My quest to live a healthy lifestyle often seems fruitless, but I am determined to keep plugging along. Several weeks ago I broke down and got my first flu shot. Aside from some minor body aches the side effects were unremarkable, but the next day I read an article saying this year’s vaccine has proven to be only about 10% effective in combating the flu in Australia - the same flu that landed here, and the same vaccine I had taken. Now doctors still recommend getting it in hopes that people who do succumb to the flu get a milder case, so I suppose I am happy I did get it.
Still, it is difficult to know what to do for self-preservation in a world where advice changes more often than underwear. Even something as seemingly innocuous as calcium supplements have been found to contribute to heart disease in some cases. The recommended proper vitamin D levels have also changed every few years, and I can’t figure out if I am taking enough supplement or overdosing.
I know that as far as air quality goes we are pretty fortunate in South Florida due to a lack of big factories spewing out their poison, but we do have more and more heavy traffic, particularly during “season,” and trying to avoid people smoking or vaping can definitely be challenging. I do understand that people have the right to inhale poisons into their bodies, and since they can’t do so indoors in public places, restaurants often accommodate them outdoors, but that makes it difficult for those trying to avoid second-hand smoke to enjoy a meal under the stars.
The most challenging issue, however, is what to eat. Between mercury poisoning, botulism, salmonella, mad cow disease and any number of stomach attacking bacteria, I am beginning to think that there is no way to really protect ourselves from negative outside influences. Years ago, before the advent of preservatives, people became ill and often died from spoiled food and beverages. Now that we use preservatives, food lasts much longer, and most things are much safer to consume. The problem is, much of these chemical additives have been found to be carcinogenic which might explain the upswing in cancer cases over the past century or two.
Fortunately for my family (not so fortunate for me) my second pregnancy presented me with a severe allergy to monosodium glutamate (MSG) as well as a wonderful daughter. I began to get so ill from even the slightest amount of MSG, that processed foods became as dangerous for me as Asian restaurants. For years, in fact, manufacturers did not have to mention MSG on their labels, so I avoided anything processed. My family, by extension ate healthy meals and snacks, and I can only hope that my sensitivity to MSG helped to protect us all from harmful chemicals.
I am eating, breathing and medicating myself in the healthiest way possible, so why oh why can’t I make myself exercise? My intentions are good...really...but putting those intentions into actions...not so good. I like walking, and Arthur and I have found some terrific nature walks within 10 miles of our home, but we somehow get distracted by all of the nature, and the walking part loses its effectiveness. I bought myself weights several years ago, and they serve as lovely bookends. I have tried to go to the amazing gym my neighborhood offers...I even hired a trainer for six sessions...but I lost interest quickly and find creative excuses not to go each day.
I have to imagine that every little bit helps though, and I will continuing working towards a physically and mentally healthy existence as the years begin to laugh in my face and my face begins to look like someone I don’t recognize as I pass by the mirror. As long as Arthur ages right along with me, I will be happy being his “trophy” wife as the six months between us gain more and more importance, and together we will try to live healthily ever after.
One way to keep healthy is to stay away from drugs, prescription or otherwise, that can quickly become addictive. The opioid crisis is a very real problem today, and Lee Child builds a story around it in his newest thriller, The Midnight Line: A Jack Reacher Novel. This is another top offering from a top author that should make a wonderful holiday gift.
As always a complete review of this book follows this blog.