A Health Nut Is Born

no carb breakfast“I’m pregnant!” I announced to my friend, Pat.

“That’s great!” she said. And after a pause, “So what are you doing for your baby?”

“What do you mean?”

“To make sure it’s healthy. What are you doing?”

“Well, I gave up smoking before we conceived. Isn’t that healthy?”

She rolled her eyes. “You’ve got a lot to learn, girl.” Pat sauntered over to her bookshelf and cocked her head to read the spines. “Here ya go,” she said as she tipped a book out and handed it to me. “Read this … for your baby’s sake.”

As I looked at the back cover and flipped through the pages, I had no idea this would be my first book of many in a life-long learning adventure in the field of health.

Fast-forward thirty-four years. I no longer eat out all the time, especially at fast-food restaurants. I want to know what I’m eating, for crying out loud. Every trip to the grocery store is a lesson in nutrition as I read label after label. I take nothing for granted … as if my favorite brand of unsweetened almond milk will never change its ingredients. They change things all the time. All for the almighty dollar. Sales top nutrition in priority, diabetes and heart disease be damned.

If you happen to be at a supermarket where I’m shopping, I’m the lady wearing the dark-rimmed glasses, squinting to read the microscopic ingredients list on a jar of almond butter. “Sugar!” I exclaim in disgust while shaking my head and shoving it back on the shelf. “Why do they have to ruin it with sugar?” I ask no one at all.

Yep, that’s me, the “crazy” health nut. That’s what most people call me, anyway. I remember visiting a friend in Alabama who told me to make myself at home. So, I opened her pantry cupboard to find a snack. After perusing pancreas-assaulting sweetened cereals, unnaturally flavored chocolate chip and chocolate sandwich cookies, chemical-laden corn curled chips, and a host of other engineered foods, I stepped back and said, “Wow. There’s nothing here that I would eat.”

I didn’t realize how rude my comment was until the same friend came to visit me. She opened my cupboard and surveyed the columns of organic soups, wild-caught sardines, organic nut crackers, non-GMO corn chips, mixed nuts with sea salt, and steel-cut oats. “Wow,” she said. There is nothing here that I would eat.” Touché.

My husband watches me take my morning supplements and laments the bundles of dollars wrapped up in all those capsules. “But Dear,” I say. “would you rather I spend hundreds on these supplements, or tens of thousands on a hospital stay?”

“We have insurance,” he says.

“Sure. Insurance on pain and suffering that could have been avoided,” I counter. “Insurance on permanent medications that destroy your liver and rob your quality of life, not to mention shortening your lifespan.”

He shakes his head and scoops ice cream into a dish, slathering it with chocolate syrup.

That’s OK. He’s a work-in-progress. He’ll come around.

Such is the life of your slightly strange health-nut friend. She is on a relentless quest for discovering the truth about healthy living. She updates her cranial database with each new scientific discovery she finds, which might make you groan, “What is she into now?”

Nonetheless, on she goes–reading, learning, and spouting stuff you’d rather not hear while you’re eating your cheeseburger. Humor her, nod, and smile when she uncharacteristically swipes one of your french fries. Because she, too, is a work-in-progress.

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