I have never been much of a health nut. Perhaps it is because I have always been pretty healthy, had a good heart, good lungs, a good diet, and a stable mind. I consider myself something of an athlete, though age has stolen much of that consideration. Still, I can get on the basketball court and show the younger boys how it’s done once in a while. I still love running and as soon as the snow melts until it returns in the winter I am out on the road most everyday. I can jump in the pool or go hiking for a day and have no worries about making it. I can touch my toes and climb a hundred steps without gasping or clutching my chest. I guess what I am saying is that I have never really had to watch what I eat or how much I eat. I know, many of you would love to trade places with me. Others have told me that someday it would catch up to me.

That someday is here. I went to the doctor recently (for a rib contusion suffered while hunting – yes, I fell off a bridge). I had to go through the normal hoops, the weight checking, the blood pressure, the pulse and so forth. My weight has climbed the past few years, but only by a few pounds, so I wasn’t really worried when I weighed the most I ever had. Then the nurse took me in for my blood pressure. She jotted down a few numbers.

“Am I ok?”

“Yes.”

“I could tell by her voice that something was not quite ok. “But I’m not great, am I?”

“No. Not great.”

“What does that mean?”

“Well, you used to be this,” she said, showing me my blood pressure history the past few years.

“Ah, uh..I don’t like the look of that. That’s a lot higher than I used to be. Am I in trouble?”

“No. But don’t let it get any higher.”

“Ok. I won’t.”

Now that I am in the not so great zone, I have decided to start watching what I eat. I am still young. I can make a difference on what I look and feel like in twenty years. When I am sixty I want to be able to enjoy a robust life. When I am eighty, I would still like to be able to walk. I don’t want to have to have a cabinet dedicated to pills or regular doctor visits that revitalize me. I want to be able to sleep normally and pee normally and have sex without a having to take a pill to get excited. So that means I have to take a little care now. And that sucks.

The doctor visit got me to thinking about health though and raised some interesting questions. Why does it seem there are so many more cases of cancer out there than there used to be? Is it because we are better able to diagnose it, or because we are doing things to ourselves that increase the rate it appears? I believe it is a mixture of both. I bet a lot of people in past centuries had pains and aches and illnesses they had no idea as to the cause. Might have been cancer. These days cancer seems extremely prevalent. We all know someone who has it, and often they aren’t even over forty. Why so much cancer?

I wonder if all the chemicals and preservatives put in our foods don’t encourage a little cell abnormality. Maybe in twenty years we will find out that all those times we warmed up leftovers in the microwave we were swallowing a heap of harmful heat. Maybe we will find out that plastic containers are the worst things to store our food in, just like we learned lead was terribly toxic. Maybe having computers on all the time is a bad thing. All that electricity and magnetism and machine circulated air. And cell phones, and car fumes, and…the list can go on and on. Maybe we’re the ones polluting ourselves.

Have you ever noticed how many swings there are in what is considered a healthy diet? Eggs are good for you. No, eggs are bad for you. Your body needs cholesterol. No, you shouldn’t have any cholesterol. Red meat is not as good as poultry. No, your body needs so much red meat to be repair and grow new cells. Every day there is a shift in thought and it always coincides with new discoveries and new theories about what constitutes health.

Which brings me to an interesting belief. I firmly believe that God created this world and put us in it with every ability to completely enjoy and experience life. I think he created us in such a way that everything our bodies need, is right there for us. I think cholesterol has its purpose and that salt has its purpose and that fat has its purpose—even if they are purposes we don’t understand now. I think that if we were to eat all things in moderation, we wouldn’t have any problems. We would get enough vitamins and minerals, we would have the right amount of cholesterol and fat, we would feel energetic, sleep at night, and our bodies would respond the way they were made to respond.

In other words, we wouldn’t have to worry about watching our health.

© Seth Crossman