Here we are on December 31st, the day on which many of us take a minute or a few to think about what we want to accomplish during the coming year. If you’re lucky enough to have the day off, you may be sipping your second cup of coffee contemplating this.
If, for the last few weeks (or decades), you’ve over-enjoyed the sumptuous edibles that tradition provides us in this country, here’s a new motto (resolution perhaps?) for you to consider: Treat yourself!
What? Yes, enjoy the wonderful food around you in the usual sense. Do so as we’ve heard about how the French do it…take just a bit of the morsel if it’s something that will not build up your body. Conversely, if it’s something that will be additive to your health, fortifying you for longevity (and not just longevity, but time spent looking beautiful and feeling alert, being a contributor to the world in which you thrive and thus reaping the rewards thoughtful action provides), then be sure to have plenty of it.
Decide to give yourself only the best. Think about this as you choose what to eat for lunch today, for New Year’s dinner, and for snacks in between…then for breakfast tomorrow too, and so on. Consume at least seven servings of fruits and vegetables, five servings of whole grains, etc., etc.
In fact, if you want to do something wonderfully luxurious for yourself, here is a suggestion…
Learn–or refresh your memory–about the guidelines for nutrition. The nutritional guidelines continue to evolve as years go by because science is always yielding new information, so even if you remember what you learned in school, you are out of date! When I was a kid, we learned about the USDA’s “four food groups.” Today the same organization has replaced those four groups with “the food pyramid.” The USDA publishes updated guidelines every five years, with the most recent report released in 2010. This data is hotly debated, and many question whether the USDA is an unbiased party in the discussion, so you’ll want to check a few other sources as well. We’ll review many of the ones I consider to be the best in future posts. But here is one book to get you started…
You’ll find nutrition information plus other excellent direction on living in a way that enhances your health in the book “Younger Next Year,” the collaborative work of Chris Crowley and Henry S. Lodge, M.D. The book was first published in 2004, but the recommendations included in it still hold true. It is an excellent starting point for the information you need to know, and a highly enjoyable read to boot.
In “Younger Next Year” Mr. Crowley uses his unique sense of humor and straight-forward talk to deliver lifestyle information and some basic rules, which are grounded in clinical data provided by Dr. Lodge. These two gentlemen bring us simple rules for maintaining our youth through diet and exercise. Really, maintaining youth is about delaying morbidity (meaning, the illness and the other discomforts that typify aging in this country) until the very end of your life, a life that can be highly comfortable and productive, for a very, very long time.
But here’s how “Younger Next Year” differs from other publications billed similarly: Crowley and Lodge tell us the “whys” behind the rules we should follow. As a logical person, I have found that knowing why I should do something helps me reach the critical decision to adopt or reject the recommended behavior…in other words, to truly make it mine, or to forget about putting time into changing myself. When I choose to adopt change based on a informed personal decision, it’s no longer work, rather, I want to do it. In this way, the book appeals to the intellect (my personal objective for communicating to you as well), and I appreciate that.
What else do you need to know? Since the initial release of the book, they’ve added a version specifically for women, but the original one will work for everyone. Finally, though they seem to be speaking to readers who are approaching retirement age, again, it works for everyone. I am grateful to have discovered this resource in my early forties, and in fact have given copies to friends much younger. Find this at Amazon, your local retailer, or at www.youngernextyear.com.
So there you have it. Remember to treat yourself to only the best–with the foods you choose, and in feeding your mind as well. Happy eating. Happy reading. Happy New Year to you.