Thursday, August 13, 2009

On Nutrition


When I first started this journey the focus was almost exclusively on the material. At the time, the Enemy was readily identifiable and physical. There was a huge house I no longer desired. There was a job that was meaningless to me. There was stuff to get rid of, debt that controlled me and extra money I didn't really need.

And then, somewhere along the way, the journey became internal. Suddenly, I started reevaluating everything. From confronting certain family demons to questioning the value of marriage and child-rearing, the focus of this blog became more varied and three-dimensional.

And now it's time to add a new layer to this journey.

I have always led a healthy lifestyle. Or, to be more precise, I have always sought to live the kind of lifestyle people considered healthy. It sounds good on paper: I exercise regularly, avoid caffeine and eat “healthy” meals. Having added yoga and meditation to the mix, you could forgive me for thinking that I lead a pretty healthy lifestyle.

And yet, somehow, I feel like I'm missing something. For one thing, traveling across the country on a bicycle has really changed my internal body chemistry. There were weeks during this trip when there was nothing to eat but hamburgers, fries, chili dogs and carbonated drinks. In fact, at one point, my addiction to Sierra Mist became so pronounced that I literally had daydreams of chugging some down as I was bicycling along the shoulder of an interstate highway somewhere in Kansas.

I'm also pretty unnerved by all the seemingly contradictory information out there regarding nutrition. There was a time when I felt a had a pretty good grasp on what “healthy eating” meant. But no longer. Seriously. How can I claim to know anything about nutrition after watching a documentary like “Food, Inc.,” or perusing some of the food-related commentary on such venerable blogs as Choosing Voluntary Simplicity and Cage Free Family?

Bottom line, I want to completely reassess my understanding of nutrition and so-called “healthy eating.” And I am hoping you guys can help me:

1. Basic Facts. It would be fantastic if I could find links to online sources that discuss nutrition and healthy eating. I am specifically looking for independent, apolitical, and impartial commentary that does not promote a specific nutritional plan at the exclusion of all others. At some point, I would love to delve deeper into the merits of specific nutritional diets but I'm just not there yet. I want to get the lay of the land before committing to one thing or another.

2. Detox? I may be getting ahead of myself here, but can you guys discuss the benefits, practicalities and possible side affects of detoxing after my bike trip? It might make sense to focus on this once I reevaluate the meaning of “healthy eating” (see point 1. above) but I really want to get started on something like this ASAP.

In some ways, this is the most daunting topic I have confronted on this blog. I'm not expecting to figure it all out overnight. I'm not even certain that I will be able to commit to the kind of nutritional plan that best suits me. All I know is that I have tons of questions and very few answers.

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