Last week, I talked about the different diet approaches that provide the basis for our own food choices in the second half of life, which is a good starting point for anyone looking to make their own choices. My original intention was to simply summarize the points of each of the authors, but that quick “Cliff Notes” process is not our style. We believe you need to live with each theory and see how it affects you because our purpose is only to share what we have learned from an author and how it has impacted us, not tell you which one is right for you.
Family of Origin Beliefs
This belief comes out of my religious background, which is firmly rooted in my mother’s Irish Catholic beliefs. In my formative years, I was raised in St. Bridget’s Parish on Long Island. My own initial training in Bible study came from the teachings of two Pittsburgh Catholic priests who taught me two considerations when reading the Bible. The first is that you have to understand the audience and the times of the writer. Father Eugene Bonacci of the Mon Valley, which was decimated in the eighties as the steel mills closed, also taught me that the backstory of the writer cannot be ignored.
For this reason, so much of my back-story is on this blog series. Who I am and my beliefs are always made visible in my writings or teachings. Father Bonachi was an activist priest who believed that Reganomics was a disaster; something on which I believe he was remarkably accurate. His assumption was that it would lead to a larger gap between the poor and the now-former middle class, and the wealthy as the industrial base of America was destroyed and moved offshore.
Context is Important in understanding meaning
But he also taught the importance of context. Father Bonachi used the example of the headline of “Buc’s Bomb Birds.” Currently, it could refer to the Pittsburgh Pirates beating the St. Louis Cardinals in baseball. It could be anything from the victory of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers over the Philadelphia Eagles in the NFC championship game a few years ago to a Disney-created story of Jack Sparrow bombing an island with flocks of birds in a future “Pirates of the Caribbean” movie.
So, the audience to whom the diet-creator is writing as well as the context of his experience and motivation needs to be understood. Regarding diet, we are coaches, and we want our clients to be healthy and happy. We are not selling diet books or being paid by food or drug companies for a testimonial. We form our own beliefs, and we expect our clients to do the same.
The second thing I learned about reading and studying the Bible in the early Catholic church is that the interpretation of the Bible was not in the purview of the uneducated laity who had no knowledge of the times in which the stories were written. For them, it was to reflect upon how the story applied to their life and to share that with others. This is something that I have continued to hold to, and the same thinking should be applied to a lot of the teachings of both conventional and alternative healing theories, both of which seem to be religions to the people promoting them. I believe this to be particularly true with diets that purport to understand how people lived and ate in the “caveman” era, or “diets” designed to sell supplements or manufactured foods.
The only thing certain is death and taxes
The only thing that is certain right now is that regardless of what we do, we are going to die eventually. If we fixate on the belief that we are going to be in more pain the older we get, and we are going to be less able to do the things that we used to do, we are going to amplify those effects on our bodies and psyches. We need a fresh start in order to have healthy living in our retirement years. Each of us has to weigh the quality of life versus the quantity of life and make our own decisions. If in reading these diet books, we feel that eating kale for the next fifty years in order to have health is not worth the fact that we have to eat kale, then we won’t do it. What we eat is important, but how we find our spiritual center is equally as important. We can find similar answers in quantum biology and in sacred scripture.
So what was to be a six-week blitz of these diets, is turning into a Thursday Wellness posting, and we will weave in these theories and others into the entries. What we eat is only part of the story. How we think and what we feel are a big part of the fifty trillion cell structure that appears to the world as our body does with food. In his new book – “The Honeymoon Effect” about how our thinking controls our health, Bruce Lipton channels James Carville from Bill Clinton’s 1992 presidential campaign with “it is the environment stupid.” This is how I interpret this portion of the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 6:26-27) “Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?”
Here is a link to a site that Melinda found today, and my interpretation of it is that we, like this squirrel or the birds in the Sermon on the Mount, know what we should eat if we don’t let our egos and toxic thinking get in the way. If squirrels are in tune with what is good and what is bad, then why are we not able to do so? Because we worry, which means we tune into the fear that we will look stupid. So if everybody else is eating beef that was force-fed GMO corn and injected with drugs, then we should. Really? The last time I ate factory beef I found it to have no taste unless it was combined with sauces and salt and perhaps a bacon wrap. We must not be dominated by our fears, but by our “gut feelings” on what is right for ourselves.
To do this we need to be in harmony with the magnificent creation that is the fifty trillion cells known as an individual human being and to eat food and establish practices that balance our mind, body, and soul. – Note from 2021 – this was written before the term gut health and dmicro-biome became common place in the emes of our society.
Photography – copyright 2004 – Frederick Geiger