What does it mean to be well? Like many people, I thought it was the state of being not-sick. As I’ve earned increasingly greater wellness, I have experienced that it’s so much more than that.
Some would say that those eating a whole foods plant based lifestyle are living a life of restrictions. No pizza, no more caesar salad, no ice cream,no bacon and eggs, no more white bread soaked in olive oil, no more cheesecake. What kind of life is that?! For starters, there is no doubt that you can find cruelty-free versions of these indulgences. They aren’t necessarily kind to your heart, glucose levels, or waistline, but in moderation you can absolutely have your vegan cheesecake and eat it too.
But what’s the point of living life without all the ‘good’ parts, some would say? Why would you want to live forever if you’re not even having fun while you’re here? (insert evil Joker-style laugh here). First of all, I am not on a mission to live forever. This is not about cheating death. I’ve seen Final Destination and it’s not pretty. I am on a mission to have absolutely as much fun as possible while I’m here. It’s all about stacking the odds in your favor. And what’s cool is that it’s sooo much easier than the alternative!
FUN has a different definition for everyone. For some, it may be laying around enjoying a good book by the fire, watching movies like a couch potato. Those activities have their place for sure, but not in the fun category. For me, it’s about participating in life. It’s about choosing what to do each day. Getting out there. Hiking with my dogs. Kicking butt in a pilates or zumba class. Travelling with my husband. Scuba diving in the Caribbean. Running the Ruckus (look it up and join us July 28th if you can!). Climbing the Cathedral of Learning. Hot tubbing in the middle of winter and not feeling ashamed of wearing a swimsuit. Being able to keep up with my niece and nephew. Heck, even getting the opportunity to be around and get to know them as they grow up. Seeing the fascinations of the natural world and interacting with it. We did a 3 hour hike on a freaking glacier with crampons and an ice axe in Iceland two weeks ago. Anyone who’s accusing me of living a life of restriction can go to… well, Iceland!
Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the US. One in 4 people in 2008 died of heart disease. 25% of people who have a heart attack will never have to experience another one – because the first one is fatal and has ‘no warning signs’ 25% of the time. Nearly 105 million people in the US have diabetes or pre-diabetes. That’s about 1 out of 3 of us. 1 in 8 women are likely to experience breast cancer. Once again, this is not about some idealistic immortality. For me, this is about stacking the odds in your favor. Carrying around extra pounds is heavy on your joints, weighs on your confidence, and wears down your body in fast forward. Having a heart attack, open heart surgery, and/or heaven forbid going through cancer treatments is restrictive. That’s inconvenient. It’s frowned upon. It comes with all sorts of restrictions – usually including dietary ones!
Eating quinoa, wheat berries, veggies, beans, and green curry all the time? Now that’s cool. Deciding to get out there and enjoy adventure before retirement – even cooler. If you’re in the latter category, you’d better be even more conscious in your choices so your body will be ready for adventure in retirement!
There is no way I would be physically capable of hiking 2-3 hours a day, horseback riding for 2 hours, climbing mountains and jumping over crevices and enjoying life if I was overweight, suffering from high blood pressure, or was worried about my blood sugar. Fast forward another 10 years and I would’ve been like many Americans – even heavier, tired, and probably depressed. In 1985, no state in the US had an obesity rate higher than 20%. In 2010, no state had an obesity rate less than 20%. That has all happened since I was in kindergarten. What the hell are the statistics going to be in the next 25 years??
My dietary choices are much less restrictive than the 10lb spare tire I used to carry around. Instead I get to feel light, strong, and healthy. I get to live a life without migraines or digestive upset. I get only about 25% of the allergies I used to experience. I get to fight infection like it’s nobody’s business! A recent bug that took down half of my staff for 24-48 hours affected me for about 2-4 hours. No joke. To me, that’s wellness. It’s your body being able to do its job without having all the junk in the way. Your body is intended to feel good! It is designed in such unfathomable and perfect detail to fight off infection and even cancer all by itself! You just have to give it the fuel to do so.
The super cool part of all of this is that every single person, if they so choose, can live a life free of restriction, illness, and disease. It can all turn around on a dime. Your wellness journey can start today. Your body is ready and waiting for you to make that decision so it can work with you, not against you, to help you experience all of the adventure this world has to offer.
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