Health is an interesting subject. We’re living in a world where “health” is the new hit topic along with “organic,” “gluten-free,” “vegan,” “animal rights,” and “meatless Mondays.” With so much information going around, it’s sometimes hard to remember what the actual goal really is: to be healthy.
But what does “healthy” actually mean? Does anyone really know? Is everyone’s definition of “health” different? Is it really just about being free from illness and disease or is it something more than if we’re a vegan, or if we’re a runner, or if we meditate. Is there something else that we need to focus on to really be “healthy?”
What Does it Mean to “Be Healthy?”
I was confronted with this question a few weeks ago when I was asked to speak in front of a group of high school students on the topic of health. As someone who thinks about health constantly, I took a step back to see just what makes someone “healthy.” Is it the food that they eat? The amount of exercise they get? Whether they’re stressed or not? How much television they watch?
Turns out, when I really think about it, health is an attribute that is directly effected by the countless decisions you make everyday, from the food you put in your body, to how you move your body, to what you’re thinking, and what you believe. At least in my humble opinion.
So as a jumping off point to my presentation, I asked the high school students what they thought health really meant. They replied with various answers: “well-being,” “not being sick,” “eating good food,” “exercising.” None of these answers are wrong. Health takes into account all of these factors and so many more.
I believe that that’s what’s missing from today’s “health talks.”
Yes, the food that you put in your body is an integral part of your body’s reactions, however even if you’re eating the best food possible, if you don’t have direction or aren’t moving your body or feel like you’re a part of something, then it’s not complete. You’re not whole yet.
Even though I only had 40 minutes, I touched on this subject lightly and then dove into nutrition, because I do believe that when you feed your body whole foods, you’re more likely to want to move your body, have a clearer mind, and want to live a fuller life. My goal was to reach the younger generation and get them to realize that good food is possible, it’s delicious, it’s affordable, and it will help them soar to greater heights, helping them play harder on the tennis court, be more focused in the classroom, and be a better sister, brother, son, daughter, friend, etc.
During my short time with them, I was happy to see that I had the attention of the majority of students (I had tough competition with the iPhones), but I think it was my demonstration of sugar that really blew their mind, which I was hoping to do at least once in my presentation.
I didn’t want to shatter their lives, which in the end doesn’t let them change anything because their just so overwhelmed by the information that it’s almost like “oh well, it’s too much for me so I’ll just continue what I’m doing.” I wanted to give them another option, an option that allows them to take a piece of the information that I was giving them, for example that when you eat a lot of processed foods you also eat a lot of sugar and you don’t even realize it, and leverage it.
To just teach them how to read the ingredient label and nutrition label is something that they can use without telling them “don’t eat that, or this, or the other thing.” It’s impossible to change someone’s diet in a day. Well nothing is impossible, but it’s improbable that they will stick with it!
When I entered that gym, I knew that my main concern was to get these young adults to think a little bit more about the food that they’re putting into their bodies. That it matters on so many levels. And as I stood at the table after my presentation, countless kids coming up to me to ask me questions, take home the recipe handouts and yogurt coupons and hoping to eat a fresh mango or pear, I smiled to myself. This is what a food revolution is about. This is where it’s going to stick. This is where the youth of America will take the reigns to demand fresh, nutritious, and affordable food. This is the home of the catalyst. And I just want to be there to help keep the embers glowing brighter and brighter.
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Stay healthy, happy, and focused and of course, “Bee” Well,