Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
As 2021, the strangest year in a very long time, comes to an end, I often wonder if I could do more instead of cocooning in my tower internalizing everything that is going on today, silently observing the world on its currently crazy path. When I see a large faction of our country’s leaders supporting a big lie in fear of retribution, openly showing themselves as fearful supporters of a narcissistic madman instead of standing up proudly for what’s good and right (essentially being human), I ask myself what I can do about it, and I come up empty handed.
When I see people literally getting away with putting our country in danger, trying to overthrow the will of the peoples’ votes, I wonder what I can do about it, and I come up empty handed.
When I see … I can use this phrase again and again in a long litany of concerns relative to the present times, but I won’t right now. Instead, I will attempt to reason out or push myself to come up with an answer that is full and meaningful instead of empty handed.
Three Choices for Better Humanhood
Here’s basically what it all boils down to. We seem to be at another major crossroad in the history of mankind. According to Joan Chittister in her book The Time is Now
, we all have three choices:
1. Distance ourselves from all the difficulties of the world and go on our merry ways.
2. Surrender to the forces that remove our ability to foster positive change by going completely silent. “This choice, in other words, is to crawl into a comfortable cave with nice people and become a church, a culture, a society within a society. We can just hunker down together and wait for the storm to calm down, go by, and become again the nice warm womb of our beginnings.”
3. Take the courageous path and “refuse to accept a moral deterioration of the present and insist on celebrating the coming of an unknown, but surely holier, future. The third choice is to go steadfastly on, even if we are not sure what we will find at the end of it… It is to risk, as the prophets did, not really being heard at all—at least not until long after the fact.”
Chittister explains that the world waits for those who choose #3 – for those who “refuse to be pawns in the destruction of a global world for the sake of national self-centeredness.” She adds, “We are here to seed the present with godliness so that others may someday reap the best of what we sowed” – and we more than likely will not ever see the full results of our efforts during our time on Earth, but we will have accomplished our sacred duty as human beings. There’s definitely a tinge of self-righteousness there, but let’s face it straight on and admit we need to do something to right the crooked ship we are sailing. I think the answer is to at the very least be vocal, regardless of the ramifications, and to do it in a way that is respectful of others but at the same time truthful. And even then, nothing may become of your efforts.
The Truly Courageous
Which brings me to what I’m doing here – simply writing what I feel – but that is not enough. The truly courageous, of which I am not a card-carrying member, are out there doing the real work, actively participating in the chaos, directly helping those who need help. You see them working in hospitals and healthcare centers, driving ambulances, delivering packages … You see them going to places like Kentucky, volunteering to help those impacted by tornadoes. You see them driving the public bus. You see them working in the grocery stores, ensuring we are fed. You see them coming together in grief, praying for the families of those lost in some tragedy. The courageous are all around us, and we need to honor them.
The dark side of our natures, so evident today, still raises its ugly head. To avoid it should not be an option. The courageous face it head on, unafraid of the consequences their truth-telling may bring.
So, what is your sacred duty? Have you found it yet? For me, I don’t know and I haven’t.
Fasting for a New Kind of Healthy Lifestyle
I will now take a turn to something else that may be of interest to older adults who are concerned about their weight and maintaining good health. A day before my 68th birthday I had a video appointment with my new primary care physician – this is probably somewhere around the 12th primary physician I have had over my lifetime, and he was by far the best I have ever experienced.
I spoke with him about something I tried before – intermittent fasting. I have noticed from checking my glucose levels every day that if I don’t eat for at least 12 hours, my numbers normalize. The challenge, however, is intermittent fasting is difficult to do on a consistent basis. Past primary care physicians have told me that intermittent fasting might not even be a good idea at my age. My new primary care physician happens to have an opposite point of view. He’s a strong proponent of intermittent fasting, telling me he himself practices it by fasting every day for 16 hours. He recommended reading The Obesity Code: The Wellness Code Book 1 (Unlocking the Secrets of Weight Loss),
by Dr. Jason Fung.
The book’s main theme, which it repeats over and over in different ways and by pointing to numerous studies, is that our notions about dieting and exercising are all wrong. Instead of the typical less calorie consumption and more exercise prescription we constantly hear as effective ways to lose weight, Fong says we need to look more closely at the causes of obesity, because the eat less/move more practices really don’t work in the end, long-term. You might see a relatively quick loss of weight but eventually your metabolism slows down – a causal effect of dieting.
“Our entire understanding of obesity is fundamentally flawed,” Fung writes. “There is no clear, focused, unified theory of obesity. There is no framework for understanding weight gain and weight loss.” Nonetheless, Fung explains how hormonal regulation, changes in metabolism, and notions about our body’s set weight over time are the main causes of obesity. He them shows how “studies confirm that the combination of intermittent fasting with caloric restriction is effective for weight loss. The more dangerous visceral fat seems to be preferentially removed. Important risk factors, including LDL cholesterol (low-density lipoproteins), size of low-density lipoproteins and triglycerides, were also improved.” You’ll have to read the entire book to get the whole picture of Fong’s advice, if you can get through the repetitiveness.
So, my New Year’s resolution is to try incorporating intermittent fasting into my daily eating habits, which will require a lot of glucose measuring to avoid the possibility of hyperglycemia and a consistent amount of messaging back and forth with my primary, who has taken the extra step of being kind of like a nutritionist in addition to being an MD.
Meantime, plans are to enjoy the upcoming Christmas and New Year’s weekends with a bit of measured indulgence before my big break up with eating, so to speak. Wish me luck!
Thanks for stopping by,