The Joy of Eating Well!

November 15th, 2013 | Simcha Weinstein | Comments Off on The Joy of Eating Well!

AJjacobsI have written a fair amount over the years about how our choices for eating and living healthy affect our culture and the health and well-being of our environment. I often approach the journey of organic sustainable food from a rather altruistic perspective – eating well benefits the larger community. And this is no doubt true, but we also know that it’s a personal journey as well. And that personal journey is very important – simply eating well for our very own well-being. This is not selfish, nor does it lack vision or altruism. It is a very natural and reasonable response to being alive – we take care of our own self first, and then we reach out to our community.

Author A.J. Jacobs describes himself as an immersive learner. He finds a topic that he is interested in; he then immerses himself in living out that topic; and then ultimately, he writes about it. His latest immersion was healthy living. He spent two years pretty much doing everything that is recommended by doctors, health experts, and nutritionists to see what a healthy lifestyle would do for him.

In his 7-minute TED talk (see the video below), A.J. describes what he learned from his healthy lifestyle journey, in a very funny and entertaining presentation. But beyond the humor, he touches on a key point that I think is well worth mentioning and one that is often not given enough attention when it comes to health.

And what is this key point? It’s joy. Whatever we do, whether it’s for our own well-being, the health of our community, or the larger ecological environment, if we don’t do it with joy in our hearts, we are missing a tremendous opportunity, and there’s a good chance that we’re really not accomplishing in fullness what we set out to achieve.

In our personal journey – do we eat well to be healthy, or do we eat well to be happy? That’s a pretty powerful question and one that I find makes us ponder a bit before we answer. I would contend that we do it for happiness… for joy. After all, being healthy is not really an end unto itself. The reason we want to be healthy is so we can lead a happy life, yes? And if we’re leading a happy life, we’re much more likely to bring a little joy into the lives of those around us.

In this short video, the explorations of A.J. Jacobs, remind us of why we really choose to eat well and be good stewards of the earth. It’s about joy. Joy is far more contagious than wisdom. Let me explain. If you’re sharing with someone your dietary choices and beliefs, and you’re disseminating loads of very important, valuable and accurate information about your choice (often in a very serious or scholarly tone), the likelihood that you’ll have the impact of transmission that you’d be hoping for, is actually pretty slim. But, if your message is pretty much, “I eat a certain way and pay attention to how what I do impacts my larger community, because it makes me feel good – it makes me happy”; people can really hear that. Not everyone wants to be healthy. I know, hard to believe. For some, the necessary steps to reach a healthy lifestyle just aren’t that interesting and certainly don’t seem like fun. But most everyone would like to be happy – and have a life filled with joy. When we share our journey, and our passion – let’s not forget the joy. It really is the best part of the journey, and the part that is most contagious as well.

Share your journey! Share your story! You can even be an apologist if you like. But you’ll have so much more success, and enjoy your own personal journey so much more, if what you’re really sharing is your joy.

Have a healthy and joyful weekend!