I’m going to do something a little different this year. I’m going to write 52 shorts essays on eating better and at the end of the year, I’ll compile them into a book and publish it on Amazon. This would be a great way to go on a journey of health and feeling better!
This is the beginning article and introduction. Enjoy!
52 Weeks to Eating Better Than Ever
In 1900, the average life expectancy in America was 47. In 2012, it had climbed all the way to 78. Our ancestors were lucky if they had more than a couple sets of clothing and more than one pair of shoes. Most them lived on farms, and they did work by hand, hard work, inside the house and out. They plowed fields by the sweat of their brow, built things by hand, and they grew and raised their own food. Not until our not so distant ancestors moved into the factories after World War II, in the 1950s and 60s, did this way of life change significantly.
I’ve been to the modest one-room house my grandpa grew up in in the mountains of Northwest Georgia in the 1930s, with his 8 brothers and sisters, and I’ve seen the outhouse they used when they had to go to the bathroom. It’s still there on my cousin’s farm, covered in weeds and overgrowth. Life was tough back then and the people were tough too. They knew how to do things, how to grow things, cook things, and how to get a lot out of a little. Meat was a luxury, and when meat was eaten, the entire animal was often consumed- liver, entrails, you name it. But mostly they ate locally grown vegetables. Our ancestors ate organic before organic was cool, but not of course to be cool, but to survive.
Ironically, though they had less, in many ways our ancestors were healthier. Unlike us, they were not strangers to the ground, the soil, and to each other. They came into contact daily with real things, storms that were genuinely to be feared, bees, snakes, sweat, dirt, and the stages of the moon. They knew a pig, a chicken, and a cow inside and out. They lived in a familial setting and in community and had close social bonds and a more transcendent perspective (which is another subject for another time). But they also moved more and ate less which made them healthier, and what they ate was healthier because it was fresher and less industrialized. It wasn’t mass-produced and genetically modified food, hosed down with massive amounts of pesticides in an industrial system designed to wreak more and more profit and earnings per share out of the ground for abstract investors in faraway places. It was an ancestral and agricultural world, of community, connection, memory, and belonging, one most of us cannot even remotely relate to.
Don’t get me wrong, our ancestors’ life was a life often fraught with hardship and struggle, but it was hardship and struggle that gave life a certain salt, flavor, and meaning. The flavor of a neighbor helping neighbor plow a field, of a hymn sung in the local church, or the taste of iced tea on a hot afternoon on the porch. And the life expectancy numbers (47 in 1900) are misleading. Our ancestors were healthier than we were but died younger because healthcare technology wasn’t as advanced. In past generations, infectious diseases are what caused most deaths and were the cause of the shorter life spans, and unless you smoked or were exposed to pollution, your active life and healthy diet helped you live a long time and feel good too.
The problems we face in trying to eat healthier are multi-faceted. We’re tangled into a deeper mess than we realize. Eating healthy requires skills and knowledge, but it’s also requires changing the way we look at food. Food is to satiate hunger and provide nutrition, but it’s also about celebration, community, and it’s about joy. Eating should be one of the most pleasurable aspects of life, and something we savor and treasure, from the simplest cantaloupe slice to the most elaborate French meal, it can add a richness and sensuality unrivaled by almost anything else we do, and elevate the seemingly mundane to the level of a divine experience.
In this short book, which I’ll write over a year’s time, these 52 weeks of essays are meant to educate, equip, motivate, and most importantly inspire you, to change the way you eat and think about food forever. This work will be divided into 5 essential categories, roughly 10 essays on each topic, and each equally important for understanding how to eat better:
The 5 Essential Categories of Eating Better than Ever
- Consumption – Caloric Intake
- Insulin Sensitivity – Controlling Blood Sugar
- Quality– Eating for Nutrients
- Strategies– Skills for Food Preparation, Cooking, and Eating Out
- Case Studies– Real World Examples of What to Do and How to Be Successful
Stay committed to reading and learning and you’ll end up eating healthier and making better choices than you ever have before!
Next up: The 5 Categories Explained
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