The New Year is coming. For some, 2017 contained blessings, great memories, and positive change. For others, 2017 contained stumbling, hard realities, and negative pressure. For most, 2017 contained some of both.
The New Year approaches, as does the likely attitude developed through culture. “New Year, new me.” The New Year brings fantasy; fantasy of becoming the best person possible. The turn of the year means leaving the old and entering the new.
As the New Year approaches, so does the overwhelming amount of information concerning how to spend the New Year and what to focus on as it comes. Some avenues promote physical health, others mental health, others personal development, and some even say forget about changing anything.
As the New Year approaches, I have an appeal. My appeal is not contained by yearly change. My appeal concerns an epidemic in the United States. My appeal comes against chronic disease. My appeal is for longer and healthier lives.
My appeal is for Nutrition.
Nutrition, as we understand it, means how we eat. We must eat to survive. Without food, our bodies cannot operate. Food supplies the body with energy to function, much like gasoline to a car or propane to a grill.
Nutrition is a public affair. Media talks about food quite a bit. News channels talk about study results and lets us know what food now causes cancer or which food can lower blood pressure. Social media presents vibrant colorful picture of meals, most often with filters, and with the recipe in the description, or even under a video of the meal being prepared.
Families pass down nutritional practices from generation to generation, colloquially known as “Family Recipes.” These recipes are honored, and prepared with pride. These recipes are a part of who we are, driving a deep emotional root into the meal itself. Simply eating it connects us to a sense of identity.
So, nutrition is not just how we eat. Nutrition is how we collectively eat because of who we are. We identify with our families, social circles, and social followings, and from these avenues, we partake in food.
Don’t believe me? Well, answer this: how did you find about the last five restaurants you ate at? Even better, how did you ask about or search for a restaurant when you were looking? The search criteria were most likely good-tasting, fun experience, and recommended by someone of trust.
Therefore, nutritional change is challenging. We are not only challenging what we eat; we are challenging who we are. Recently, I was at a function where a vegetable tray was the most viable nutrition option. I grabbed the broccoli and tomatoes, but skipped the ranch. Multiple people mocked me for eating raw vegetables without the ranch.
The situation became socially challenging. Skipping the fried chicken was no longer the hard challenge of the nutritional change. The challenge from other people in the social setting was.
So, my appeal is for a value change. Health decisions mean deferred gratification. Eating well now will not necessarily give you immediate satisfaction, even with considerable positive changes. Losing weight, feeling better, and performing better at life are all great, but not when social situations challenge the change.
Social settings will make us question how necessary our changes really are. “Is this to extreme?” “Maybe I am being too serious. Maybe I need to live a little?” These compromises will pop up, and we will have to resist these more than reasons like not knowing what foods are healthy or not being able to find a good substitute for ranch.
The big picture here is long term. These short term social situations can be painful, yet each time we overcome, we are investing in a very large long-term gain. The true benefit of healthy decisions will be seen years from now when we, compared to our contemporaries, are more capable of living a fulfilled life.
And you do not want regret. If we all bused to a nursing home and simply listened, we would hear very little stories of triumph juxtaposed with many stories of regret. Life involves a series of choices, and I want your choices to lead towards fulfillment, not regret.
As we go through this appeal from now until the beginning of the year, remember, this is a lifestyle change. Yes, we can go buy healthy food at the grocery store today and fix meals for the next week, and this is a great first step, but persistence over time with a willingness to go against the grain (pun intended) will be necessary.
Are you up for it? If so, share this out for others to join the appeal.