“If I only knew then what I know now” is the all too common lament.  As it pertains to health, it doesn’t have to be this way.  You can gain benefit from someone else’s journey regarding their health insights in a much shorter time frame than you can in other aspects of life.  My journey has been pretty good, but it could have been much better.

When I wuz ignent (ignorant for you who don’t speak stupid) I did whatever came to mind. I ate whatever I wanted and lived the charmed life of youth.  Since the brain doesn’t finish developing till around 25, young people are called immortals because they are only mildly capable of looking into the future. They are barely able to see how consequences can pile up, how lines of probable outcomes intersect, or the eventual day of reckoning comes due.  For me, the future didn’t exist. I think such is the case for everyone.

But that day does come eventually. That is what these emails are about, shining a light far enough up the path for you to take reasonable course corrections so you don’t face a day when all your choices suck. The smarter you work on yourself today, the easier life will be on you down the road. This is absolutely the case with your eating habits. My ignorance did not know about factors that are commonplace knowledge today. Gluten free did not exist 10 years ago.  Now every restaurant has a gluten-free selection. Food combinations – wha?

My story: I grew up eating a normal meat and potatoes with a side of bread kind of lifestyle. Salads were small and infrequent. I could go through a box of Captain Crunch in two sittings. I would chug nearly a quart of milk out of the container after dinner. I had a bowl of ice cream pretty much every night. Yet, I was not overweight mostly because of youthful activity and family lineage. However, that kind of food combo doesn’t provide a great foundation for life. As I entered my mid-twenties, my activity level dropped, but my love for pizza didn’t. I discovered microbrews. In my thirties, children complexities entered the scene and my activities dropped again.  My wife and I were forced to embrace the notion of nutritional education and discipline.  Now twenty years later, I’m finally getting the hang of it.

Here’s the thing, as you know I’m no health expert.  All my current conclusions are from several decades of living, learning, and observing my habits and the drawing conclusions. I’m not talking straightforward cause and effect.  For example, I started getting springtime allergies. So naturally I took drugs to reduce the effect of sneezing attacks. Come to find out, steroids can cause sterility. Uhg. Ok, no drugs. A few years later I determined that I had a gluten intolerance. A few years after that, I observed the connection between the two. So now, instead of taking drugs, I have greatly (90%) reduced my flour and grain intake. Allergies are dramatically gone. Proof? No, but that’s my story.  That’s one result I could not get from Health USA because their proscription was to just take drugs.

So here’s a generic summary of what I learned. It may not be perfectly sound, but it introduces some topics you can introduce to your youthful life that might save you some headaches down the road:

Know your body type 
My body likes meat.  I eat protein and am grouchy without it.  I like salads, but there has to be meat in it.  My wife is the opposite.  She needs mostly salads. It’s valuable to understand your body type, blood type, personality type, etc. There are so many factors you should consider in order to customize your habits. What’s your type?

Learn good food combinations
Come to find out, different foods digest at different rates.  Who knew? If you eat meat with potatoes, the starches digest first while the meat passes through without fully digesting.  Ever see those big guys with big bellies that are drum tight? They’re not fat, just big bellies. Undigested fecal matter. It’s poop. Those guys are literally full of shit. So don’t be those guys. Instead, eat starches with salads; eat meats with salads, but not meat with starches. There’s a whole lot more to this topic. But if you do this, you won’t gain as much weight and you’ll have easier bowel movements.

Avoid Gluten (simple grains) 
Glue and gluten are related. Gluten in my system produces mucus. Yummy. It produces it in my sinuses and in my digestive tract. So when I eat breads and pastas, mucus in my digestive tract prevents my food from digesting and I get gluten belly, that god-awful bloated feeling. Furthermore, my sinuses drain. In the springtime, my allergies are made dramatically worse due to the phlegm present in my system. When I heard that I needed to give up beer in order to go “Gluten-Free” I said “Ah hell, no”.  So I’m not totally gluten free, but I’m mostly there. Be aware what breads do to you.

Drink (lots of) water 
Ok, I’ve heard this a thousand times. Cokes bad, water good. I gave up soft drinks years ago. The syrup is just sugar and it’s not refreshing. Water does satisfy. But I have rarely committed to drinking what my body needs. Every time I do, I feel tons better. My observation is is that I, along with most of the world, walks around slightly dehydrated. When you do that, your body just doesn’t work as well. Try flushing a toilet without water – ugh.

Make the Investment
To buy quality food it costs plenty. Nonetheless, this should be a priority for you and your family in your monthly budget. I never asked my wife to skimp on buying good food. Cut back on everything else, but not good food. Live foods, like salads, have the nutrients that your cells need to replenish. With a busy life it’s much hard to shop all the time for this kind of food. But reality can be postponed for only so long. The day will come eventually when your body pays the bill.

Be mindful
Live with an intent to learn how your body does with the different choices you make. Does pizza make you bloated and tomorrow not able to poop? Maybe, just maybe, your body is telling you something. Instead, try food combinations for a week and see how you feel.

If you got this far down the email, good for you. I imagine myself 25 years ago saying “Nutrition? Blah, blah, blah.” That’s the wise too late part. The sooner you think through your history and start the long process of figuring out your body, obviously the better off you’ll be.

To your healthy life.

Dave Marr

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