Thursday, June 18, 2009

The Evolution of Food

Many years ago, before Whole Foods was king, I had a parent in my kindergarten class who ate only healthy and organic food. She was viewed as something of a curiosity. When class parties provided sweets, she sent nutritious substitutions for her son. When the moms took me out for my birthday to a chain restaurant that provided many fried things to dip in Ranch dressing, she brought her own filtered water and enjoyed the conversation. But not the food. When the class had an end of the year party that involved hot dogs, she sent soy dogs (which did not brown well on the grill). Her son gobbled them up like the "real" thing.

Fast forward about 10 years and I found myself at Whole Foods with my husband taking a "Raw Food" cooking class. Now there's an oxymoron: "cooking" raw foods. The instructor guided us through preparation of fruits and vegetables without using stoves or microwaves that zapped/boiled the nutrition right out of food. My husband was convinced that a diet using food as a medicinal treatment would cure one of his cancers. Sure enough, the PSAs for prostate cancer returned to normal. And I wrote that Granola Mom a note apologizing for being a doubter. She said recently that she still has it taped to her refrigerator, glad to have a convert.

My husband was organic before organic was cool. As long as I've known him, he has always been a runner, a long-distance cyclist and a student of  the most nutritious foods available. Through this almost seven year battle with a sarcoma has taken his ability to run and ride, I believe that his attention to food as a cure has prolonged his life by many years. 

I, on the other hand, find that I have eaten my way through these years with cancer. You know, those late nights when chocolate and a box of Kleenex may or may not been good friends of mine.  But during this most recent battle with my husband's lung cancer, I've decided It Is Time to get serious about nutrition and exercise.

Enter, my old friend Curves. I spent three years at a location that was no longer convenient when the new toll road cut off easy access. That was a few years ago, but I've found a closer location to re-up. And during this "break", I've found that Curves has entered the computer age: you are given a computer chip to record your performance on each machine. You download your information on the club's computer and it details all manner of graphs, diagrams and pie charts on your progress. As my bloggy friend BooMama would say: FANCY.

I was a bit suspicious of some of the initial results. The pie chart showed my abs as my strongest muscle group. This from a girl who failed the President's Physical Fitness Program in sit-ups in elementary school. (Google that little phrase and you can just about pinpoint the decade of my birth.) I'm thinking if my abs are the strongest, then my other muscle groups must be made of marshmallow fluff.

 But, I'm continuing to see progress and that is a good thing. This is not your Mother's Curves gym. Oh, wait. Yes, it is. Everyone there is about my age and wearing the long t-shirts to prove it. (It also doesn't help that a boy I taught in third grade is now a grown man who maintains Curves machines across America. Age, you can be so cruel in your little pokes and prods.)

So, we are diligent and vigilant about nutrition and exercise at our house right now. The Church Ladies have asked if they can bring food during this season of life. WE LOVE YOU CHURCH LADIES, but we know that people bearing comfort foods  are usually long on desserts, breads, fried foods and cheese. And short on extreme nutrition. So, we've asked for soups and salads to be on the rotation of foods they'll be dropping off at our house each day. 

We know that the loving preparation will be part of our healing. Body, soul and spirit.

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