It’s Not (always) About Food…

Colorado Wildflower

This post is not about food… or fitness… for once.

The reason this post is not about food or fitness is because health is not always about food or fitness.  But since my blog generally uses clean-eating recipes and workout tips to point you in that direction, I could easily give you the idea that I believe if we just “eat right and exercise,” we can always achieve ultimate health.  Because that’s what we see in the media, right??

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a bigger believer than most in the vital connection between what we eat, how active we are, and our resulting health.  I’m just saying that’s not all there is, and more importantly, there is only so much in our control.  I’m speaking to all control freaks out there… and I am first in line!

Just this week, I did all my “girly” screenings, which, given my family history, are more, ahem… comprehensive than most.  My mother had breast cancer at age 32 and passed away at 57 from ovarian cancer.  Her mother (yes, Granny Cox of pie-making fame) died at age 49 from ovarian cancer, and Granny’s mother died of breast cancer sometime in her 4o’s.  Strong family history??  To put it mildly.

My 45th birthday is right around the corner, folks.  45!!!  That puts me smack dab in the middle of the “age of diagnosis” for my female relatives.  Whoa…

Am I vigilant about my own screenings?  You bet.

Diligent in reading the latest research on links between nutrition and cancer prevention?  Of course!

Is genetic testing for the BRCA1 and BRCA2 in my near future?  Most likely, given that the knowledge gained from this test would change the way my 2 daughters and I make future health care decisions.

Am I confident that my healthy lifestyle will ultimately protect me against cancer if I have the gene mutation, or even assuming I don’t?  Not so much anymore…

I used to feel invincible:  “My lifestyle is so different than Ma’s…”  “I eat SOOO many anti-oxidants…”  “I breast-fed all my babies for at least a year…”  “My body fat is low…”  “I eat 90% vegan…” etc., etc., etc… But the older I get, the less invincible I feel.  Although my lifestyle is very health-promoting, I know it’s not everything.

But neither do I live in fear.  My life is in God’s hands, and He has good plans for me.  I strongly believe that we should do everything within our power to take care of ourselves and reduce our risk of chronic or terminal illness.  To do otherwise devalues ourselves and the lives God gave us.  For me, taking care of myself means more than just “diet and exercise.”  It means nourishing my body with whole, plant-based foods, working out hard most days of the week (but resting at least one), sleeping 7-8 hours a night, avoiding air and noise pollutants, keeping my stress level down, and spending joyful time with my family and friends.

It also means taking advantage of screening tests:

MAMMOGRAM!!!

ULTRASOUND!!!

BLOOD TESTS!!!

GET ‘EM, GIRLS!!!

Look, I’m probably preaching, but I’m not even sorry.   My impending birthday has made me evaluate how I can continue to be a vital, empowering, joyful force in my family and my community.  And I want you to do the same.  And for all (any??) of my guy readers out there (maybe it’s only my husband and my father at this point, I’m not sure!)… please do all of your “checks” too… you know what they are.  Your wives, daughters, and mothers will be happy you did, and even happier not nag you about it…

In case you’re wondering, all my results so far are within normal limits, praise God.

How about yours??

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