Thursday, July 28, 2011

Health, Wealth, Happiness

One of our goals when we moved to Texas was to try and be more mindful of what we eat and improve our intake of fruits and vegetables. We've partially succeeded, but as I've been trying to be more mindful of it and finding creative ways to incorporate more nutrient-rich foods, I've been bombarded with so many conflicting views about what is and isn't good for you. One supposed nutrition expert claims that humans have evolved to from the hunter-gatherers who rarely ate carbs, and when they did it was really nitty gritty grains, high in fiber, which they grew on their own. Another expert cites the "China Experiment" where a culture that had existed for thousands of years was studied. The conclusion from their research is that the people who were raised on diets of meat and fat were sick more and died younger than people who ate a raw, organic diet. Which bits of truth do I pull from each of those?

Then there's the green smoothie girl. I've been drinking green smoothies 2-3 times per week, purely for their nutritional value. I have no intention of veganising myself any time soon. I must say, I do like them. I use really mild greens, like spinach. It's definitely not a Jamba Juice by any means, but most of them taste pretty good, and make me feel good too. One of my friends lent me her book though, and I wasn't too impressed with what she had to say. She tells the story of her grandmother who was diagnosed with melanoma, and after being given her treatment options, she opted for a strict diet of raw, organic foods instead. This of course was followed by a miraculous recovery, all attributed to her daily carrot juice intake, and counter-balanced by the story of her uncle who opted for chemo after being diagnosed with stage 1 lymphoma, and died a year later. Maybe it's the choice of career path or my appreciation for medicine, but do you really expect me to believe that if I get cancer and drink carrot juice, I'm going to be healed? I call that happenstance. Luck. My dad was treated for melanoma 2 years ago through early diagnosis and surgery (and he sure as heck wasn't drinking any carrot juice, I guarantee it) and has since had a clean bill of health.

 The Green Smoothie. One sip and all your problems go away.

Her other story was about her son who was diagnosed with asthma early on in life. She relates a story of countless sleepless nights giving nebulizer treatments, and ER visits where her son wasn't given anything but more of the same drug they had been treating him with at home. But, of course, a daily green smoothie cured his asthma. Two things wrong with this story for me. #1: Her son is now 18. She was giving him these treatments that "didn't work" in 1993. Treatments for asthma are 100% different now. In fact, with a few consultations with a pulmunologist, most asthma patients get on a medication schedule that makes them forget they even have asthma. #2: Asthma is classified as a childhood disease for a reason. The majority of kids get over it by the time they reach adolescence. The fact that he was drinking smoothies was pure coincidence if you ask me...

Ok, so that was a little "soap boxy" but it's just frustrating to have someone actually publish something that is so incredibly one-sided, and claim it as fact. Nutrition and medicine go hand in hand. After all, who do you think it is who figured out the necessity of nutrition in our lives? I think that would be doctors... People advertise that a little essential oil and some raw, organic food will make it so you never have to see a doctor again, but they won't tell you about cases like the little girl I saw last winter who's mom opted for essential oils instead of antibiotics. Don't worry, after a collapsed lung and 2 weeks in the ICU at Primary Children's, she's just fine.

I guess there's really only one health guideline to turn to, D&C 89. As I was reading it again, however, I noticed it was kind of vague. This talk by president Boyd. K Packer explains it magnificently.

"The Word of Wisdom was 'given for a principle with promise' (D&C 89:3). That word principle in the revelation is a very important one. A principle is an enduring truth, a law, a rule you can adopt to guide you in making decisions. Generally principles are not spelled out in detail. That leaves you free to find your way with an enduring truth, a principle, as your anchor.
"Members write in asking if this thing or that is against the Word of Wisdom. It’s well known that tea, coffee, liquor, and tobacco are against it. It has not been spelled out in more detail. Rather, we teach the principle together with the promised blessings. There are many habit-forming, addictive things that one can drink or chew or inhale or inject which injure both body and spirit which are not mentioned in the revelation.
"Everything harmful is not specifically listed; arsenic, for instance—certainly bad, but not habit-forming! He who must be commanded in all things, the Lord said, 'is a slothful and not a wise servant.'"
I guess it's just another testimony that the Lord really does provide guidance for all aspects of our lives. I'm thankful that we've been given a plan that is completely unbiased, and that I've been given the ability to decipher which of all this information I hear is truly the best choice. 

Saturday, July 23, 2011

You know you're 2 miles from the US-Mexico border when...

I am in a whole different world down here. It's hard to even feel like I'm in the United States sometimes. Our beach view apartment and mostly-white community has been replaced by bug hunting and experiencing what it's like to be a minority. I gotta admit, it's pretty freakin weird. I wish I could say I've been able to take it all in stride, but to be honest, I haven't been the happiest of campers lately. Most days I'm just ready to be home. But there is a silver lining to every cloud, and I'm a believer in finding humor in any situation. So, here are some common sights that let me know just how far I am from home.

You know you're in the Rio Grande Valley when...
...Signs don't even bother with an English translation
...The plastic M decal gets stolen off the front of your car. (PS it just figures that would happen when we're about to pay it off... There must be some kind of curse)
...People's tires are worth more than their cars
...You play "spot the gringo" and lose
...You walk by a house that has a Mercedes in the driveway, but the grass is 2 feet long.
...A pink house with a blowup pool in the driveway is just another every day thing.
...Your husband comes home with a story about a house with no house number, but spray painted above the carport is "PO BOX 33." (I'll bet they're wondering where all their mail is, and why it isn't coming to their house.)
...The workers at fast food restaurants have to guess whether you speak English or Spanish before you talk to them.
...There are more Spanish radio stations that English ones.
...You drive by a restaurant called "Burguesa Burger".
...You almost get hit at least 5 times on your way to the grocery store because most of the people on the road don't have very much experience driving in the US.
...Opening the door usually means a giant bug is going to find its way inside. Which leads to:
...You ALWAYS have the Raid handy.
...You go from getting 30 MPG to 22 MPG because the AC is on full blast wherever you go.
...You mention to your relief society president that the weather is much hotter than you're used to and she says that you haven't seen anything yet.
...El Caminos as far as the eye can see.

I have pictures of a lot of these things, but the computer is being weird and won't let me upload them. So, I suppose if you have nothing but complaints about Utah, just remember that you could be living in Mission, TX. I'm just grateful to my awesome husband and the friends I've made here for helping me get through it.