It’s difficult to keep a lifestyle energized by healthy foods if your surroundings suck.
You can try to keep your portions reasonable, design a menu centered around whole foods, or cut sweets from your diet, but if the forces around you hiss and scowl and wear you down, then you’re likely to reach for comfort, either in the shape of larger portions or processed foods or an entire package of Oreos.
Is your boss a drag? This might just be the pressure that sets ya over the edge. Is your job stressing you out to the point of driving your fingernails into your arm? Are you tossing and turning at night, unable to sleep? Is there that one friend who’s not really a friend and more of a pile of barf that needs to be cleaned up by you on a regular basis?
Enter what some call Primary Food, the essentials in your life that contribute to positive energy.
Many of us, on our quest to become healthier (whatever that means) focus on the food part and the exercise part, which are important parts to healthy living, no doubt. However, it will be very difficult for you to remain committed to a particular food diet if there are negative distractions orbiting around you, annoyingly poking at your head like an older brother in the back of the car.
If you’re finding it difficult to carry on with that healthy New Year’s resolution, than take a moment to evaluate the world around you. Perhaps there is another change that needs to be tweaked.
Let's see, what do I like the most? History and Health. Sounds like a great college course.
And an honors collquium at The University of Akron was born: What is Health and How Has Our Concept of it Changed?
Basic question: What is health?
A simple definition to explain today's meaning of health is hard enough, let alone one that explains some of the oddities of the past.
I want the course to not only be informative, but also useful. The students should take something away that they can put to use, besides just fun facts.
So, I've essentially sliced the hour and a half class into smaller sections.
Section 1: History
I find the history of health fads amusing. And it's not like we have it figured out today—there's still questionable fads advertised to strengthen your muscles or help you lose weight or lower cholesterol or look prettier or play harder. It'll probably always be this way. However, picking on the older diets is more fun.
Consider the Kellogg brother's Battle Creek Sanitarium at the turn of the last century.
The facility grew from a larger health fad that took the world by storm. Basically, there existed a growing middle class by the late 1800s who had some money to spend on leisure activities (this is also why we get organized sports sprouting up at this time, as well as that whole national parks idea).
Anyway, the founders of that Kellogg's breakfast cereal believed in a healthy diet and excercise. They promoted a kind of vegetarian diet, which included the newly invented corn flakes.
As an inducted member of the National Inventors Hall of Fame, John Harvey Kellogg subscribed to a diet of blandness, which he believed would decrease excitement—of both the stomach and loins.
As a doctor, John Harvey understood the ins and outs of the human body, and thus loved his enema machine that he used on all of his patients. Yikes! And after a few uncomfortable moments, the patients were healthy, or something.
Section 2: Modern Health
There are dozens of diets out there. How many can you name? Think for a moment . . .
Let's see, there's Atkins, Vegan, Raw, Mediterranean, the Zone, South Beach Diet, Blood Type, Caveman, Cleanses, Macrobiotic, Weight Watchers, blah blah blah blah . . . and they go on and on and on.
So, which is the best? A, B, or C?
D. None of them.
None of them can claim universal bestness. Each works for certain people, and each fails for certain people. Some of them are attracted to this population, and some of them are attracted to that population. Dieters can combine one diet with another, and dieters can take an idea of one and blend it with an idea of another.
There is one thing that all of the ideas have in common: they restrict. And people hate restrictions, especially Americans.
But, even though none is best, it'll still be a blast for students to analyze one and even experience one for a time, just to see what happens. Mwha ha ha ha ha!
Section 3: Guests
Nothing helps a class flow like a guest. Not only does it shake things up a bit, but it also brings another perspective.
I'll have health experts, health entrepreneurs, and health officials. Should be fun.
And, if you'd like to contribute your health experience or expertise, contact me. Anyone can be a guest speaker. Heck, I'm the teacher.
So . . .
Here's to a new year and a new colloquium that gets students to ask questions and build solutions, so that when they complete the course in May, they leave as more powerful citizens, thanks to what they experienced in the colloquium.