Friday, April 15, 2016

Are You Willing to Re-learn What You Thought You Already Knew?

If you are one who cherishes learning (and you should be - if you're reading this, you probably are), it's really amazing how much there is to learn; especially if you consider how much you might need to re-learn.  I was just taking a walk with my wife, Sara, last night and we were talking about just that. I'm 43 years old and I feel like I'm spending the better part of my adult life re-learning what I thought I already knew.  I don't resent it.  Not one bit.  To the contrary, I feel grateful for all that I'm learning these days.

In my conversation with Sara last night, we were talking specifically about food and nutrition.  My re-learning journey in this area began January 4, 2015, when I took a huge step and joined the Fit Pastors Academy.  Since that time, I've dropped about 25lbs and many inches in various places and I've also gained enough knowledge and replaced enough bad habits with good to keep that extra weight off.  

That was the beginning of the journey, but it continues today.  Last week, I finished a fascinating book, recommended by my friend and fitness coach, Ricky Van Pay.   The book is called In Defense Of Food and is authored by Michael Pollan.  I loved this book. It's been my favorite of the year, so far.

To talk about this book, I'll start with a question.  Are there assumptions in your life, maybe ones you learned from your parents and even grandparents, that just seem wrong to you?  I mean deep in your core.  I heard it put, once, very eloquently that there are certain issues that 'insult our souls'.  That is to mean that even though they are generally thought to be a fact, something deep inside of us just knows that "fact" is erroneous.

Since I've been on my own personal health journey, there have been nutritional "facts" that have insulted my soul.  As I've scarfed down protein bars, multivitamins, and extra meat to reach my nutritional targets for the day and supplement my vitamin deficiencies, I've continually found myself wondering what people have done for thousands of years without all this scientifically engineered and synthesized "nutrition".  I mean, could it be an error to think we can't get all we need from simple, God-given, whole foods?  Maybe.  As is the case with any learning journey, that's something you and I need to decide for ourselves.

I wouldn't so much call In Defense of Food a "how-to" book, but more a "why-to".  I am always a fan of the why behind the what.  Maybe that's what I love so much about this book.  Or maybe it's that it sheds some light on those issues that have insulted my soul for some time.  Here is the brief synopsis:

"Because of the so-called Western Diet, food has been replaced by nutrients and common sense by confusion - most of what we are consuming today is no longer the product of nature, but of food science.  The result is what Michael Pollan calls the American Paradox: The more we worry about nutrition, the less healthy we seem to become."

If you read this book, which I highly recommend you do, you'll read through some fascinating history of nutrition science and you'll see how the science of nutrition has been hijacked by the marketing machines of food companies.  It's sad, but not surprising, that much of what we believe to be fact is not fact at all, but just a story packaged up by food producers and our own government to meet the needs of the industry.  I know, this sounds super weird and conspiracy-theory-esque. But, if you can trust me that it's not as weird as it sounds and just read the book, I think you'll see what I mean.  

So, what does this new learning mean for me?  Well, not huge, wholesale changes.  My wife has already known for years a lot of what I'm just learning now, so our food supply in the Fitch household is fairly clean and real.  However, there are changes I'm continually making.  Especially now that I know some additional 'whys behind the whats'. But, the better question to ask is what will this new learning mean for you?

I'd really encourage you to check this book out and see what you can learn.  I would especially recommend this if you're overweight, struggling with illness or you're medication-dependent.  I'm not trying at all to make a judgment on your situation, but I do believe the foods you eat are the single biggest determining factor to your personal health.  So, I dare you to re-learn what you thought you already knew.  Will you take the dare?

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