After visiting Miami’s Pritikin Longevity Center a while back, I’m happy to say many of the lessons I learned still resonate with me. Instead of using salad dressing, I drizzle my salad with the best balsamic glaze I can afford. I’ve cut my protein portions from eight ounces to about four, and find that it’s just enough, since most of my plate is loaded up with salad and veggies.
While some might have found the conversation with my various meal companions each night excruciatingly boring and a big yawn, each time we sat down together to break bread (that is the closest we ever got bread, trust me), the conversation inevitably turned to health. We enthusiastically shared a tip of what we learned that day, an aha moment, things we’d change once back home, changes we’d made just that week. What we all had in common was wanting to improve our health and tap into new ways to get healthier.
Come week’s end I left (sadly, I might add) – with a boxed lunch lovingly packed up for me by the chef. Inside the bag held the secret to continued success: a veggie burger in whole wheat pita and a big plastic bag of cut-up carrots and cherry tomatoes. This is the kind of meal that you might find in a pita pit franchise as a healthy alternative to typical sandwiches and their often greasy fillings.
And then when I arrived at the airport, there it was….the moment I walked through the doors, I could smell it.
AKA Cinnabon (just how can you ignore that drool-inducing odor?). To boot, there was pizza, sushi, chocolate confections, ice cream and frozen yogurt, candy, burgers, hot dogs…everything. I’d lie if I told you it didn’t tempt me â€“ a little. But I kept on walking, knowing that I’d just worked really hard at detoxing my body, and if there was anything to test my will, this was it.
Once the plane was airborne and I settled into my seat, I laid out my lunch. The Asian woman sitting next to me glanced over. “Oh, you’re so healthy,” she exclaimed, as I munched on my carrot sticks. “I have high blood pressure,” she continued, frowning. Ah, I thought to myself: it was fate! She was here so that I could tell her all about what to do for her blood pressure. But I demurred, not wanting to sound like, you know, a know-it-all. Although, I must admit, I snuck in the “do you eat a lot of salt?” to which she replied “oh, yes…Chinese food is full of salt.” She knew, yet accepted the blood pressure as her fate, adding, “but I’m 60 years old…it happens.”
Next to her sat a woman eating an oozing, acrid sandwich of something-or-other, washed down by three cans of Coke in the course of one hour. (Not diet Coke, either, but the high-test, original kind. The kind that removes rust and rots teeth.) I felt sorry for the poor flight attendant who kept running over each time the passenger repeatedly rang that overhead buzzer, demanding more.
Ah, real life. Temptations abound.
But the way I see it is this: we all have choices. The way we run our lives is in our hands.
Even if you choose to turn a deaf ear to the healthy messages out there.
What healthy â€“ or unhealthy â€“ choices have you made lately?