The Shortcut = Overrated
The current demand for instant gratification and convenience is perhaps one of the greatest obstacles to genuine wellness.
Everyone seems to be looking for the magical pill to address the symptom, whether it is pain in the body, excess weight, chronic headaches, anxiety, etc. We just want to continue our lifestyle and diet, however toxic, and take a pill that will make us feel better. We want the shortcut to health and happiness. But these magic pharmaceutical panaceas give our already overtaxed livers more toxins to filter out…and although we get a moment of relief from the symptoms…the problem remains. What is the root cause of this spiritual, emotional, or bodily malfunction?
Can we do something differently… nourish ourselves differently?
The “shortcut” is equally perilous when it comes to our food. We want quick and easy meals anytime of day or night, instantly and without delay. The sacrifice here is in the health of our family’s bodies, in our environment, and in our local economy. When we buy an industrial fast food meal, we are buying into a wasteful and toxic system. From the corn-fed sick cattle in the Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations, to the huge amounts of fossil fuels need to process the ingredients and packaging…these “cheap” meals are robbing us of our health and humanity. And this goes for the food in the middle of the grocery store as well as the food pushed out the window at the drive thru. It is all “fast food”, a very effective shortcut if your desired destination is illness.
Consider the “long cut”, as my kids call it. Spending a Sunday morning with your children, and $20 on three bags of fresh local organic produce from the Farmer’s Market…spending 20 minutes with your family preparing healthy food at HOME and eating it around the dinner table where you can connect with one another. Lighting a candle to make it special. No trucks of under ripe fruits and vegetables from Chile, no toxic meat from a nightmarish warehouse of death and misery, no packaged science experiments with ingredients you can’t pronounce (hydrolyzed soy protein? TBHQ?) calling themselves “bread” or “rice pilaf”.
We all know the scenario when it comes to weight loss and the “shortcut”. Taking sometimes dangerous appetite suppressants and supplements, restricting foods, eating processed and packaged “meals”, and losing weight temporarily only to gain it all back when we stop the suggested methods. What is the alternative? As Michael Pollen suggests, “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” And move your body more. Everyday. It doesn’t have to be extreme; it can be going for a gentle walk with a friend. Attending a yoga class. Or swimming with your kids. The “long cut” is to move more and to consistently eat REAL food that is nutritious for your body.
Perhaps the toughest “shortcut” for me to avoid is the prewashed, prepackaged, and ready-to-eat greens. Is it really that big of a deal to spend LESS MONEY and wash my own spinach before eating it? I always seem to get seduced by the huge plastic bin of ready-to-eat baby spinach, and I go through it in about two days and always feel guilty tossing the huge bin into the recycling. What a waste.
Here are the “long cuts” I took today:
- Homemade chicken soup and fresh bread from the local bakery for my family dinner around the table
- Morning trip to the Farmer’s Market to buy a week’s worth of organic produce for $20
I don’t want to read the Clif Notes on life. I want to LIVE it fully. Every mundane and exacerbating second is one that I happily cherish because it is a gift… because it is the building up of all those little moments that make a memorable life truly worth living. So cook your food, love your family, move your body, and cherish your LONG life.