February 20, 2014

soul food, whole food

David makes the same thing for breakfast every morning. He calls it "green smoothie", I call it "green sludge". Now, I honestly do like a yummy green smoothie and make one every couple of days, but this is no average green smoothie with fruit and some spinach thrown in there. Here's what he puts in it: broccoli, Swiss chard, kale, radishes, beet tops, spinach, parsley, a heaping tablespoon of cinnamon, chia seeds, flax seeds, protein powder, orange juice (sometimes just water), and sometimes when he feels like giving himself "a treat" so he'll throw a couple of frozen blueberries in it. He stuffs our Blendtec completely full, blends it up and drinks the whole thing. It smells really gross to me but it's healthy so you do what you gotta do! He's getting tons of vitamins and the best kinds from all those dark, leafy greens... but the smell! It doesn't go away! Ha!
via Angela Hardison
As I was teasing him about how the greens permeate out of his pores, I was reminded of my Grandpa Jack, who was affectionally known in my mom's family for his "unusual" healthy eating habits. Some of them were really unique at the time, but these days, they don't seem that crazy. He would eat yogurt, fish, dark greens (almost nobody in the U.S. knew what kale and chard were in the 40's and 50's) and also eat whole cloves of garlic, which seeped out of his pores and he always smelled a bit of garlic. We always laughed about it but he really knew what he was doing!

My Grandpa Jack died when I was in high school (he was in his late 90s and was jogging into his 80s!). When he was 19, his mother died at an early age, then his father, two of his brothers and sister died young as well. He and his sister were the only remaining people in his family for most of his adult life and he began to worry that he might die young as well, so he started studying good health habits in his late 20's. As a little girl my mom remembers eating cracked wheat cereal for breakfast and lots of fruits and vegetables. My grandpa always kept up to date with science and he would read about scientific research in all fields, and he would share some of the health tips that he learned with his family; like the importance of aerobic exercise, running, resting, eating healthy, and following the Word of Wisdom. He also would read studies on the diet of the Chinese (ever heard of the China study?), the use of garlic in Mediterranean countries and other cultures who have extra long lifespans. Many of those articles were in Scientific American. In the 50's, he and my grandma made their own yogurt and gave it to their children for a snack. My mom said they often wondered why their family ate differently: why they ate fish, why garlic, why yogurt, why whole wheat bread instead of white Rainbow bread, why carrot juice, why their mom and dad biked, why they often went on hikes and why their dad was awarded a 1,000,000 mile award for exercise at the YMCA? He would tell the family that in 25 years everyone will be doing it and that it takes that long for new scientific evidence to become accepted by the public. Well, he was right. By the time the mid 70's came along, so did yogurt and jogging. All the other things have come into the light also, making my mom's family not so much of a strange family as everyone thought. My mom says that she feels blessed that they had a head start on some of those habits that are so popular now.

I know that everyone has opinions about what is healthy and I know that my idea of "healthy" has adapted and changed over the years, especially in the last year. I have spent most of my life (since puberty), feeling so helpless when it came to my body. I felt like a prisoner to sugar. Then I went to some extremes and found myself so conflicted in what I knew to be right and what I was being told was right from several conflicting opinions of "doctors". What I decided to do was try the Word of Wisdom. It felt good to my body and my spirit and it made sense: eating whole foods from the earth (fruits, vegetables, grains), drinking lots of water, moving my body, resting and abstaining from coffee, tea and alcohol. I'm not perfect in any of those areas, but I do try to work hard at it every day because I know that taking care of my body affects my spirit. "You don't have a soul. You ARE a soul. You have a body." - C. S. Lewis 


  1. Beautiful picture of those veggies! And I love that quote from lewis, too. :)
    ~ Country Girl's Daybook, recently posted: Catholic beauty & our student chapel: http://bit.ly/1c4jBmC

  2. I really liked this post. Great insights.

  3. I really liked this post. Loved the insights and perspectives from your Grandpa. Very interesting!!

  4. Although I don't have many memories of uncle Jack, I remember my mom telling me about how healthy and intelligent he was and that he ate garlic plain every day! It goes to show that what you feed your body, really does make a huge difference in your overall health. That's so awesome that he was still running in his 80s! Dang!!

  5. Lovely thoughts. Our body really does affect our spirit so we better practice healthy eating habits: http://www.21stcenturynews.com.au/8-common-eating-habits-unhealthy/


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