandmother, she eats strawberries and ice cream everyday--or nothing. She grew up fixing things in lard and making the best lard biscuits and sausage gravy you ever ate!)

Disease is indiscriminate in most cases. You get cancer, why? You get heart disease because you were pre-disposed to it. I had an uncle who was one of those annoying health advocates. He ate a strictly vegetarian, organic diet--no dairy, no chemicals. He worked out, sailed around the world and would come to your house and preach at you for hours about how you "are going to the devil eating that stuff." (He really believed your relationship with God was based on what you ate and he wasn't even Jewish.) Well, guess what? He dropped dead from--yep, you guessed it!--heart attack. No bypass surgery, no lectures about cholesterol and no "stop smoking," like my dad got. He was dead before my dad (who didn't do himself any favors in the health department.) Go figure.

I still believe we need to take steps to feel better, look better and eat better. Health is important. Don't smoke. It is proven that tobacco really DOES hurt you healthwise. Drink water. Exercise. Drop the Big Macs to once a year. (ha) Moderation. Good choices. Don't stress out.

I don't know what to say to Shape magazine. What kind of a message are they sending to young people indulging in all the unhealthy practices Fergie did before she started working out two hours a day and eating soy chips?

Anyway, while you have time--live. Don't be a fanatic like my uncle was(we didn't like him.) Don't live totally unhealthy like my dad did(we cried when he died and miss him.) But find ways to be inspired, live with fun and de-stress. Find joys to fill whatever days you have left on God's agenda and calendar.

Health tip for today: Don't take the drug,crystal meth. I don't care if Fergie is on the cover of Shape magazine this month. (But I'm proud of her for trying to break a bad habit and being public about it.)


Nancy said...

Thank you for writing this. I see firsthand the effects of our "role models" on society. One day Nichole Ritchie is ill, the next she's a fashion icon. So to be fashionable you need to...
Anyway, I'm thrilled to see the voice of reason out there.

Sheryl said...

Great post Crystal, I heartily agree with you. We do tend to place a higher importance on how we look (no matter how we get that way--starvation diet, drugs etc.) than on living a healthy, moderate lifestyle.

However, I have one area of disagreement :-) You can't write off soy crisps until you've tried Stacy's brand. They are good (really)! I have been known to eat almost the whole bag at a time. Try them, you'll like them :-)


Crystal Laine said...

Ok, Sheryl! If I can find Stacy's brand, I promise to report back on this blog about the wonderful soy crisps you have found. What have I got to lose? By the way, Fergie melts cheese on her Glenny's soy crisps. If I did that, I'd automatically gain 10 lbs...Sigh.

Karen Wingate said...

Ugh! Soy anything gags me out. My mother went on a health food kick when I was a teenager and put soy grits in scrambled eggs. When we complained that we didn't like them, she quoted, "Eat to live, not live to eat." The worse it tasted, the better it was supposed to be for you, I guess. That doesn't sound like God's econony to me. He has made things for us to take delight in. Yes, I also believe in a healthy moderate lifestyle without extremes. Once we move into the extreme zone, we have to be careful of what our motivations really are.

Karen Wingate