Column by Kay Frances
There came a time when I realized that I was going to have to clean up my act and get healthy. I was over 40 years old and took a good look at my family history. Uh oh! I realized that my family has the longevity of a moth! All of my grandparents were gone by the age of 60. I have come to realize that if longevity is only about genetics, I have about five minutes left to live. I’m actually feeling a little faint. I’m not sure I’ll even make it through this column.
But, the people who know about these things tell us that a lot of our health has to do with what we ingest. They say “you are what you eat.” If that’s true, then I was a potato chip. So, I had to get serious about making some changes.
It seems that every decade, the body gets less and less forgiving. When you are a teenager, you have an iron stomach and can make a meal out of Doritos and a Mountain Dew. In college, my diet was horrific and was largely centered around ramen noodles. And, cereal. Lots of cereal. In my 20s, I would frequent places they used to call “brass and fern” restaurants. The appetizer would be loaded nachos piled sky high. And, you were just getting started! If I ate that now, I would be in bed for two days with a food hangover. Then came the entrée. This was usually some sort of combination plate with assorted artery-clogging foodstuffs like deep-fried mushrooms and potato skins. Everything was smothered with cheese and sour cream. But, when you’re young, there are no doctors telling you to limit “this” and avoid “that.” Your entire diet plan was, “if it tastes good, eat it.”
Most of the food I eat now I consider to be “medicine.” Like salad. And Greek yogurt which is essentially fermented milk that’s been heated and mixed with two types of live bacteria, Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus.
Yum! Those Greeks sure know how to party!
I give an inordinate amount of thought to how much “roughage” I have in my diet. When you are younger, you give no thought to being “regular.” My brother and I were appalled to discover how much of our conversations now revolve around this topic. Has it really come to this?
But we have to balance good, healthy eating habits with enjoying life. I’ve almost been thrown out of parties for daring to utter that I don’t care for avocados, or their ugly stepsister, guacamole. And, I do not enjoy kale. To me, it tastes like what you pull from the bottom of the lawn mower. Of course, with enough Ranch dressing, you can make anything palatable, but that defeats the purpose of why you were eating kale to start with.
I think the key to a healthy life is balance and moderation. Come to think of it, I haven’t balanced out those salads with any cheesecake lately.