December 20th, 2012 | Simcha Weinstein | Comments Off on A Personal Journey
Last January I decided I was ready for a bit of a life change – time to really focus on my health. I began running and now a year later I run 6.5 miles a day, five days a week (on an elliptical machine). I have dropped a few pounds and feel healthier than I’ve felt in years. I’ve also tightened up my diet and eat much healthier and lighter than previously. I mention all of this not to brag or to get your applause, but rather because it leads me to discuss a much larger point about our focus on food and diet, and how we approach what we eat.
Since I began running my diet has tightened to the point that from someone on the outside looking in, they would probably conclude that I’m a raw foodist. And I tend to get that question every now and then, “are you on a raw foods diet?”, or “are you a vegan?”, and quite honestly, my reply (an attempt at humor) is’ “I’m a lifetarian”. I’m not much of one for labels. Rather than describe who we are, my experience is that labels tend to more narrowly define an aspect of our being. And I certainly don’t want who I am to be limited to what I eat. So, I figure if I call myself a lifetarian, that about covers it. I ingest life, I try to get as much of it as I possibly can. In that sense you could say, I actually over eat – or over ingest life.
In making this dietary change, however, it’s easy for me to see and understand how focusing intensely on something can allow you to become defined by your change. It’s new, exciting, and even better – it’s working. Why not have it become who you are? Well, I’m at the point now, where in the privacy of my own meals and my own dietary choosing, I tend to eat pretty clean and healthy – being a bit particular. But, when I’m out in the world and around friends, family and colleagues, my particularity fades.
What I’ve learned is that when I’m breaking bread with someone and sharing a meal, I really don’t want the attention to be on my dietary habits – what I’m willing to eat or not eat. I want my focus to be on enjoying the company I am with. To that end, I find that If I’m out to eat I choose whatever looks good on the menu and draw no attention to my meal selection. Similarly, if someone prepares a meal for me, I put no restrictions on what they should prepare. I adhere to the philosophy that when someone prepares a meal for you, the main ingredient truly is love and kindness and generosity, and being a “lifetarian” those are critical ingredients to ingest regularly. And besides, when someone prepares food for you, they tend to prepare what they do best and what they enjoy making. You get the very best of what they can do. If you limit their creativity and imagination, then you have altered the entire project from something that they love, to often just another task for them, losing the wonderful benefits of having food prepared with love.
It’s been a fun year, and I love how I feel, but I love even more what I have learned from the experience. We all spend a good bit of time (particularly in our line of work) focused on what we put into our bodies, and how that impacts us personally, globally, and really in every possible way. I am in no way minimizing what we do and the focus of our activity (it’s good work), but I do think it’s important for all of us to keep in mind that key to making change is not so much what food goes into us; but rather it’s the love, kindness, generosity and understanding that comes out from us. That’s how we’ll impact meaningful change. That’s the true balanced diet.
Have a wonderful holiday, and just a quick housekeeping note – I will be off next week and will not be posting anything new to the blog. Looking forward to 2013. Talk soon.