The blender was humming along, mixing up a tasty vegetable and fruit smoothie. It was drowning out the rest of the world but in a moment that would change my dietary destiny I happened to stop mixing and the TV in the other room, once just background noise, seem to come to life and speak directly to me…
“Welcome to the 7 o’clock news. This just in folks, and this is big. Breaking news in the world of health. Recent research out of Harvard has found that, shockingly, vegetables may not be good for you and particularly kale, which has gained recent fame as a superfood, is probably really bad for you, especially if you’re eating a lot of it or concentrating it, such as juicing or blending…”
My heart stopped. I noticed a lump in my throat as I looked over at the big bunch of vegetables and kale that was to be my meal. The same meal I’ve been eating almost daily for years. The meal that inspired so many of my friends and family to do the “veggie blast” because it was… healthy. I raced over to the TV, grabbed the remote and hit rewind. I must have heard that wrong. Again I listened to the newscaster repeat the shocking news: vegetables, particularly kale, are bad for you. Oh man. One of my dietary foundations, disappearing beneath me.
Then denial kicked in. No way, it couldn’t be true. I mean, vegetables, being bad for you? That’s ridiculous and everyone knows it. Vegetables are the healthiest thing you can eat. We don’t eat enough vegetables. It can’t be true. But, well, this is Harvard saying this and if it was true, I mean, that’s a game changer. That means I’ve been, potentionally killing myself for years. Everyone, and I mean everyone, told me vegetables are the pillar of a healthy diet and the research on kale was convincing. But now this? What am I going to do? This means I have to change how I eat. And my friends and family? Are they going to see this and blame me? And I guess the Veggie Blast ebook I was working on is pretty much pointless now…
Go With The Flow
If there’s one thing I try do to in life it’s go with the flow. Particularly when it comes to health and nutrition, being able to adapt and change how we approach our lifestyle choices is a valuable asset and is almost a necessity these days with all the switch-a-roo-ing of health ideas and recommendations. Literally every day I come across an article, paper, website or news piece about something that we thought we knew now being wrong. Without spending too much time on how foolish it is to believe anything we hear these days it is imperative that we remember to take what we hear and go with the flow. We actually know very little about diet, health, nutrition and medicine and need to keep this in mind when deciding what to hold onto. It’s almost as if we are floating around in the health ocean and need to find a life raft or buoy to hold onto. We find one to grab, hold on for dear life and weather the health storm. The problem is, eventually the life raft will deflate or pop (i.e. kale is bad for you) and you’re left frantically searching for something else to hang onto.
Instead, let’s think about learning to first tread water and then swim. In essence, health swimming is living life in a way that you don’t need to rely upon diet or health truths to survive. One in which you do what makes you feel good but are not over reliant or dependent on any health buoy. One which you can be flexible, adapt and change with the current and use the flow of the ocean to guide you. One in which you control the direction of your life and health and aren’t tied to other people’s rafts.
There will be storms, and it never hurts to take a little break and get in a raft every once in a while, but knowing how to swim means if the raft starts leaking you can easily head off toward a different raft or swim on your own for a while. Learning how to swim means you don’t ever have to fret when the latest research bombshell gets dropped on your precious truths. It even means you get to think of it as a good time to move on and explore some different parts of the ocean. The Kale life raft sinking into the ocean abyss means you get to try something different. This sets a new atmosphere where change doesn’t equal panic, it stimulates new discovery.
The more tightly we hang onto the life rafts other people throw out for us, the less we develop our own swimming strength for navigating the waters on our own and the more vulnerable we will be when those life rafts burst.
Nothing should surprise you. Life is full of uncertainty and the only constant is change. Do the best you can and when life throws you an unexpected current, go with the flow.
The bottom line: Don’t hold onto any health truth so hard that if it sinks, you go down with it.
Thanks for reading, have a great day!
P.S. My Harvard/vegetable/kale story is made up but is an example of how easily, quickly and shockingly even the most sturdy life raft or buoy just might sink. Whether it’s kale, calcium, fat, salt, eggs, running, lifting weights or anything else- life rafts will likely be destroyed left and right for the rest of our lives so let’s learn how to swim so it won’t even matter what Yahoo says is the latest breaking health news.