Detours on the Road of Life

Negotiating the maze of current health and nutrition information.....

Have you heard the phrase ‘We plan and God laughs’?  It’s like predicting a record golf score after you’ve parred the first four holes.

Think about your detours on the Road of Life.   Some could have been avoided, some could not.   In 2004 I was fortunate enough to get my own television show on golf, ‘Michigan Golf Weekly’ on CBS-TV-Detroit.  On the surface, it was a wonderful opportunity to showcase Michigan golf courses, organizations, and resident personalities.   However the one detour I didn’t anticipate was my exit from competitive golf – not that I couldn’t compete anymore, but because the TV taping weather window is so brief here in the north that it conflicted with any tournaments I wanted to enter.   But it was a sacrifice I was willing to make in light of a new and exciting adventure.

Along about Year 3 of the show, I noticed that my body was changing and I was gaining weight, despite a pretty thorough exercise regimen, walking and carrying on the course, and seemingly proper eating habits.  I had a reputation as a ‘chowhound’ in my youth, but had eased off in my 30’s and 40’s.   I had just turned 50, but why should that make any difference?  It was disheartening to watch the shows and see that yes, TV does add 15 lbs. to you, which I certainly didn’t need given the 10-15 lbs. that had crept on anyway.

About that same time I had begun to have health issues and didn’t know where to turn.  I wasn’t getting quality answers from doctors, who I thought should know them.  Attending an Epiphany presentation through my work as a church Director of Music – and I don’t make a habit of enrolling in too many of these church seminars – for some reason this one caught my attention.  The theme was ‘Take another road’ and the story hit home:  finally looking within, I took  ‘another road’.  As a research journalist on other issues…..why not study health and nutrition on my own behalf?  After a few short weeks, some awful truths were coming to light.

The only thing certain in life – besides death, taxes, and that you will never find and keep yourself in the golf ‘Zone’ for long  – is that nothing is certain and everything changes.

There are some journeys you wish you hadn’t taken.  But when you do, you cannot, must not, keep them under wraps.  The information I learned was so compelling, almost frightening, that I knew it must be shared.  The revelation of this discovery reminded me of an old Jefferson Airplane song which begins, ‘When the truth is found….to be lies… know the joy….within you….dies’.  Imagine your psyche if everything you thought you knew about anything was wrong?   What I ‘knew’ about our food supply and how it’s processed, nutritional information, government responsibility, prescription drugs, pharmaceutical companies, food conglomerates, and the medical profession turned out to be totally wrong.  You feel as if you’re out on your own, floating in a vast sea of uncertainty.

So what do you do?   I revisited the ‘learnin’ tree’, as if returning to school.  I read everything possible about nutrition and health, went to seminars, lectures, studied research information, spoke to doctors, to nutritionists, to people who had suffered through various ailments.  I attended continuing education classes for nurses through St. John Health System in Detroit and now am speaking to groups and individuals about a number of current health issues…..not as a credentialed nutritionist or doctor, but instead as an informed and educated citizen journalist of the world – with experience.   The advantages of such a position are many, but the most important one is that there are loyalties to no one.  No corporation, no conglomerate, no publication, no special interest group.  I can provide information that, to the best of my knowledge, is truthful and unadulterated.   It has been an exciting journey but somewhat heartbreaking when I see so many people suffering from chronic conditions such as obesity, diabetes, heart ailments, hormone deficiencies, and more…..and their ‘medical’ solutions are to take more pills and undergo surgical procedures when in many cases, adjustments to lifestyle and diet can be the answer.   The saddest aspect is seeing the unhealthy effects that the current American way of life and standard diet are having on the youth of our country.  The latest studies indicate the life expectancy of children born after 2000 will not exceed that of their parents.   It is going down not up.  Something is drastically wrong here, folks.

One light amidst the darkness is that the people of the parish where I am Director of Music and also Health Team Leader are approaching in droves with tales of the benefits they’re realizing by reading my columns and following the simple but sound advice.   Another beam of hope applies to me:  I lost most of the weight gained, though it wasn’t easy.   People asked me how and it was kind of fun to say that I had merely practiced what I preached.

Best of all, I feel great.

DID YOU KNOW: Ancient Greek doctors used olive oil to heal ulcers?  We think stress causes ulcers but it is actually H. pylori bacteria and it infects the lining of the stomach.  Anti-oxidant compounds in olive oil are effective against these bacteria and can help prevent the ulcer from ever forming.

DID YOU KNOW II: Eat your food Euro-style, with the fork in your left hand.  This will slow you down and you’ll reach that twenty-minute satiety mark when your hunger begins to dissipate, thus eating less food.

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