Food Fight!

By Jim Tune

I’ve been intrigued by the topic of health and fitness for years. That doesn’t mean I always lived or even pursued a healthy lifestyle, but over the past 11 months I’ve lost 60 pounds without crash dieting or riding some fad. I guess it was just time. The thing is, I’ll be 51 soon. I can no longer take my health for granted.

Some effects of aging can’t be helped. Apparently I’m losing 1 percent of my testosterone a year. My bones are becoming porous and more fragile. My brain is shrinking, my arteries narrowing, and my motor skills slipping. But I don’t feel old. The truth is, I’m healthier than I’ve been in a decade. Doctors say the size of your waistline is one of the best predictors of heart disease. Having taken about 10 inches off my waist suggests I’ve become less likely to drop dead from a stressed-out ticker.

In “Living in the Body,” American poet Joyce Sutphen writes that “no matter which [body] you get, it will not be satisfactory”; it “will pull you down into a sleepy swamp and demand apples and coffee and chocolate cake.”

My body makes its demands. I try to balance my body’s cravings with sensible choices. I feel like I’ve waded through every nutritional advice blog in cyberspace, but I’m still confused.

JT SEPT 10_foodfight_JNAt times the discussion looks less like reasoned debate than a food fight between the vegans and the paleos; the raw foodies and the processed foodies; the low-fat and high-fat folks; not to forget the low-carb and high-carb advocates. There are studies in favor of long-distance running. And there are other studies that say distance running scars the heart. One expert wrote that you should eat a lot of the Indian spice turmeric, because it fights cancer. Another expert says you should avoid turmeric, as it might contain dangerous levels of lead. One or the other.

I’m intrigued by the partisan nature of what I read and hear in the food and health debate. Of course, so-called “Christian” blogs and journals aren’t much different. Partisan. Dogmatic. Contradictory.

Dr. Mehmet Oz says keep it simple. To stay young, he suggests 20 to 30 minutes of aerobic exercise three times a week, plus a bit of weight lifting. Too much more, and exercise starts to raise your age, due to wear and tear on the body. I love his prescription. Simple. Accessible. Effective.

So how did I lose 60 pounds? Simple. I eat more fruits and vegetables and move more. That’s it. Sometimes I think we should approach our faith the same way. Keep it simple. Accessible. Something tells me we’d all be healthier.

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